The nation’s stock market closed higher on Thursday as Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc and 22 other firms recorded price appreciation. The market has closed on a positive note for six straight days, after falling to a 19-month low last week.

The market capitalisation of equities listed on the NSE increased from N11.359tn on Wednesday to N11.405tn on Thursday this week. Analysts said the gaining streak in the bourse was sustained due to buying interest in Dangote Cement Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

The All-Share Index increased by 0.40 per cent to settle at 30,583.21 basis points, while the year-to-date loss moderated to -2.7 per cent. Activity level was mixed as volume traded declined by 24.4 per cent to 231.015 million units, while value traded advanced by 55.2% to N3.36bn.

The top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (59.6 million units), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (45.6 million units) and Zenith Bank Plc (19.8 million units), while GTB (N1.5bn), Nigerian Breweries (N465.4m) and Zenith Bank (N427.6m) led the top traded stocks by value. Performance across sectors was equally bullish as four indices closed in the green.

Price appreciation in Dangote Cement and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc drove the industrial index up by 2.04 per cent. The oil and gas index gained 0.51 per cent on the back of gains recorded in Forte Oil Plc. Similarly, the consumer goods index saw a 0.28 per cent gain on the back of price appreciation in Nigerian Breweries and Dangote Flour Mills Plc.

The insurance index advanced by 0.07 per cent, boosted by gains in NEM Insurance Plc and Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc. The banking index, on the other hand, emerged as the lone loser as it declined by 0.26 per cent due to selling pressures in Zenith Bank, GTB and Access Bank Plc.

Market breadth, which is a measure of investor sentiment, remained strong at 1.5x as 23 stocks advanced compared to the 15 that declined. The top five gainers were Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals, NEM Insurance, Sovereign Trust Insurance, Royal Exchange Plc and Jaiz Bank Plc, whose respective share prices gained 9.84 per cent, 9.71 per cent, 9.09 per cent, 8.33 per cent and eight per cent.

The top five losers were E-Tranzact International Plc, Resort Savings and Loans Plc, Cornerstone Insurance Plc, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc and First Aluminium Nigeria Plc, which saw their share prices decline by 9.87 per cent, 9.68 per cent, 9.09 per cent, 8.18 per cent, and 6.06 per cent, respectively. “We maintain a cautiously optimistic outlook for the market in the near term and recommend that investors position largely in value stocks,” Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said.


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