NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Kenyan shilling lost its early gains against the dollar on Thursday as the slow release of election results and integrity complaints from political parties, increased anxiety among investors.
In stocks, the benchmark index rose for the third session after the vote, as investors discounted election jitters and focused on listed firms' outlooks.
The comments by the running mate of one of the front runners in the presidential race that the final ballot count lacked integrity and should be stopped added to anxiety over the outcome after largely peaceful voting.
The complaints are reminiscent of events that preceded the 2007 result announcement that sparked violence that led to the deaths of 1,200 people.
"That could put jitters in the market and could cause anxiety," Duncan Kinuthia, head of trading at Commercial Bank of Africa said. "That could put pressure on the shilling."
The shilling, which has been swinging back and forth since Monday's vote and was trading at 86.30 per dollar at the 1300 GMT closer, according to Thomson Reuters, off its intraday high of 86.
Earlier investors took heart from reassurances from the electoral commission that the election would deliver a credible result despite technological hitches, forcing commercial banks to trim long dollar positions.
The shilling, off its 18-week high of 85.10 hit on Tuesday after voting passed off peacefully, is down 0.9 percent against the greenback so far this year.
"The shilling's immediate fate lies squarely on how we react to election results and if the tallying will be perceived to have been above board," said a trader at one commercial bank.
By 1326 GMT, with about 5 million votes counted, Kenyatta had about 2.8 million votes to Odinga's 2 million, giving the deputy prime minister more than 50 percent. But there is still a long way to go, as turnout was estimated at more than 70 percent of the 14.3 million voters.
If the count maintains Kenyatta above 50 percent of the vote, it would give him an outright victory.
The slow release of results has increased anxiety among Kenyans and led to complaints from political parties, including accusations of foreign meddling in the process.
At the Nairobi Securities Exchange, the main NSE-20 share index rose 0.8 percent to 4,585.07 points.
"Investors have taken a long term view on the whole issue and they believe stocks will be immune to developments in the political arena," said Johnson Nderi, an analyst at Suntra Investment Bank.
Standard Chartered Bank, rose for the second session, up 2.4 percent to 298 shillings a share ahead of its full-year results expected next week.
In the debt market, the weighted average yield on the 91-day Treasury bills rose to 9.747 percent, during a primary auction on Thursday.
In the secondary debt market, bonds worth 1.55 billion shillings were traded, up from 1.66 million shillings on Wednesday.