Investors jostle for banks as equities sustain rally

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Banking stocks were the most active stocks yesterday as Nigerian equities reopened with continuing rally. With more than four advancers to every decliner, the market extended its sustained rally to seven consecutive trading sessions.

The All Share Index (ASI)- the main index that tracks share prices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), rose by 0.81 per cent to close at 31,781.87 points as against its opening index of 31,529.92 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also increased by N94 billion from its opening value of N11.758 trillion to close at N11.852 trillion. Average year-to-date return improved to 1.12 per cent.

The positive overall market situation was driven by widespread bargain-hunting across the sectors. All sectoral indices closed on the upside. The NSE Banking Index rose by 1.90 per cent. The NSE Insurance Index followed with a gain of 1.20 per cent. The NSE Oil and Gas Index appreciated by 0.58 per cent. The NSE Consumer Goods Index rose by 0.42 per cent while the NSE Industrial Goods Index inched up by 0.31 per cent.

Banking stocks dominated the activities chart as investors await the release of the audited reports and dividend of leading banks. Access Bank was the most active stock with 101.62 million shares valued at N700.19 million. United Bank for Africa followed with 69.9 million shares valued at N547.13 million while Diamond Bank placed third with 52.61 million shares worth N125.72 million. Total turnover stood at 551.59 million shares valued at N5.65 billion in 5,229 deals.

There were 41 gainers against 10 losers. Beta Glass led the gainers with a gain of N6.30 to close at N72.30. Seplat Petroleum Development Company followed with a gain of N5 to close at N565.50. Unilever Nigeria rose by N2 to close at N39. Cadbury Nigeria and Stanbic IBTC Holdings added N1 each to close at N11 and N48 respectively. Dangote Flour Mills chalked up 65 kobo to close at N7.50 while Zenith Bank garnered 55 kobo to close at N24.95 per share.

On the negative side, Total Nigeria led the losers with a drop of N15.90 to close at N205. International Breweries declined by N1 to close at N29. C & I Leasing dropped by 90 kobo to close at N8.14. Dangote Cement lost 50 kobo to close at N185 while Medview Airlines slipped by 15 kobo to close at N1.70 per share.

Most analysts expected profit-taking transactions to moderate the rally at the market as investors seek to monetise and lock in capital gains garnered in recent days.

“Although the domestic bourse posted a positive performance, we believe this may be short-lived as today’s slowdown in gains indicates profit-taking activities may begin in subsequent sessions,” Afrinvest Securities stated.

Cordros Capital remained cautious, urging investors to trade carefully.

“Our outlook for equities in the near-to-medium term remain conservative, and we guide investors to trade cautiously, amidst absence of a near term catalyst and political jitters ahead of the upcoming 2019 elections. However, macroeconomic fundamentals remain stable and supportive of recovery in the long term,” Cordros Securities stated.

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