All-Share Index Sheds 0.3% as Equities Market Opens on Negative Note

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Goddy Egene

The Nigerian equities market opened trading for the week on a bearish note as losses by Zenith Bank Plc, FBN Holdings Plc and Unilever Nigeria Plc, among 10 other stocks pushed the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) down by 0.30 per cent to close at 29,552.99. Similarly, market capitalisation shed N39.1 billion to be at 15.2 trillion.

Unilever Nigeria Plc led the price losers with 9.9 per cent as investors reacted to the poor results reported for the year ended December 31, 2019. The performance showed a loss after tax of N4.22 billion for the year ended December 2019, compared with a profit after tax of N10.148 billion posted in 2018.

Details of the performance showed that revenue fell 34 per cent to N60.758 billion, from N92.023 billion, while gross profit fell faster by 75 per cent from N27.42 billion to N6.67 billion. Financing cost rose by 82 per cent to N824 million from N452 million in 2018. Loss before tax stood at N8.322 billion in 2019, compared with a profit before tax of N13.56 billion. Unilever Nigeria Plc posted a loss after tax of N4.224 billion as against a profit after tax of N10.1 billion in 2018.

According to analysts at Greenwich Trust Limited, in line their forecast, they noted a drastic slowdown in topline to settle at N60.76 billion against N92.03 billion recorded in 2018.

“Furthermore, Cost of sales (COS) dipped to print N54.09 billion against N64.60 billion recorded in 2018, however, COS declined at a slower pace than top-line, hence, we witnessed gross profit thin-out by 75.67 per cent to record N6.672 billion vs N27.427 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2018,” they said.

Eterna Plc closed as the second highest price loser. Shedding 9.5 per cent, just as Royal Exchange Plc and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc went down by Sterling Bank Plc 5.1 per cent.

On the positive side, NAHCO Plc led the price gainers, trailed by NPF Microfinance Plc with 9.7 per cent, while Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc appreciated by 8.5 per cent.

Linkage Assurance Plc chalked up 8.5 per cent. Vitafoam Nigeria Plc garnered 6.0 per cent as investors reacted to the first quarter results of the company.

Meanwhile, activity level was mixed as volume traded rose 140.6 per cent to 444 million shares while value traded declined 9.8 per cent to N3.3bn. The top traded stocks by volume were Veristas Kapital Assurance Plc (225.6 million shares), Zenith Bank Plc (45.4 million shares) and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (26.7 million shares).