NSE Year-to-date Returns Fall to 4.9% as Bears Consolidate Hold on Market

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The year-to-date(YTD) growth of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) dropped to 4.9 per cent yesterday as the bears consolidated their hold on the stock market.

The bearish trading entered its third consecutive day this week, dragging the ASI further down by 0.25 per cent to close at 40,150.55. In similar vein, market capitalisation shed N35.8 billion to close lower at N14.5 trillion. The YTD return is the lowest in more than three months. The negative performance was mostly caused by profit taking in the shares of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Dangote Sugar Refinery.

Analysts at Meristem Securities Limited said: “The market closed underwater for the third consecutive day this week. This is reflective of the bearish sentiment towards top counters in the market, especially in the consumer goods and banking space.”

In all, 28 stocks depreciated, while 15 others appreciated in prices. UAC of Nigeria Plc led the price losers with 8.5 per cent to close at N14.50. The conglomerate has suffered significant sell-off following the company’s poor results for 2017 financial year.

The high finance cost recorded by the company depressed its profit after tax by 83 per cent for the year ended December 2017.

Specifically, UACN posted a revenue of N89.178 billion, down by eight per cent from N82.572 billion.

Operating profit fell by 19 per cent to N7.031 billion, from N8.639 billion. However, net finance cost soared by 218 per cent from N1.361 billion to N4.324 billion in 2017. As a results, profit after tax fell by 83 per cent to N962 million in 2017 compared with N5.666 billion in 2016.

Meanwhile, Chams Plc closed as the second highest price loser with 5.0 per cent, followed by C & I Leasing Plc and Unity Bank Plc with 4.9 per cent apiece. UAC Property Development Company Plc shed 4.8 per cent.

On the positive side, Ikeja Hotels Plc maintained the number spot, gaining 9.8 per cent to close at N2.24. The stock had similarly led the price gainers as investors continued to react positively to the lifting of the suspension placed on the stock in November 2016.

MRS Oil Nigeria Plc chalked up 4.8 per cent, while First Aluminium Nigeria Plc garnered 4.5 per cent. Niger Insurance Plc and John Holt Plc appreciated by 4.3 per cent and 3.8 per cent in that order. Trading activity level was mixed as volume traded fell 4.8 per cent to 266.7 million shares while value traded rose 14.3 per cent to N4.7 billion.