Goddy Egene

The bulls remained in control of the stock market, lifting the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Al-Share Index (ASI) further by 0.4 per cent to close at 30,583.21, while market capitalisation added N45.7 billion to close at N11.4 trillion. The market has remained uptick since the beginning of the week as investors embarked on bargain hunting following attractive valuations.

Consequently, the year-to- date decline has improved to 2.7 per cent as 23 stocks appreciated compared to 15 stocks that depreciated. While it is believed that the market will still suffer some level of volatility due to the impact of the general elections, there are high optimism that recovery will come in the second had of the year.

For instance, the Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema said market sentiments in the first half (H1) of the year will be driven by uncertainty in the oil prices as well as the 2019 general elections.

“Accordingly, we anticipate volatility in equities market in H1 in 2019 with enhanced stability post-elections. We believe swift approval and implementation of the 2019 budget may have a positive impact on the companies’ earnings as well as consumer spending. Therefore, we anticipate a return of listings during the year with an uptick in market activity during the H2 of 2019,” he said.

However, some discerning investors are taking advantage of low valuations to increase their investments. The renewed demand has continued to boost prices of stocks. And buying interests in Dangote Cement Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc among other bellwethers influenced the positive performance of yesterday.

But Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc led the price gainers’ chart with 9.4 per cent, trailed by NEM Insurance Plc with 9.7 per cent. Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc went up by 9.0 per cent, while Royal Exchange Plc and Jaiz Bank Plc chalked up 8.3 per cent and 8.0 per cent respectively.

PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Union Diagnostic & Clinical Services Plc and Wema Bank Plc garnered 7.7 per cent, 7.4 per cent and 5.1 per cent in that order. Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc and Forte Oil Plc appreciated by 4.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.

Conversely, Etranzact Plc led the price losers with 9.8 per cent, trailed by Resort Savings and Loans Plc with 9.6 per cent, just as Cornerstone Insurance Plc shed 9.0 per cent. NPF Microfinance Bank Plc went down by 8.1 per cent, while First Aluminium and AXA Mansard Insurance Plc depreciated by 6.0 per cent and 4.6 per cent in that order.