The nation’s equities market, on Thursday, gained N39Bn as 25 stocks, led by Lafarge Africa Plc, appreciated at the end of trading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A total of 226.027 million shares valued at N2.342Bn exchanged hands in 2,873 deals.

The NSE All-Share Index rose by 33 basis points to settle at 32,480.89bps, while the year-to-date return improved to -15.1 per cent. The market capitalisation of listed equities increased by N39Bn to settle at N11.858Tn on Thursday.

According to analysts at Afrinvest Securities, the day’s performance can largely be credited to gains in bellwethers – Lafarge Africa, United Bank for Africa, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, which appreciated respectively by 9.9 per cent, four per cent and 2.9 per cent.

In addition, activity level improved as volume and value traded rose by 18.9 per cent and 32.1 per cent to 226.027 million units and N2.342bn, respectively. Performance across sectors was broadly bullish as three out of five indices appreciated. The industrial goods index led gainers on the back of price appreciation in Lafarge and Berger Paints Plc, which appreciated by 9.90 per cent and 5.34 per cent, respectively.

Similarly, the banking index advanced by 0.7 per cent on the back of buying interest in UBA, Ecobank and Access Bank Plc, while a rally in Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc by 4.63 per cent and Guinness Nigeria Plc by 2.33 per cent increased the consumer goods index by 0.2 per cent.

On the flip side, the insurance and oil and gas indices fell by 0.3 per cent each, following profit-taking in Prestige Assurance Plc, AIICO Insurance Plc and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc by 9.68 per cent, 4.71 per cent and 1.10 per cent, respectively.

Investor sentiment, measured by market breadth, strengthened on 25 stocks advancing against 15 declining. Lafarge, First Aluminium Nigeria Plc, and UACN Plc respectively gained 9.90 per cent, 9.68 per cent and 8.82 per cent, emerging as the day’s top gainers while Prestige Assurance, Union Bank Plc and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc declined by 9.68 per cent, 9.28 per cent and 6.21 per cent to become the top three losers.

“Today, buying sentiment was sustained as we anticipated. We expect this sentiment to remain tomorrow, the close of the week,” Afrinvest analysts said.




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