Bargain Hunting in Bellwethers Sustains Market Recovery

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Goddy Egene

Gains recorded by Dangote Cement Plc, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, FBN Holdings, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc helped to sustain the positive performance in equities market wednesday.

The market had rebounded on Tuesday when the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) appreciated 0.68 per cent due to bargain hunting in banking stocks.

The positive trend continued yesterday following high demand for shares of highly capitalised stocks. Consequently, the NSE ASI rose further by 0.47 per cent to close at 31,151.68, while market capitalisation added N52.7 billion to close higher at N11.4 trillion. There were 19 price gainers compared with 18 price losers. The bulls were led by Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc with 10 per cent to close at N0.22 per share. Diamond Bank Plc followed with 8.9 per cent to close at N0.85 per share.

Diamond Bank shares have recovered significantly since Monday after shedding 31 per cent last week. The financial institution recently got a new licence to operate as a national bank compared with its former international banking licence.

According to the bank, re-licencing as a national bank, “supports Diamond’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and economy as a whole.”

The bank’s chief executive, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, said: “The move to a national banking license marks a continuation of our strategy to focus on Nigeria’s significant fundamental trends, including a large underbanked population and Africa’s biggest economy.”

Meanwhile, Linkage Assurance Plc closed as the third highest price gainer with 8.9 per cent, just as WAPIC Insurance Plc and LASACO Assurance Plc garnered 8.1 per cent and 7.4 per cent in that order.

Conversely, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc led the price losers with 9.7 per cent, trailed by Transnational Express Plc with 9.2 per cent.

Prestige Assurance Plc and First Aluminium Nigeria Plc depreciated by 9.0 per cent apiece, while Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc went down by 8.7 per cent. University Press Plc and C & I Leasing Plc lost 6.9 per cent and 5.8 per cent in that order.

The volume and value of trading improved marginally as investors exchanged 198.6 million shares worth N2.3 billion in 2,845 deals, up from 198.535 million shares valued at N2.115 billion traded in 2,802 deals the previous day.

The top traded stocks by volume were FBN Holdings Plc (90.4 million shares ), Access Bank Plc (17.9 million shares) and Diamond Bank Plc (15.1 million shares) while the top traded stocks by value were FBN Holdings Plc (N689.8 million), Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc (N334.1 million), and Nestle Nigeria Plc (N316.0 million).