The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) recorded its first gain rising by 0.36 per cent to close at 36,947.10 yesterday after several days of a bear run. The market had hit a five-month low last week as rampaging bears took control and pulled the market into negative territory with a year-to-date decline of 3.38 per cent as at Friday.
However, some of the losses were pared yesterday on bargain hunting in banking sector. Although the market recorded 21 gainers and losers apiece, heavy weighted counters such as Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Nigerian Breweries Plc, FBN Holdings Plc made the bulls to have an upper hand.
Market analysts at Cordros Capital Limited had last Friday said the bear run that lasted for about 11 days would be followed by bargain hunting.
â€œWhile acknowledging potential bargain hunting in the short term, in what follows relatively lower stock prices, we guide investors to trade cautiously and focus primarily on fundamentally sound stocks,â€ they had said.
And when trading resumed for the week yesterday, 21 stocks added value led by Japaul Oil and Maritime Services Plc with 9.0 per cent, trailed by Custodian and Allied Plc and Eterna Plc that gained 4.9 per cent each. GTBank Plc garnered 4.5 per cent, just as AIICO Insurance Plc, FBN Holdings Plc and FCMB Holdings Plc appreciated by 3.5 per cent, 3.4 per cent and 3.2 per cent in that order. LASACO Assurance Plc and Nigerian Breweries Plc equally advanced, adding 2.9 per cent apiece.
Conversely, Oando Plc led the bears, sliding by 8.9 per cent, followed by Cadbury Nigeria Plc with 8.0 per cent. Presco Plc shed 5.0 per cent, while PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc and Sterling Bank Plc went down by 4.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively. Jaiz Bank Plc and Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc got hair cuts of 4.4 per cent each.
However, activity level weakened as volume and value traded dipped 39.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent to 314.5 million shares and N7.0 billion respectively compared with Fridayâ€™s figures.
Commenting on the market performance, analysts at Meristem Securities Limited said: Positive sentiment prevailed in the equities market following buying pressure on counters which have lost significantly in previous weeks, particularly heavily weighted stocks in the banking sector like GTBank and Zenith Bank. This was enough to offset the impact of continued sell-offs in the consumer goods space.â€