By Kayode Tokede
The Nigerian equities market on Thursday closed transaction on a negative note, as the Nigerian Exchange Limited market capitalisation declined by N34billion.
The decline in the equities market came after the yield of 364-days treasury bills rose to about nine per cent, as inflation also surges to 18.17 per cent.
In summary, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased by 64.26 absolute points, representing a decline of 0.17 per cent to close at 38,571.89 basis points, while the overall market capitalisation value lost N34 billion to close at N20.186 trillion.
Sector performance was mixed with the Banking (-0.97 per cent) and Industrial (-0.18 per cent) sectors closing down, while Consumer Goods (+0.12per cent) and Oil & Gas (+0.09 per cent) closed up today.
The market lost was driven by price depreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks amongst which are; Unilever Nigeria, Lafarge Africa, Northern Nigeria Flour Mills (NNFM), PZ Cussons Nigeria and Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN).
As measured by market breadth, market sentiment was negative, as 27 stocks declined relative to 16 gainers. Guinness Nigeria recorded the highest price gain of 10 per cent to close at N29.15, while Morison Industries and FTN Cocoa Processors followed with a gain 9.30 per cent each to close at 94 kobo and 47 kobo respectively, per share.
Honeywell Flour Mill rose by 9.17 per cent to close at N1.19, while Livestock Feeds appreciated by 6.74 per cent to close at N1.90, per share. On the other hand, UACN Property Development Company led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent, to close at 72 kobo, per share. PZ Cussons Nigeria followed with a decline of 9.78 per cent to close at N4.15, while Studio Press Nigeria declined by 9.50 per cent to close at N1.62, per share.
NNFM shed 9.26 per cent to close at N4.90, while Chams depreciated by 9.09 per cent to close at 20 kobo, per share.
However, the total volume of trades increased by 14.9 per cent to 319.43 million units, valued at N1.78 billion, and exchanged in 4,158 deals. Transactions in the shares of Fidelity Bank topped the activity chart with 46.707 million shares valued at N113.509 million. Access Bank followed with 36.887 million shares worth N297.709 million, while Mutual Benefits Assurance traded 27.692 million shares valued at N10.168 million.
FBN Holdings (FBNH) traded 26.096 million shares valued at N197.699 million, while AXA Mansard Insurance transacted 18.698 million shares worth N16.634 million.
Analysts at Afrinvest Limited stated that “We expect the newly released inflation number of 18.2 per cent to weigh on market sentiment today, as investors seek positive real returns.”
According to analysts at Investment One research, “The equities market closed down today due to the losses recorded in the Banking and Industrial sectors.
“Going forward, we expect investor’s sentiments to be swayed by the search for real positive returns and developments in the interest rate space. We reiterate that this may be a great period to pick up some quality names with a medium to long-term investment horizon.”