Stock market sheds N150bn as losses persist

Losses in the nation’s intensified on Wednesday as investors counted losses totalling N150bn since the beginning of August.

The stock market, which had long embarked on a losing streak, with occasional gains on some days, saw its capitalisation drop from N13.508tn on July 31 to N13.358tn on August 7 (Wednesday).

Sustained sell pressures in the local bourse dragged the benchmark index southwards as the All Share Index declined by 42 basis points to settle at 27,412.13bps while the year-to-date loss worsened to -12.8 per cent.

Analysts said major losses in large cap stocks ? Dangote Cement Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Union Bank Nigeria Plc ? depressed market performance.

Performance across sectors was largely bearish as four indices ended the trading day in red.

The insurance index led losers, shedding 1.92 per cent due to major losses in Continental Reinsurance Plc, Wapic Insurance Plc and Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc.

Sell-offs in Dangote Cement Plc led a 0.70 per cent decline in the industrial goods index.

Similarly, the banking index declined by 0.44 per cent, due to sell pressures in Zenith Bank and Union Bank.

The consumer goods index also shed 0.04 per cent on the back of price depreciation in Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc.

On the flip side, the oil and gas index led the gainers with a 0.19 per cent, following bargain hunting in Conoil Nigeria Plc.

Activity level weakened as volume and value traded fell by 24.4 per cent and 47.8 per cent to 128.956 million units and N1.182bn, respectively.

The top traded stocks by volume were FBN Holdings Plc (30.9 million units), Transnational Corporation Plc (16 million units) and FCMB Group Plc (11 million units), while MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (N390.8m), FBN Holdings (N162.1m) and Zenith Bank (N148.6m) were the top traded stocks by value.

Investor sentiment, as measured by market breadth (advance/decline ratio), strengthened to 0.7x from 0.3x recorded on Tuesday as 11 stocks gained against 17 stocks that lost.

The top gainers were Aiico Insurance Plc with a 9.38 per cent price appreciation, Conoil with 6.33 per cent gain, Lasaco Assurance Plc whose share price increased by 5.88 per cent, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc with a 5.26 per cent gain and Eterna Plc, which saw its share price appreciate by 1.85 per cent.

Leading the losers’ table with price depreciation of 9.85 per cent, 9.68 per cent, 9.52 per cent, 9.09 per cent and 8.33 per cent, were Red Star Express Plc, Continental Reinsurance, Jaiz Bank Plc, Japaul Oil and Maritime Services Plc and Mutual Benefits, respectively.

Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said they maintained a bearish outlook for the rest of the week in the absence of any major catalyst.

They added that they saw opportunities for bargain hunting in stocks with sound fundamentals.