A significant rally in oil and gas stocks assisted to extend gains at the stock market to the fourth session as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) rose 0.98 per cent to close at 26,071.16.
The market had last week sustained a positive momentum to close higher for the second consecutive week, rising by 0.30 per cent. That uptrend followed investors’ swoop on undervalued and fairly priced stocks after the selloffs experienced in November.
When the market resumed yesterday, the bulls maintained their control of the market driven by a significant rally in oil and gas stocks as investors reacted to a jump in crude oil prices to an 18-month high – supported by strong demand in Asia and supply cuts by Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar as part of production curbs organised by OPEC and other exporters. Yesterday’s performance pushed the month-to-date growth in NSE ASI to 3.05 per cent.
Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc and Forte Oil Plc led the price gainers with 10.2 apiece to close at N374.85 and N117.11 respectively. Champion Breweries Plc followed with 9.6 per cent, while Dangote Flour Mills Plc went up by 7.6 per cent.
Oando Plc and Total Nigeria Plc appreciated 6.7 per cent and 5.0 per cent in that order.
Neimeth International Pharmeuticals Plc, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc and Transcorp Plc chalked up by 5.0 per cent, 4.7per cent, 4.7 per cent respectively. In all, 23 stocks appreciated while 14 stocks depreciated.
Conversely, Avoncrowncaps Plc led the price losers with 5.0 per cent, trailed by Portland Paints and Products Nigeria Plc with 4.8 per cent. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, Fidson Healthcare Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc shed 4.7 per cent, 4.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent in that order.
In terms of sectoral performance, the NSE Oil & Gas Index led with 6.3 per cent on the back of increased buying interest in Seplat and Forte Oil while the NSE Industrial Goods Index gained 0.9 per cent. The NSE Banking Index rose by 0.7 per cent as gains in Guaranty Trust Bank (+2.0 per cent) and Access Bank (+2.0 per cent) buoyed the sector. Contrarily, the NSE Insurance Index declined 0.7 per cent as losses in AXA Mansard (-4.7 per cent) and WAPIC Insurance Plc (-2.0 per cent) impacted sector performance. The NSE Consumer Goods Index shed 0.02 per cent.