The value of equities on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) fell to a seven-month low after international investors’ offloaded shares on blue-chip corporations amid mounting concerns over a new coronavirus variant.

Investors’ paper wealth fell Sh89.06 billion in the week to Monday, bringing the market value back to levels last seen in mid-April, according to market data.

The NSE market capitalisation — a gauge of investors’ paper wealth — fell 3.47 per cent to Sh2.477 trillion on Monday, compared to roughly Sh2.566 trillion a week earlier.

This was the NSE’s lowest stock valuation since April 15, when it was Sh2.459 trillion as the country dealt with the third wave of coronavirus restrictions and shutdowns.

The off-loading of shares in significant companies like Safaricom Equity KCB and EABL began weeks ago, according to analysts at AIB-AXYS Africa, and the global anxiety over the Omicron strain of Covid has expedited the slide.

NSE investors have lost Sh445.60 billion in paper wealth compared to a recent high of Sh2.932 trillion on August 24 — when Safaricom shares were trading at a record high of roughly Sh45.25 per unit.

According to market data, foreign investors’ favorite counters Safaricom, Equity, EABL, KCB, and Co-operative Bank lost Sh78.26 billion in the week under review.

The five leading blue-chip companies lost between 2.44 percent and 10.45 percent in the week ending Monday, as profit-taking overseas investors were put on edge by the Omicron variant of the pandemic.

Equity Group dropped the greatest value among blue-chip equities last week, losing 10.45 percent of investors’ paper wealth, or Sh19.81 billion.

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Shares of KCB Group plummeted 5.63 percent, EABL fell 3.88 percent, and Co-op Bank fell 2.44 percent week over week.