Market’s Year-to-Date Gain Hits 10.4% on Continuing Bullish Trading

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Goddy Egene

The year-to-date (YTD) gain by the Nigerian equities market hit 10.4 per cent yesterday as the bullish performance extended further on a day the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema unveiled plans of the Exchange for 2020.

The NSE All-Share Index(ASI), which gained 9.1 per cent last week, rose further by 0.74 per cent to close at 29,633.58 yesterday as investors sustained demand for stocks. Market capitalisation added N112.6 billion to close at N15.3 trillion. Also volume and value of trading rose significantly by 24.0 per cent and 77.5 per cent to 348.2 million units and N8.5 billion respectively.

The most active stocks by volume were Access Bank Plc (63.7 million shares), United Bank for Africa Plc (40.6 million shares) and Zenith Bank Plc(39.5 million shares) while Seplat Petroleum Plc N2.6 billion); MTN Nigeria Plc(N1.5 billion) and Zenith Bank Plc (N861.1 million) led by value.

In terms of sectoral performance, the NSE Insurance Index gained most with 0.3 per cent rise. The NSE Oil & Gas Index followed with 0.1 per cent. However, the NSE Industrial Goods Index recorded the highest decline of 3.2 per cent trailed by the NSE Banking Index that shed 0.4 per cent. The NSE Consumer Goods Index went down by 0.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc led the price gainers, chalking up 10 per cent to close at N127.60 per share. Market operators said the price gain may be due to investors’ positive reactions to last Friday’s news that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had transferred the resolution of allegation of tax indebtedness against MTN to the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigerian Custom Service.

The AGF had in September 2018, accused MTN Nigeria of two separate revenue indebtedness to the tune of N242,244,452,215.97 and $1,283,610,357.86, an allegation the firm vehemently refuted and subsequently went to court to challenge. But the minister had handed off the matter after holding on to it for 17 months.

Expressing satisfaction at the development, MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman said: “We are very pleased with the decision of the AGF and we commend him for his wisdom. We maintain our dedication to building and maintaining cordial relationships with all regulatory authorities in Nigeria and remain fully committed to meeting our fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeria.”

Market operators said this a good development that would impact positively on the performance of the MTNN hence investors have increased their demand for the stock.