The Nigerian equities market opened the week on a positive note following gains recorded by Dangote Cement Plc and other bellwether stocks on Tuesday.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index rose 1.49 per cent to close at 43,513.93, while market capitalisation added N229 billion to close higher at N15.6 trillion.

A total of 32 stocks appreciated compared with 25 stocks that depreciated. Although the top gainers’ were mainly low capitalised stocks, gains by Dangote Cement Plc, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Total Nigeria Plc among others boosted the performance.

Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc led the price gainers with 9.9 per cent, trailed by Japaul Oil and Maritime Plc with 9.5 per cent. First Alumium Nigeria Plc chalked up 8.8 per cent, while Seplat garnered 8.5 per cent.

Seplat on Wednesday posted a net profit after tax of N81billion ($265million) in the 2017 financial year ended December 31, 2017up from N45.3billion ($166,094) reported in the corresponding 2016 financial year.

Operating profit stood at N34billion ($112million) over the 2016 figure of N45billion or ($158million). Profit before deferred tax stood at N13.45billion ($44million) compared with N47.4billion ($173million) in 2016.

The firm’s audited results for the year ended December 2017, obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that it’s revenue rose to N138.28 billion ($452million) in 2017, up from N63.38billion ($254,217million) recorded in the corresponding year 2016.

A company statement explained that tax credit of N68.3million ($224million) provided significant boost to profitability. Consequently, net profit after tax hit N81.1billion ($265million) from N45.3billion ($166million) reported in the corresponding 2016 financial year.

Other top price gainers included: Presco Plc (7.2 per cent); Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc (6.9 per cent); Fidelity Bank Plc (5.0 per cent); Beta Glass Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc and Vitafoam Nigeria Plc (4.9 per cent apiece).

Conversely, Regency Alliance Insurance Plc led the price losers with 4.5 per cent, trailed by Learn Africa Plc with 4.9 per cent, just as UNIC Diversified Holdings Plc shed 4.4 per cent. Eterna Plc and Wema Bank Plc went down by 3.9 per cent and 3.5 per cent apiece.

A look at the sectoral performance of the market showed all the sectors closed bullish. The NSE Oil & Gas Index led with 4.8 per cent, followed by the NSE Industrial Goods Index that chalked up 2.2 per cent. The NSE Insurance Index went up 0.8 per cent, just as the NSE Banking Index and NSE Consumer Goods Index closed 0.4 per cent and 0.02 per cent higher.