The Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index shed 0.08 per cent at the close of trading on Thursday as equity investors embarked on profit taking on counters that had recorded gains.
This follows a three-day rally, causing the ASI to close at 44,848.74 basis points from 44,885.24.
A total of 1.344 million shares valued at N10.728bn were traded in 11,355 deals.
Thus, the year-to-date return on equities dropped to 17.3 per cent while investors lost N13.1bn as market capitalisation closed at N16.067tn from N16.080tn.
Thursday’s performance was dragged by profit taking in Nigerian Breweries Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, which shed 2.8 per cent, 2.7 per cent and 4.8 per cent, accordingly.
However, activity level was mixed as volume traded advanced by 40 per cent to 1.344 billion units while value traded declined by 14.3 per cent to N10.725bn.
Performance across sectors was mixed as three of the five major indices closed southwards. The industrial goods index was the biggest loser, down by 1.2 per cent primarily due to sell offs in Lafarge Africa Plc, which shed 3.7 per cent.
The consumer goods index followed, sliding by 1.1 per cent as investors booked profit in Nigerian Breweries, Unilever Nigeria Plc and Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, which dropped accordingly by 2.8 per cent, 4.3 per cent and 1.2 per cent.
In addition, losses in Forte Oil Plc (by 0.4 per cent) pulled the oil/gas index down by 0.1 per cent.
However, buy sentiments in AXA Mansard Insurance Plc, NEM Insurance Nigeria Plc, and AIICO Insurance Plc and their respectively price advancements by five per cent, 3.5 per cent and 4.8 per cent, boosted the Insurance index by two per cent while gains in Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc by two per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively, caused a 0.3 advancement in the performance of the NSE banking index.
Investor sentiment measured by market breadth softened compared to the previous day consequent on 28 stocks advancing relative to 31 stocks that plummeted.
The best performing stocks were the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc, FCMB Group Plc and Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, which appreciated respectively by 10.2 per cent, 10.1 per cent and 9.8 per cent.
On the flipside, the worst performers were Fidson Healthcare Plc, Nascon Allied Industries Plc and GlaxosmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc, which declined respectively by 9.2 per cent, 7.2 per cent and five per cent.
Commenting on the market outcome, analysts at Afrinvest Securities, in a note, said, “As expected, investors booked profit on previous advancers, notwithstanding; we expect the market to close the week positive.”