Africa investor (Ai40) Weekly Commentary – 12 August 2013


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Brian has held positions with a variety of financial services companies, including Cantor Fitzgerald and FTI Consulting. An avid traveler and investor, Brian enjoys scouring emerging and frontier markets for hidden gems (Oxstones). Brian holds an M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from Georgetown University and a B.A. in economics and political science from Rutgers University. He also completed graduate studies in international management at the University of Oxford, Trinity College.

By Staff Reporter | August 12, 2013

The week under review was a disappointing one as the Index fell 0.22 points, or 0.19%. Disregarding the previous week’s gain, the Index closed at 112.82, down from last week’s value of 113.04.

The news wasn’t much better for US markets as stocks ended the week with losses. All three major indices, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, fell on Friday although there was no real discernible reason for the sell-off. However, according to CNN Money, “stock market trading is typically muted in August.” Despite this, US stocks have gained between 18% and 23% in 2013.

Friday’s close saw the Dow lose 72.81 points, or 0.47%, to close at 15,425.51. The Nasdaq recorded a loss of 9.016 points, or 0.25%, to reach a value of 3,660.11, while the S&P lost 6.06 points, or 0.36%, to close at 1,691.42.

Togo-based Ecobank recorded a solid week with a gain of 7.7%; this lifts its share price to US $0.12. Last week, the Ecobank board said that it “unanimously reaffirms its confidence” in its Chairman Kolapo Lawson who was linked to longstanding debts in regards to a family real estate company he chairs. Meanwhile, the bank continues to expand its already considerable footprint by opening a subsidiary in South Sudan.

Kenya and Egypt shared the rest of the spoils with each country taking two of the four remaining top positions. Kenyan telecommunications company Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank took second and fourth place respectively with gains of 6.6% and 3.9% apiece. Rounding out the list were Commercial International Bank and TMG Holdings, both from Egypt. They gained 6.1% and 3.9% respectively.

North Africa’s construction and real estate sectors continue to take a knock with these stocks having, of late, an almost permanent place on the Ai40 Index’s list of losers. CGI and Lafarge, both of Morocco, and Egypt’s Orascom Construction all recorded losses for the week, with dips of 3.5%, 3.8% and 6.1% respectively.

Nigeria’s Stanbic IBTC Bank lost 4.0%, while South African mining giant AngloGold Ashanti stayed yet another week on the loser’s list as the week’s worst performer, declining by 7.3% to reach a price of $11.94. According to Business Day, last week the company withheld its June quarter dividend payment “because of a volatile environment.” It is also aiming to more than halve its corporate costs in 2014.

For more on the Ai40 Index, please visit the Africa investor website at

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