Equities Market Opens Week on Bearish Note on Profit-taking

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Goddy Egene

The nation’s stock market opened the week on bearish note as investors locked in profits recorded in the past days. As a result, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) fell by 0.26 per cent to close lower at 31,344.24, while market capitalisation shed N30.7 billion to close at N11.7 trillion. The market had a rallied in recent days on the back of bargain hunting, leading to significant recovery.

However, some short term investors decided to take profit due partly to what some analysts linked to renewed appetite for naira assets by foreign investors. At the closing of trading yesterday, 30 stocks lost value compared with 10 others that depreciated.

Bellwethers such as United Bank for Africa Plc, Seplat, Access Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc were among the price losses. But Berger Paints of Nigeria Plc led the table with 9.6 per cent, trailed by Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc which shed 8.5 per cent. MCNichols Plc went down by 7.6 per cent, just as A.G Leventis Nigeria Plc and Royal Exchange Plc depreciated by 6.5 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively. Access Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc equally dipped by 2.3 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

Access Bank Plc last week disclosed that its business combination deal with Diamond Bank Plc, would be concluded about two months earlier than initially expected. It was reported that the deal, which was set to close in June, would be completed in the second quarter.

On the positive side, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc led the price gainers with 9.5 per cent, trailed by Union Diagnostic and Clinical Services Plc with 7.4 per cent. Oando Plc and University Press Plc chalked up 5.1 per cent and 5.0 per cent in that order.

Meanwhile, in line with the bearish performance, activity level also fell as volume and value traded declined 46.7 per cent and 41.4 per cent to 219.6 million shares and N1.8 billion respectively. The top traded stocks by volume were Fidelity Bank Plc (23.8 million shares), United Bank for Africa Plc (21.9 million shares) and Diamond Bank Plc (21.2 million shares). In terms value, the most traded were: GTBank (N487.9 million), Zenith Bank (N399.3 million) and UBA (N162.0 million).

Sectorally, four of five sectors tracked closed in the red. The NSE Insurance Index declined the most shedding 1.1 per cent on account of selloffs in AIICO Insurance Plc and WAPIC Insurance Plc. The NSE Banking Index and NSE Oil & Gas Index went down by 0.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent in that order. The NSE Consumer Goods Index declined 0.3 per cent.