Stock market inspires confidence, gains N351bn

Equity investors have regained confidence in the nation’s stock market as they recorded gains totalling N351bn in five trading days.

The market maintained a bullish trend for the three consecutive days last week, a turnaround from the persistent bearish performance observed for the past two to three months.

The market capitalisation of equities increased to N13.214tn on Monday last week from N13.121tn on Friday of the previous week.

However, losses were recorded on Tuesday, which pushed the market capitalisation lower to N13.186tn.

Investors recorded a gain of N121bn on Wednesday as the market capitalisation increased to N13.307tn.

The market recorded a gain of N134bn on Thursday, posting a market capitalisation of N13.441tn, and a further gain of N83bn on Friday at a market capitalisation of N13.524tn.

However, at the end of trading on Monday, the market recorded a negative performance as market capitalisation dropped to N13.472tn and the All Share Index declined by 0.39 per cent to 27,691.85 basis points.

Some traders had told Reuters that the recent gains recorded were on the back of President Muhammed Buhari’s inauguration of ministers, which boosted the hope for reforms that could raise growth of the economy.

The nation’s economy has grappled with low growth since recovery from recession three years ago.

According to Reuters, investors have been waiting for policy signals that can lift economic growth since President Buhari began his second four-year term in May and pledged to revive the economy.

The President assigned portfolios to ministers on Wednesday, retaining 14 from his past administration and appointed 29 new ministers, in a cabinet made up of political loyalists.

Analysts told Reuters that the appointment lifted a layer of uncertainty for reforms.

They said the rise was a relief rally and that half-year corporate results of listed companies, particularly from banks, were also supportive.

Meanwhile, analysts, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent, said contrary to opinions that the bullish trend recorded was on the back of President Buhari’s assigning portfolios to ministers, investors were merely taking advantage of low-priced stocks.

A research analyst at Cordros Capital Limited, Wahab Mustapha, said the bullish trend observed in the market was on the back of impressive earnings posted by companies and dividend yield, rather than on the resumption of new cabinet members.

He stated that the dividend yield of heavyweight stocks brought about renewed interests and bargain hunting in the stock market.

Mustapha said, “Investors are not really expecting anything new from the sitting President and that is because the policy of the current administration has been somewhat dogmatic.”

The Managing Director, Afrinvest Securities Limited, Ayodeji Ebo, said the gains recorded in the market would be short-lived.

According to him, domestic investors are taking positions in fundamentally low-priced stocks, which he notes as driving the gains in the market.

Ebo stated that the implementation of key economic policies was needed to drive and sustain gains in the stock market.

Activity level declined on Monday as volume and value traded dipped by 53.4 per cent and 24.6 per cent, respectively to 158.268 million units and N2.319bn.

The most active stocks by volume were Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (31.8 million units), Zenith Bank Plc (18.7 million units) and UBA Group Plc (17.9 million units) while Nestlé Nigeria Plc (N552.1m), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N372.2m) and Zenith Bank Plc (N348.4m) led by value.

Performance across sectors was largely bearish as four indices closed negatively.

The Oil and Gas, industrial, consumer goods and banking indices recorded respective declines of 6.8 per cent, one per cent, 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent.

On the flip side, the Insurance index gained 0.7 per cent, driven by price appreciation in Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc and Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc.