Nigerian stocks hit a new milestone on Monday as a tense investor scramble for the shares of the country’s biggest telecommunications companies – MTN Nigeria (MTNN) and Airtel Africa – catapulted the benchmark index by 2.93 per cent to 43,246.87 points equivalent to a market capitalization, the peak level since February 2018.
That feat will bolster Nigerian Exchange’s capacity to close the year with another positive return after yielding 50 per cent in 2020 even though the current foreign exchange scarcity has starved the market of foreign investors’ dollars.
The two wireless operators on Friday announced receipt of a tentative nod of banking sector watchdog the Central Bank of Nigeria to start a payment service bank.
Airtel and MTN topped premium times weekly stock recommendation published earlier on Monday and ranked first and fourth respectively of the best performing stocks of the day.
On the flip side, market breadth, which indicates investors’ attitude towards trade, was negative as 18 gainers emerged compared to 26 gainers
The all-share index enlarged by 1,232.27 basis points, while market capitalisation rose to N643 billion at the end of trade.
Airtel led gainers, appreciating by 10 per cent to close at N858. Red Star Express added 9.94 per cent to end today’s trade at N3.43. Cutix went up by 9.91 per cent to N6.21. MTNN rose to N192.50, notching up 9.62 per cent in the process. Unilever completed the top 5, climbing by 9.36 per cent to N14.60.
Conoil led laggards, declining 9.80 per cent to close at N23. CWG fell to N1.02, losing 9.73 per cent. Custodian dipped to N7.65, recording 9.47 per cent depreciation. Honeywell Flour shed 9.07 per cent to close at N3.31. Africa Prudential closed at N4.72, going down by 6.05 per cent.