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Morning Note: Easter is gone, Back to Business

Markets open today under a wave of events after the long weekend. The number of Corona virus patients in the country passed the 200 mark, raising more concerns on the country’s ability to fully handle the spreads in counties outside Nairobi and as companies prepare to release the results of their quarterly earnings update.

This comes as the Corona Virus deaths across the world ease with the U.S reporting the reducing number of deaths per day for the third consecutive day yesterday. Most of the open markets yesterday didn’t have much activity, however, the U.S oil futures gained on news of the end of the oil price wars.

Global stocks pushed higher Tuesday ahead of one of the most uncertain earnings seasons on record as the coronavirus pandemic rattles the world economy. The dollar retreated.

China’s CSI 300 index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed stocks rose 0.8 per cent ahead of trade data expected to show a 14 per cent fall in exports and a nearly 10 per cent drop in imports in March, when the country was struggling to get back to work in the wake of numerous citywide lockdowns.

Stocks climbed across Asia early Tuesday with benchmarks in South Korea and Japan pacing gains. U.S. futures rose after the S&P 500 Index retreated overnight. Data showing China’s exports in yuan terms fell less than expected helped boost sentiment, as did figures earlier showing a continued easing in the rate of new infections in many countries. Treasury yields fluctuated, while the Australian dollar strengthened amid the risk-on tone.

Over the weekend, global oil producers signed off a deal agreeing to lower costs despite the decline in global oil demand. China had indicated it will buy more oil for its strategic reserve while data yesterday showed the U.S demand for gasoline had declined by almost 40% in just under a month.

Cash reserves held by commercial banks in Kenya above the statutory requirement hit a fresh high of Kes41.3 billion, pointing to increased liquidity after lowering of threshold by a percentage point three weeks ago. Banks are now required to maintain a daily average of 4.25 percent of their total deposits in their accounts with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) for a month.

As losers & gainers continue to emerge, Safaricom still takes the lead in firms gaining ground during this pandemic. The company’s Chief Executive Peter Ndegwa said their home fiber service reported a 40 percent traffic surge as customers, staying at home to avoid Covid-19 infections, take solace in online movies and social media.

Today’s sessions will be optimistic as investors react to oil as well as numbers of Corona Virus patients in Kenya being well below the number the government had projected. Blue-chip counters remain the most sought counters in today’s sessions as investors also look on safe heaven assets.