Zimbabwe local equities record marginal gains

THE equities market sidestepped uncertain­ties caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic after recording marginal gains last week.

Global markets have succumbed to sell-off pressures as market jitters set in follow­ing the Covid-19 fallout.

As the number of confirmed cases around the world topped one million last week, countries have redoubled efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Zimbabwe began its 21-day lockdown on March 30.

Markets around the world have been fal­tering owing to rising uncertainty.

However, during the week to Thursday, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) bucked the trend by recording marginal gains.

Total market value put on a marginal 0,3 percent to close the week at $58,9 billion compared to $58,8 billion achieved in the prior week.

The All-Share Index inched up 0,21 per­cent to 458 points, while the market heav­ies — the ZSE Top-Ten Index — gained a marginal 0,3 percent to settle at 373 points from 372 in the comparable week.

Nickel producer Bindura almost doubled to 42 cents, which was 75 percent above prior week’s 24 cents.

Telecoms giant Econet and Fintech group Cassava both rose by 6 percent to $2,65 each.

Despite the economic volatility, the com­panies are expected to cash in on internet data and mobile money services.

According to the Postal and Telecom­munications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz)’s sector performance report for the year 2019, internet and data services maintained a growth trajectory and are expected to continue driving growth in the sector.

On the other hand, Cassava’s mobile money platform, EcoCash, also maintained its market dominance on both subscriptions as well as value of total mobile money trans­actions, a trend that is expected to continue as the use of plastic money becomes perva­sive due to cash shortages.

On the downside, the market’s biggest stock, Delta, eased 0,9 percent to $6,25 cents.

Although Delta was exempt from the 21-day lockdown, Government recently banned the sale of alcohol in supermarkets, which will have a knock on the beverages giant that is already battling a decline in volumes.

Diversified industrial conglomerate, Inn­scor, eased 3 percent to $7,50 from $7,74, while crocodile breeder, Padenga, shed 1,6 percent to $5,50.

Remaining unchanged for the week was Zimpapers and Cafca that closed on 30 cents and $19, respectively.

Also maintaining prior-week level was BAT, which closed at $86.

It remains the market’s most expensive stock. Its parent company, BAT’s United States bio-tech subsidiary, Kentucky Bio­Processing (KBP), is developing a potential vaccine for Covid-19 that is now in pre-clin­ical testing.

Market watchers across the globe contend the pandemic is driving economies into recession as companies have been forced to shut down operations.

Zimbabwe will not be spared, as the economy is already battling inflationary pressures, foreign currency shortages as well as erratic utilities supplies.