The Nigerian equities market continued its free fall Thursday following the drive by investors to take profit on banks shares after majority of them released less than expected year end results.
The market had since the beginning of the week posted consistent poor performances as investors focused attention on stock of companies in the real sector who posted better results that the banks and are expected to reward investors with dividend-The Nigerian capital market is dividend and script issues driven, a situation the management of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), has vowed to correct.
At the close of business yesterday, major market indicators closed weaker, led by the twin market gauge, the All-Share Index or ASI and the market capitalisation.
Trading results released by the Exchange revealed that the ASI, which shows the direction of stocks prices declined by 143 points or 0.63 per cent to close lower at 20, 756.19 points from 20, 899.97 points the previous day.
In the same vein, the market capitalisation which mirrors the total amount of investment in the market fell by N46 billion or 0.69 per cent to close at N6.582 trillion from N6.899 trillion the previous day.
Also, the NSE-30 which reflects the 30 most capitalised stock in the Nigerian market depreciated by 8.1 points or 0.85 per cent to close at 944.85 points from 952.94 points the previous day.
Three of the four sectoral indicators depreciated. While the NSE-consumer goods index depreciated by 25 points or 1.4 per cent to close at 1,732.00 points, the NSE-banking index went down by 2.3 points or 0.79 per cent to close at 287.96 points and the NSE-insurance index fell by 1 point or 0.81 per cent to close at 122.96 points.
However, the NSE-oil and gas index appreciated by 7.6 points or 3.6 per cent to close at 203.56 points from 211.10 points the previous day.
Meanwhile, shares of the banking subsector of the Financial Services Sector remained the most active in terms of the number of shares sold. It led the equities sector with a turnover of 134.59 million ordinary shares valued at N1.01 billion executed in 2, 081 deals.
The volume of shares traded in the banking sector was largely driven by the activity in the shares of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc.
Trading on the shares of the four banks accounted for 73.9 million ordinary shares or 54 per cent of the subsectors turnover.
The insurance subsector of the Financial Services Sector boosted by the activity in the shares of Prestige Assurance Plc and Guaranty Trust Assurance Plc trailed on the activity chart with a turnover of 23.4 million shares valued at N16.4 million made in 76 deals.
In all, investors sold a total of 212.26 million ordinary shares worth N1.85 billion exchanged in 3,694 deals.