Nigerian equities rode on the back of renewed bargain-hunting on Thursday to halt consecutive days of declines as investors sought to take advantage of low prices to position in dividend-paying manufacturing stocks.
Key value-based indices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) indicated average gain of 0.67 per cent, equivalent to about N55 billion gain on Thursday. With 21 gainers to 19 losers, the market showed widespread positive sentiments as investors expect more companies to release their audited reports and financial statements in the next two to three weeks.
Aggregate market value of all quoted equities rose from N8.217 trillion to close at N8.272 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI)-the value-based index that tracks prices of all quoted equities, also appreciated by 159.39 points or 0.67 per cent to close at 24,042.39 points.
After three consecutive days of negative closing, the gain on Thursday helped to reduce the negative average year-to-date return to -16.06 per cent. The upswing was driven largely by gains recorded by highly capitalised stocks such as Dangote Cement, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Seplat Petroleum Development Company and Zenith Bank International.
Turnover rose to 271.61 million shares valued at N1.54 billion in 3,360 deals. Banks dominated the activities chart. FCMB emerged the most-traded equity with 79.96 million shares worth N61.04 million. FBN Holdings came second on the activity chart with 42.85 million shares valued at N137.2 million while Zenith Bank traded 29.87 million shares worth N330.95 million.
Champion Breweries led the gainers’ table with 9.69 per cent, to close at N2.83 per share. FCMB followed with a gain of 7.89 per cent to close at 82 kobo, while ETI advanced by 5 per cent to close at N15.96 per share. Stanbic IBTC gained by 4.95 per cent to close at N14.85, while Eterna appreciated by 4.86 per cent to close at N1.94 per share.
On the other hand, Unity Bank led the losers’ table by 5.63 per cent to close at 67 kobo per share. MRS trailed with a loss of 4.99 per cent to close at N47.18, while Flour Mills of Nigeria declined by 4.97 per cent to close at N18.34 per share. Aiico Insurance declined by 4.94 per cent to close at 77 kobo, while Fidson shed by 4.83 per cent to close at N2.56.
Analysts remained cautious of the overall market outlook, in spite of the attractiveness of the prices of several stocks.
“In absence of fundamental changes in the system, we expect demand to remain weak thus market will continue to trade sideways,” Afrinvest Securities, a Lagos-based dealer on the NSE, stated.
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