The performance of the stock market remained negative thursday as profit taking persisted. However, the decline was marginal as sentiments were mixed. Although price gainers outnumbered price losers, losses suffered by bellwether stocks made the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) to remain in the negative territory. The NSE ASI shed 0.05 per cent to close lower at 25,514.03.
Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc led the price losers with 9.7 per cent trailed by Guinness Nigeria Plc, which went down by 4.2 per cent. African Prudential Registrars Plc and Access Bank Plc declined by 3.7 per cent and 3.5 per cent per cent in that order. NASCON Allied Industries Plc closed 2.9 per cent lower just as Diamond Bank Plc shed 2.1 per cent.
Forte Oil Plc and FCMB Group Plc dipped by 1.7 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively, while Zenith Bank Plc went down by 1.4 per cent.
Zenith Bank is losing value a day after the shareholders approved its final dividend of N55.573 billion final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2016.
On the positive side, Lafarge Africa Plc maintained the number spot on the gainers’ chart, rising by 8.4 per cent to close at N41.00 per share. The stock had similarly led the price gainers the previous day as investors reacted to the 105 kobo dividend the cement manufacturing firm recommended for 2016 year.
Although the dividend is lower than the 300 kobo paid the previous year, market operators said they least expected any dividend from Lafarge Africa Plc given its nine months results that showed N40 billion loss.
Lafarge Africa Plc reported a profit after tax of N16.8 billion as a result of tax credit of N39.71 billion. The profit was 38 per cent lower than the N27 billion profit recorded in 2015.
But for the tax credit, which came mainly from deferred tax assets generated from Unicem operations, the company would have ended 2016 with a loss before tax of N22.8 billion.
The Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa, Mr. Michel Puchercos, had said the immediate objective of the company is to deliver fully on “our turnaround plan by optimising our processes, developing our alternative fuel strategy, reducing operational costs to deliver strong EBITDA margins returning to historic levels.”
Apart from Lafarge, Learn Africa Plc also appreciated yesterday, chalking up 4.6 per cent. Livestock Feeds Plc garnered 4.6 per cent, while Sterling Bank Plc and Fidson Healthcare Plc appreciated by 4.2 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.
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