Low-priced stocks, otherwise known as penny stocks, were the toast of investors on Tuesday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as they appeared to be increasingly taking positions for the third and fourth quarter earnings.
Already, early filers among quoted companies have started submitting their third quarter earnings reports. Many companies have also indicated they have scheduled the board meeting to consider their third quarter earnings, after which the reports will be released to the investing public.
Low-priced banking stocks dominated the top activities chart for the five-hour trading session, which saw a modest improvement in the momentum of activities. The three most active stocks were Diamond Bank, with 215.76 million shares; Fidelity Bank, 15 million shares and FCMB Group, with 14.59 million shares.
Bargain-hunting for the low-priced banking stocks spurred the aggregate market turnover to above average with the exchange of 353.19 million shares valued at N3.26 billion in 4,201 deals.
After sustained rally in recent days, equities traded on a tight balance of bargain-hunting and profit-taking on Tuesday, with 19 advancers and decliners each. However, losses suffered by two highly capitalised companies-Lafarge Africa and Nigerian Breweries, tilted the overall market position to negative.
Aggregate market value of all quoted companies dropped marginally by N19 billion from its opening value of N12.678 trillion to close at N12.659 trillion. The All Share Index (ASI)-the common value-based index that tracks share prices at the Exchange, also declined correspondingly by 0.15 per cent to close at 36,776.60 points as against its opening index of 36,831.93 points.
With this, the average year-to-date return moderated to 36.85 per cent.
Lafarge Africa led the decliners with a loss of N2.39 to close at N54.50. Nigerian Breweries followed with a loss of N1.10 to close at N168.90. C & I Leasing declined by 18 kobo to close at N1.74. FBN Holdings dropped by 6.0 kobo to close at N6.08 while Diamond Bank and Custodian and Allied dropped by 5.0 kobo each to close at N1 and N3.60 respectively.
On the positive side, Flour Mills of Nigeria rose by N1.13 to close at N29. Cement Company of Northern Nigeria followed with a gain of 86 kobo to close at N9.32. PZ Cussons Nigeria rose by 50 kobo to close at N23.74. Cadbury Nigeria added 40 kobo to close at N10.40 while Northern Nigeria Flour Mills chalked up 27 kobo to close at N5.77 per share.
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