The bullish sentiments in the equities market was sustained for the third day yesterday as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) rose by 0.28 per cent to close at 42,258.78. Similarly, market capitalisation added N36.1 billion to close N15.17 trillion.
Sustained buying interest in banking stocks, especially in United Bank for Africa Plc, FBN Holdings Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc bolstered the performance. The growth of yesterday lifted the year-to-date return to 10.5 per cent.
Some of the banking stocks became investorsâ€™ toast after analysts said the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) new policy on dividend may not affect shareholders negatively as expected.
Cordros Capital Limited had on Tuesday said based on the directive by CBN and contrary to earlier jitters that trailed the release of the circular, they think the directive more appropriately reveals the apex bankâ€™s commitment to financial stability.
â€œThat said, it is our view that the CBNâ€™s latest directive is unlikely to, in the medium term at least, affect the dividend payouts we expect from the banks covered in this report. We should mention that many of the banksâ€™ dividend payment ratios (DPRs), in recent years, have barely reached the peak of the CBNâ€™s requirements on DPR,â€ they said.
Meanwhile, 24 stocks appreciated while 17 stocks depreciated yesterday. Although gains by banking stocks led to the positive close, Japaul Oil and Maritime Plc led the price gainersâ€™ with 5.4 per cent, trailed by WAPIC Insurance Plc with 4.9 per cent. Total Nigeria Plc with 4.7 per cent, while Livestock Feeds Plc garnered 4.5 per cent.
Other top price gainers included: AIICO Insurance Plc (4.2 per cent); Transcorp Plc (3.8 per cent); UBA, FBN Holdings Plc (3.1 per cent apiece); University Press Plc (2.3 per cent); Jaiz Bank Plc (2.0 per cent); African Prudential Plc (2.0 per cent).
Conversely, UNIC led the price losersâ€™ chart with 6.6 per cent, trailed by Courtville Plc with 5.5 per cent. A.G Leventis Plc shed 5.0 per cent. Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc went down by 4.9 per cent, while Dunlop Nigeria Plc closed 4.3 per cent loser. Fidson Healthcare Plc lost 3.1 per cent, just as Skye Bank Plc and Wema Bank Plc shed 2.8 per cent apiece.
Performance across sectors was largely positive as all indices, save for the NSE Consumer Goods Index shed 0.3 per cent. The NSE Banking Index and NSE Oil & Gas Index led with 0.7 per cent apiece. The NSE Insurance Index and NSE Industrial Goods Index garnered 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.