STOCK MARKET OPENS MONTH BEARISH AS INSURANCE STOCKS SLUMP
The nation’s stock market started the month of December on a bearish note as the market capitalisation of equities listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange shed a further N28bn on Monday, which is the first trading day in the month.
The market capitalisation, which stood at N11.271tn on Friday, dropped to N11.243 on Monday, scraping N28bn off investors’ wealth, despite the 19 stocks that appreciated against 14 decliners. The All Share Index shed 0.24 per cent, dropping from 30,874.17 basis points on Friday to 30,798.76 bps on Monday.
The market continued to witness sell pressures as three of five indices closed negatively, settling the year-to-date loss at -19.5 per cent. The Insurance index shed the most, losing 4.51 per cent on the back of profit-taking in Continental Reinsurance Plc and AXA Mansard Insurance Plc as investors remained cautious.
The Industrial Goods index trailed, shedding 0.72 per cent on the back of losses in PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc and Dangote Cement. The Consumer Goods index followed, shedding 0.03 per cent due to major losses recorded in Nigerian Breweries Plc. On the flip side, the Oil & Gas index gained 2.07 per cent on the back of bargain hunting in Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.
Buying interests in banking bellwethers such as Zenith Bank Plc, FBN Holdings, and GTB pushed the banking index 0.61 per cent higher. Activity level strengthened as volume and value traded rose by 0.1 per cent and 13.6 per cent, respectively to close at 249.736 million units and N2.720bn.
The top traded stocks by volume in Monday’s session were First City Monument Bank Plc (103.5 million units), FBN Holdings Plc (22.1 million units) and United Bank for Africa Plc (20.3 million units), while the top traded stocks by value were Dangote Cement Plc (N674.7m), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N609.5m), and Zenith Bank Plc (N453.6m).
Investor sentiment as measured by market breadth strengthened to 1.4x from 0.6x recorded in Friday’s session. The top five gainers were Jaiz Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Learn Africa Plc, FCMB Plc and Sterling Bank Plc, which saw their respective share prices appreciate by 10 per cent, 9.23 per cent, 8.62 per cent, 7.59 per cent and 5.42 per cent.
The top five losers were Continental Reinsurance, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, AXA Mansard, PZ Cussons and Lafarge Africa Plc, which saw their share prices decline by 10 per cent, 9.98 per cent, 9.90 per cent, 9.65 per cent and 6.67 per cent, respectively.
Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said despite the perceived weakness in Monday’s session, a rebound was anticipated in subsequent sessions this week. They said, “The bearish sentiment is not broad-based, as evidenced in Monday’s investors’ sentiment. Thus, we expect a rebound in subsequent sessions.”