Equities Market Hits 8-Month Low on Persistent Sell Pressure

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Bearish sentiments persisted at the stock market wednesday, driving the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) further down by lower by 0.58 per cent to 36,748.18.

This was the lowest since November 2017. Selling pressure in banking and insurance stocks were highly instrumental to the negative session recorded at the equities market. Out of the 23 price losers, 13 counters were from banking and insurance sectors. This development led to a two per cent depreciation in the NSE Banking Index.

In all, FBN Holdings Plc led the losers’ table with 9.7 per cent to close at N9.25, trailed by Oando Plc. Wema Bank Plc shed 8.8 per cent, while Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc and Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc went down by 7.1 per cent apiece.

Other gainers included: GTBank (6.7 per cent); LASACO Assurance Plc (5.7 per cent); Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc (5.5 per cent); WAPIC Insurance Plc, Equity Assurance Plc (4.5 per cent each); Niger Insurance Plc (3.8 per cent); Custodian Investment Plc, Diamond Bank Plc (3.1 per cent apiece).

On the other hand, Continental Reinsurance Plc led the price gainers with 10 per cent to be at N1.65. PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc followed with 9.7 per cent, just as International Breweries Plc advanced by 9.3 per cent. Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc garnered 9.1 per cent.

Other top price gainers were: Linkage Assurance Plc (8.9 per cent); Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc (7.4 per cent); NPF Microfinance Bank Plc (5.8 per cent); Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc (4.2 per cent) and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (3.5 per cent).

In line with the bearish trend, volume and value of trading fell 11.0 per cent and 31.3 per cent to 181.2 million shares and N1.6 billion respectively. The most traded stocks by volume were Transcorp Plc (16.8 million), Zenith Bank Plc(15.2 million shares) and Fidelity Bank Plc (14.9 million shares ) while Zenith Bank Plc (N361.7 million), GTBank (N225.8 million) and Nestle Nigeria Plc (N117.4 million) were the most traded stocks by value.

Apart from the banking index, the NSE Oil & Gas Index and NSE Industrial Goods Index fell 1.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent in that order.

Market analysts said in the short to medium term, losses are likely to persist, amidst continued risk-off sentiments in emerging markets and the absence of a near-term one-off positive catalyst.

“However, still-positive macroeconomic fundamentals remain supportive of gains in the long term,” analysts at Cordros Capital Limited said.