Market Rebounds on Increased Buying Interest in Banking Stocks

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Goddy Egene

The stock market rebounded yesterday as the Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index (NSE ASI) rose 0.28 per cent to close at 34,933.68 after opening the month on a negative note the previous day.

Similarly, market capitalisation added N36.1 billion to close at 12.8 trillion.

Buying interest in banking stocks such as Zenith Bank Plc, GTBank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc buoyed the return of the bulls. However, 23 stocks appreciated compared with 18 that lost value.

AIICO Insurance Plc led the price gainers with 10 per cent, trailed by Jaiz Bank Plc and C & I Leasing Plc with 8.8 per cent apiece. Diamond Bank Plc appreciated by 8.7 per cent, just as Japual Oil & Maritime Services Plc and WAPIC Insurance Plc chalked up 8.3 per cent,7.6 per cent respectively.

Other top price gainers included: Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc(7.1 per cent); Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc (6.0 per cent); Skye Bank Plc (5.7 per cent); NAHCO Plc (5.2 per cent).

Conversely, Fidson Healthcare Plc, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc and Universal Insurance Plc led with 10 per cent apiece. Tripple Gee & Company Plc shed 9.4 per cent, just as Guinness Nigeria Plc went down by 8.5 per cent.

The shares of Guinness Nigeria depreciated despite the company’s improved results for the year ended June 30, 2018. The audited results of the brewing firm showed a revenue of N125.9 billion, up by 14 per cent from N125.92 billion in 2017. Net financing expenses fell 54 per cent to N3.443 billion, from N7.527 billion following a rights issue of last year.

Profit before tax stood at N9.943 billion, up from N2.662 billion, while PAT soared by 249 per cent from N1.923 billion to N6.718 billion in 2018. Based on the improved performance, the board recommended a dividend of 184 kobo per share, compared with 64 kobo paid the previous year.

Commenting on the results, Managing Director/CEO, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Baker Magunda, said: “Improved operating performance combined with lower finance charges have helped us deliver an overall PAT increase of 249 per cent during year. The execution of our strategy is working as we delivered both top line growth and margin expansion while also increasing investment behind our brands. Looking forward, we will continue to focus on the three strategic pillars of productivity, expansion of our portfolio, as well as the execution of the commercial footprint initiatives to drive the business forward. Whilst we remain optimistic about the execution of our strategy, we note that the operating and competitive environment is likely to continue to be challenging in the 2019 financial year.”