After seven consecutive days on the upswing, Nigerian equities reopened on Monday with wide profit-taking selloffs as investors sought to lock in gains from the recent rally. With more sell orders than buys, the equities market closed negative with average decline of 0.88 per cent, equivalent to net capital depreciation of N101 billion.

Aggregate market value of all quoted companies at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) declined from its opening value of N11.562 trillion to close yesterday at N11.461 trillion. The benchmark value index, the All Share Index (ASI), also dropped from its opening index of 31,005.17 points to close lower at 30,732.72 points.

The decline further depressed the average year-to-date return so far in 2019 to -2.22 per cent. Nigerian equities had recorded a full-year depreciation of 17.81 per cent in 2017.

With 18 losers to 13 gainers, most sectoral indices also closed in the red. The NSE Oil and Gas Index declined by 4.55 per cent. The NSE Banking Index dipped by 0.14 per cent while the NSE Consumer Goods Index closed flat. On the upside, the NSE Insurance Index appreciated by 1.51 per cent while the NSE Industrial Goods Index recorded a gain of 0.97 per cent.

The momentum of activities also increased considerably, driven by the sell pressure. Turnover volume and value increased by 66 per cent and 47 per cent respectively as investors traded 499.2 million shares valued at N5.53 billion in 3,874 deals. Banking stocks dominated the top activities chart. Diamond Bank was the most active stock with 239.36 million shares valued at N497.89 million. Guaranty Trust Bank followed with 119.35 million shares worth N3.80 billion while Zenith Bank placed third with 26.11 million shares worth N563.2 million.

On price movements, Seplat Petroleum Development Company led the decliners with a loss of N46 to close at N530. 11, formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria, followed with a drop of N8 to close at N180. Dangote Cement declined by N4.90 to close at N190. Lafarge Africa dropped by 40 kobo to close at N12.40. E-Tranzact lost 31 kobo to close at N3.25 while Custodian Investment dipped by 30 kobo to close at N6.15 per share.

On the positive side, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria led the advancers with a gain of N1.80 to close at N26.90. NEM Insurance followed with a gain of 12 kobo to close at N2.60. FCMB Group rose by 7.0 kobo to close at N1.83. Linkage Assurance and United Bank for Africa added 5.0 kobo each to close at 61 kobo and N7.35 respectively while Sterling Bank inched up by 4.0 kobo to close at N2.05 per share.

“We expect (Monday) today’s performance to persist into tomorrow’s trading session, as we maintain our near-term bearish outlook for the domestic equities market,” analysts at Afrinvest Securities stated.

Analysts at Cordros Capital also remained negative on the outlook for the equities market in the short to medium term, citing political concerns ahead of the 2019 elections and the absence of a positive market trigger. Most analysts however agreed on a long-term positive outlook for Nigerian equities.

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