The stock market pared losses Wednesday as investors embarked on bargain hunting after days of bearish run. The persistent bear run had pushed the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) to a 52-week low two days ago.
However, some investors moved in to take advantage of low valuations. Consequently, the NSE ASI appreciated by 0.15 per cent to close at 29,202.54, while market capitalisation added N16.5 billion to close at N10.965 trillion.
Buying interest in Dangote Cement Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, FBN Holdings Plc among other contributed to the market rebound. In all, 25 stocks gained compared with 18 that declined.
However, Livestock Feeds Plc led the price gainers with 10 per cent, trailed by Custodian Investment Plc with 9.8 per cent, while Learn Africa Plc and Transnationwide Express Plc garnered 8.9 per cent and 8.7 per cent respectively. NPF Microfinance Bank Plc and Law Union & Rock Insurance Plc chalked up 8.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent in that order.
Meanwhile, market analysts said the renewed interest in Zenith Bank Plc shares could be traced to the announcement of a new managing director for the bank effective June 1, 2019. The bank has on Monday announced the current deputy managing director, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu as the incoming MD.
The bank had said that the appointment was consistent with its tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within. Onyeagwu, who is a graduate of accounting from Auchi Polytechnic, began his career at the defunct Financial Merchant Bank in 1991 and later held several management positions in the erstwhile Citizens International Bank Limited until 2002 when he joined Zenith Bank. He obtained a postgraduate diploma in Financial Strategy and a certificate in Macroeconomics from the University.
Market operators said the succession plan has impressed many investors, hence the increased demand for the shares. Zenith Bank close 2.2 per cent higher at N20.60 per share. The demand for Zenith Bank, Access Bank Plc and FBN Holdings Plc made the NSE Banking Index to close as the lone gainer. It appreciated by 0.8 per cent.
On the negative side, the NSE Industrial Goods Index led decliners down 1.3 per cent, followed by the NSE Insurance Index and NSE Consumer Goods Index that fell by 0.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. The NSE Oil & Gas Index closed flat.