Nigerian equities set a new year-to-date high on Monday as investors scrambled for blue chips ahead of this week release of most half-year earnings reports. Benchmark indices at Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) spiraled to their year-to-date high amidst strong bargain-hunting within the large-cap stocks.
Aggregate market value of all quoted equities on the NSE rose to N11.943 trillion from its opening value of N11.725 trillion, representing a net capital gain of N218 billion. The All Share Index (ASI)-the common value-based index that tracks share prices at the Exchange also rose by 1.86 per cent to close at 34,652.52 points as against its opening index of 34,020.37 points.
With this 13th consecutive positive trading session, the average year-to-date return for Nigerian equities climbed up to a high of 28.94 per cent.
Most sectoral indices showed a largely positive market in spite of equally wide underlying profit-taking sentiment. The NSE Industrial Goods Index rose by 2.5 per cent. The NSE Banking Index appreciated by 1.1 per cent while the NSE Oil & Gas Index inched up by 0.1 per cent. On the contrary, the NSE Consumer Goods Index declined by 0.5 per cent while the NSE Insurance Index dipped by 0.4 per cent.
With 20 gainers and losers each, the overall market position was boosted largely by gains recorded by highly capitalised stocks in the industrial goods and banking sectors, especially the dominant effect of bullish Dangote Cement.
Dangote Cement, which accounts for some one-third of total market capitalisation of Nigerian equities, led the rally on Monday with a gain of N10.60 to close at N222.60. This represented total gain of N181 billion by the cement company, which lay claims to world’s largest cement plant. Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, owns more than 80 per cent majority equity stake in Dangote Cement. Aliko Dangote was the immediate past president at the NSE.
Other sectoral leaders dominated the top gainers’ list on Monday. Julius Berger Nigeria rose by N1.70 to close at N36. Stanbic IBTC Holdings appreciated by N1.01 to close at N33.50. Flour Mills of Nigeria added 97 kobo to close at N26.70. Access Bank chalked up 43 kobo to close at N10.08 per share. United Bank for Africa rose by 33 kobo to close at N9.45. Zenith Bank rallied 30 kobo to close higher at N23.25. Nascon Allied Industries garnered 27 kobo to close at N9.30. Lafarge Africa added 20 kobo to close at N60.20 while Transnational Corporation of Nigeria rose by 12 kobo to close at N1.61 per share.
Most analysts remained optimistic on the outlook for the equities market over the next trading sessions as more first half corporate results flow into the market. Most active large and medium-cap stocks are expected to release their first-half results within the next five trading sessions.
“We expect performance to remain upbeat in subsequent trading sessions as we continue to see more positive half-year 2017 earnings scorecards,” Afrinvest Securities-a Lagos-based dealer at the NSE, stated.
On the negative side, Nestle Nigeria-Nigeria’s highest-priced stock, led the losers with a loss of N16 to close at N902. PZ Cussons Nigeria followed with a drop of 60 kobo to close at N21.40. Okomu Oil Palm declined by 50 kobo to close at N64. Forte Oil dropped by 46 kobo to close at N57.50. Berger Paints lost 25 kobo to close at N6.52 per share. International Breweries declined by 19 kobo to close at N30. Vitafoam Nigeria lost 13 kobo to close at N2.55 while Champion Breweries and Union Bank of Nigeria dipped by 9.0 kobo each to close at N2.57 and N5.21 respectively.
Total turnover was around average with the exchange of 293.75 million shares valued at N3.94 billion in 3,712 deals. Banking stocks dominated the activities chart. Access Bank was the most active stock with a turnover of 73.56 million shares worth N730.18 million. United Bank for Africa followed with 34.62 million shares valued at N323.28 million while Guaranty Trust Bank recorded a turnover of 32.58 million shares worth N1.22 billion.
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