Investors in the nation’s stock market recorded a slight gain of N7bn on Thursday as the market capitalisation of equities increased to N13.365tn from N13.358tn recorded on Wednesday.
The market closed the trading session on a positive note as the All Share Index marginally rose by 0.05 per cent to settle at 27,424.92 basis points, following buying interest in MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc and Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc. The market year-to-date loss improved to -12.7 per cent as activity level strengthened. Volume and value traded rose by 116.8 per cent and 127 per cent to 279.633 million units and N2.68bn, respectively.
The most traded stocks by volume were FBN Holdings Plc (58.9 million units), Zenith Bank Plc (39 million units) and Access Bank Plc (29.3 million units) while the most traded stocks by value were Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N804.6m), Zenith Bank (N664.6m) and MTN Nigeria (N388.2m).
Performance across sectors was bearish as four sectors closed on a negative note. The banking index led laggards, shedding 2.89 per cent following losses in Zenith Bank, GTB and Access Bank Plc. The oil and gas index depreciated by 0.67 per cent due to price depreciation in Forte Oil Plc and Oando Plc.
Similarly, the insurance and consumer goods indices fell by 0.38 per cent and 0.31 per cent, respectively, on the back of sell-offs in Continental Reinsurace Plc and Guinness Nigeria Plc. On the flip side, bargain hunting in Cement Company of Northern Nigeria drove the industrial goods index 0.34 per cent higher.
However, the AFR-ICT index sustained gains, up by 1.9 per cent following buying interest in MTN Nigeria. MTN gained the highest amount on the floor of the Exchange on Thursday, following the release of the group financial statements. MTN Group recorded $154.56m (2.34 billion rand) as gain on dilution of the group’s investments.
In March, it announced R15bn divestment programme over the next three years that would also reduce risk and improve returns. The Group Chief Executive Officer, MTN Group, Rob Shuter, said the company had a good first half, reporting solid financial results, good commercial momentum and encouraging strategic progress.
He said the growth of 12 per cent in adjusted headline earnings per share was the company’s first in recent years. Investor sentiment weakened to 0.4x from 0.7x recorded in the prior trading session on Wednesday as nine gainers outshined 23 losers.
The top gainers on Thursday were AXA Mansard Insurance Company, Jaiz Bank Plc, FCMB Group Plc, Chams Plc and Wema Bank Plc, with respective gains of 9.09 per cent, 5.26 per cent, 4.35 per cent, four per cent and 3.64 per cent.
The top losers were Africa Prudential Plc, Guinness, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, United Capital and UACN Property Development Company Plc, whose share prices declined by 10 per cent, 10 per cent, 10 per cent, 9.95 per cent and 9.68 per cent, respectively. Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said they expected a bearish performance at the close of trade on Friday in the absence of any market catalyst.