NSE LIVE! Equities rally N182b gain as dividend season begins

NSE LIVE! Inflation, low corporate earnings drag equities down

Investors raised their stakes on the Nigerian equities yesterday as expectations of dividend recommendations spurred the ongoing market rally to its fourth day. Equities gathered total gain of N182 billion as investors went after stocks with existing or probable dividend payment.

The trio of Forte Oil, Dangote Cement and Nigerian Breweries drove a market rally and overshadowed wider negative sentiments on several stocks. The board of Dangote Cement is meeting on February 29 on the company’s 2015 audited financial statement and probable dividend recommendation. Nigerian Breweries on Thursday declared a final dividend per share of N3.60 in addition to an interim dividend of N1.20. Forte Oil had earlier declared a dividend per share of N3.45.

Forte Oil led the rally with a gain of N26 to close at N326. Dangote Cement followed with a gain of N9.01 to close at N145 while Nigerian Breweries rose by 99 kobo to close at N98. Two banks with strong outlook for dividend yield-Zenith Bank and Access Bank, rallied 30 kobo and 12 kobo to close at N12.60 and N4.29 respectively.

While there were 21 losers to 13 gainers, aggregate market value of all quoted equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) rode on the back of the weights of the highest gainers to close at N8.483 trillion as against the opening value of N8.301 trillion, representing a gain of N182 billion.

The All Share Index (ASI), the value-based index that tracks prices of all quoted equities, rose by 2.19 per cent to close at 24,664.89 points compared with its opening index of 24,135.40 points. The sustained uptrend helped to reduce the negative average year-to-date return to -13.89 per cent.

“The appreciation recorded in the share prices of Dangote Cement, Forte Oil, United Bank for Africa (which gained 9.0 kobo to close at N2.94), Zenith Bank, and Access Bank were mainly responsible for the gain recorded in the value of the index,” FSDH Securities stated.

Analysts at Afrinvest Securities noted that positive sentiments in banking, consumer and industrial goods sectors were the drivers for the overall market position.

But Afrinvest Securities remained cautious, its constant position since the four-day rally. “Notwithstanding recent uptrend, we note that optimism remains weak as reflected in the negative market breadth. In the interim, we believe performance will continue to be driven activities on bellwether stocks as dividend investors take advantage of key counters trading at attractive prices ahead of full year earnings and corporate actions,” Afrinvest Securities stated.

Total turnover on Thursday stood at 414.35 million shares valued at N3.29 billion in 3,380 deals.

Lafarge Africa led the losers with a loss of N2.05 to close at N78. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria followed with a loss of N1.10 to close at N20.91. Conoil dropped by 91 kobo to close at N18.33. Okomu Oil Palm declined by 40 kobo to close at N29. International Breweries lost 31 kobo to close at N20.14 while Guinness Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank dropped by 30 kobo each to close at N119.20 and N16.60 respectively.
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