Stock Market Closes on Bearish Note on Profit Taking

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The stock market closed on a negative note on Monday as some investors moved in to take profit. As a result, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index fell by 0.12 per cent to close at 33,235.28, while market capitalisation shed N14.3 billion to close at N11.49 trillion.

The decline was influenced by profit taking in Nestle, International Breweries Plc and Total Nigeria Plc among others. According to analysts at Meristem Securities Limited, “while we observed that the positive sentiments towards a number of counters were still maintained, we attribute the day’s marginal decline to profit-taking activities on counters that had rallied in recent weeks.”

International Breweries Plc led the price losers, depreciating by 8.6 per cent to close at 29.45 per share. The stock had surged by 33.2 per cent last week on the news of its planned merger with two other breweries. UAC of Nigeria Plc shed 5.8 per cent, while AIICO Insurance Plc went down by 5.3 per cent. Fidelity Bank Plc and University Press Plc depreciated by 4.9 per cent apiece.

Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc, Learn Africa Plc and United Capital Plc closed 4.8 per cent, 4.7 per cent and 4.4 per cent lower respectively. Similarly, Nestle Nigeria Plc, NEM Insurance Plc and Total Nigeria Plc shed 4.1 per cent, 4.0pe cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.

Total Nigeria had last week assured shareholders of its commitment to grow its business in Nigeria in particular and Africa at large. According to the Chairman of Total Nigeria Mr. Stanislas, the company has no intention to withdraw it business from Nigeria or Africa.

“Some international competitors made strong choices years ago to withdraw from Nigeria for most of them to raise loan from Africa. As far as Total is concerned, we made an opposite strategy, we keep investing in Africa. Today Africa is, of course with France, a core of our business especially the downstream business. Our ambition is not to withdraw or divest but to grow with all our strength,” he said.

Meanwhile, 20 stocks closed higher led by Ashaka Cement Plc with 10.1 per cent, trailed by My & Baker Nigeria Plc with 9.8 per cent. Honeywell Flour Mills Plc chalked up 9.6 per cent, just as Sterling Bank Plc garnered 9.4 per cent.

Other top price gainers included: PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc (9.3 per cent); Transcorp Plc (9.2 per cent); Unity Bank Plc (8.4 per cent); Okomu Oil Palm Plc (5.0 per cent) and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (4.9 per cent).