The volume of trading surged at the stock market Thursday boosted by huge transaction in the shares of Sterling Bank Plc. Although the market remained bearish for the fourth consecutive day, the volume of trading jumped by 337 per cent to 2.221 billion shares worth N7.495 billion exchanged in 5,468 deals, up from506.299 million shares worth N4.571 billion traded in 6,155 deals the previous day.
However, Sterling Bank Plc accounted for 78.5 per cent as investors transacted 1.745 billion shares of the bank for N3.839 billion in 108 deals. The high demand for the shares of the financial institution also lifted its price by 4.6 per cent from N2.13 to N2.23.
But the market maintained its negative momentum as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index went down by 0.49 per cent to close at 43,326.89. Similarly, market capitalisation shed N75.8 billion to close lower at N15.5 trillion. Accordingly, the month-to-date and year-to-date returns fell to -2.29 per cent and 13.29 per cent in that order.
Yesterdayâ€™s decline resulted mostly by sustained sell-offs across board with Nestle Nigeria Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and FBN Holdings Plc being the drags. Skye Bank Plc recorded the highest price decline of 8.9 per cent, trailed by Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc with 4.8 per cent. Nestle Nigeria Plc shed 5.0 per cent, just as Diamond Bank Plc and AIICO Insurance Plc lost 4.8 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.
Other top price losers were: NAHCO Plc (4.6 per cent); Multiverse Plc (4.5 per cent); Cornerstone Insurance Plc ( 4.5 per cent); WAPIC Insurance Plc (4.4 per cent) and Japaul Oil & Maritime Plc (4.3 per cent). In all, 28 stocks depreciated, while 17 appreciated.
Unity Bank Plc led the price gainers with 9.3 per cent, trailed by Forte Oil Plc with 4.9 per cent, just as Royal Exchange Plc followed with 4.7 per cent. Sterling Bank Plc chalked up 4.6 per cent, while Cadbury Nigeria Plc and Custodian Plc garnered 4.3 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.
Other top price gainers included: Linkage Assurance Plc (3.8 per cent); United Capital Plc (3.6 per cent); NPF Microfinance Bank Plc (3.1 per cent); and International Breweries Plc (2.6 per cent).
Meanwhile, sector performance was mixed as three of the five closed in the red. The NSE Consumer Goods Index led with a decline of 2.0 per cent followed by the NSE Insurance Index with 0.6 per cent.