The stock market appreciated further on Wednesday as investors continued to react to impressive first quarter financial results of companies. The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index, which opened the week on positive note on Tuesday, appreciated by 0.58 per cent to close at 26,116.79, while market capitalisation ended higher at N 9.03 trillion.
The bulls were in total control as 27 stocks appreciated, compared with 13 that declined. Fidson Healthcare led the gainers with 10 per cent, trailed by Oando Plc with 7.9 per cent, while United Bank for Africa Plc went up by 6.2 per cent. Unilever Nigeria Plc and Ashaka Cement Plc also made the top price gainers for the day.
Investors have continued to take positions in most of the stocks following impressive Q1 performance.Â Most of the companies grew their profit significantly. For instance, UBAâ€™s profit after tax rose by 32 per cent from N17 billion in 2017 to N22.4 billion in 2017. The group sustained its strong profitability recording an annualised 19.4 per cent Return on Average equity (RoAE).
Driven by an unprecedented 43 per cent year-on-year growth in interest income, UBA Group recorded a 38 per cent per cent year-on-year growth in gross earnings to close at N101.2 billion in 2017, compared to N73.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period of the year 2016.
The Group Managing Director/CEO of the United Bank for Africa, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, expressed satisfaction with the bankâ€™s impressive performance in 2017, despite intensifying competition and a very challenging business environment.
“Our performance in the first quarter of the year strengthens our optimism on economic and business recovery in Nigeria and many of our markets across Africa. More importantly, this result is evidence of efficiency gains in our pricing, balance sheet management and operations,â€ Uzoka said.
â€œDriven by our balance sheet liquidity, we grew interest income by 43% to an unprecedented quarterly run-rate of N77 billion. Buoyed by improving foreign currency supply in Nigeria, remittance and trade services fees almost doubled and foreign currency trading income grew by 148 per cent year-on-year, as we leveraged our Customer First initiatives to gain market share in these offerings. More so, it is my pleasure to report that we made further progress in our consistent retail penetration, as reflected in the 12 per cent year-to-date growth in retail savings and current account deposits. Notwithstanding the tight interest rate environment, we recorded a 30bps reduction in cost of funds to 3.4 per cent, a positive result of our customer service-led approach to low cost deposit mobilisation. As at Q1, low cost savings and current accounts (CASA) represent 80 per cent of our deposit funding,â€ Uzoka explained.