Investors in the nation’s stock market have started taking profits from equities ahead of the presidential elections.
The market capitalisation of equities listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange shed N18bn on Wednesday, dropping to N12.087tn from the N12.105tn recorded on Tuesday, while the All Share Index declined by 0.15 per cent to close at 32,413.92 basis points.
Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said major profit-taking was witnessed in bellwethers – Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc.
Activity level declined as volume and value traded declined by 19 per cent and 47.2 per cent to N4.241bn and 470.399 million, respectively.
The top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (131 million units), Zenith Bank (44.1 million units) and United Bank for Africa Plc (40.6 million units), while Zenith Bank (N1.1bn), Dangote Cement Plc (N6m), GTB (N5m) led by value.
Analysts at AllianceBernstein LP and Citigroup Incorporated had earlier told Bloomberg that the recent rally in Nigerian assets might pick up steam if there was a change in government after the presidential election this weekend.
They said foreign investors had not warmed to Nigeria despite rising prices for oil or the United States Federal Reserve’s dovish tilt, which fuelled the demand for riskier assets.
A Manager at Duet Asset Management Limited, Ayodele Salami, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “If the elections pass smoothly, we should see a rally regardless of who wins.
“But an Atiku victory can mean even more of a leg-up to the relief rally. That would be on the expectation that there will be a reform agenda. His campaign has been very much focused on pro-market policies.”
Bloomberg reported that the nation’s stocks had been the world’s worst performers in dollar terms, losing almost half their value under the President Muhammadu Buhari regime.
Sector performance was mixed on Wednesday as only two out of five indices advanced.
The industrial and consumer goods indices were the only gainers, appreciating by 1.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.
On the flip side, the oil and gas index shed gains recorded in previous trading sessions, declining by 2.2 per cent as investors took profit in Seplat and Oando Plc.
The banking and insurance indices trailed, down by 1.8 per cent and 0.7 per cent, as major losses were recorded in GTB, Access Bank, Custodian Investment Plc and NEM Insurance Plc.
The top-performing stocks for the day were Berger Paints Plc, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Livestock Feeds Plc and Jaiz Bank Plc, whose share prices gained 10 per cent, 10 per cent, 9.47 per cent, 9.09 per cent and 9.09 per cent, respectively.
The top five losers were C & I Leasing Plc, Champion Breweries Plc, P Z Cussons Plc, United Capital Plc and Chi Plc, which saw their respective share prices shed 9.95 per cent, 9.55 per cent, 9.43 per cent, 9.09 per cent and 7.14 per cent.
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