Chances that the equities market will close the month of March in the positive territory appears to be slim as the trading week closed northwards by 0.67 per cent.
The bears had kick-started Monday’s session on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with the All Share Index (ASI) dipping by 0.31 per cent to 31,042.32 points, following sell-offs across major counters.
Similarly, market capitalization fell to N11.576 trillion with the Year-to-Date (YtD) return worsened to -1.2 per cent.
However, the bearish run came to a halt on Thursday as the ASI recovered marginally, gaining 0.01 per cent to 30,833.50 points, driven by gains in the banking sector.
Friday’s trading session also saw the benchmark index soaring by 0.67 per cent to close at 31,041.42 points while market capitalization closed the week at N11.672 trillion.
This means investors gained only N58 billion from the N11.614 trillion mark in the previous week.
Market breadth was negative as 18 stocks depreciated while 16 others appreciated.
Union Diagnostics topped the losers’ chart with 9.09 per cent to close at 0.30 kobo per share. Cutix Plc was next with 8.87 per cent to close at N1.85, Fidelity Bank fell by 8.85 per cent to close at N2.06, Mutual Benefits dipped by 8.33 per cent while Cadbury lost 8.26 per cent to close at N10.
On the other hand, Ikeja Hotel topped the gainers’ chart with 9.94 per cent to close at N1.88 per share. Eterna Oil followed with 9.28 per cent to close at N1.88, Seplat increased by 9.26 per cent to close at N590, Caverton rose by 5.96 per cent to close at N2.49 while Nestle gained 5.48 per cent to close at N1,580.
Fidelity Bank topped the activity chart with the sale of 58.19 million shares valued at N126.33 million. Chams traded 40.89 million shares worth N8.17 million while UBA transacted 36.30 million shares worth N280.03 million.
Overall, the volume of stocks traded stood at 266.86 billion while value of stocks traded and deals closed the week at N3.15 billion and 3,455 deals respectively.
Investors are yet to regain the confidence seen on the eve of the presidential elections and following the decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reduce the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 14 per cent to 13.5 per cent, cautious trading has been the theme so far.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who announced the decision of the MPC at the end of a two-day meeting in Abuja, explained that the decision to reduce the rate was taken in the overall interest of the economy, as there was need to have a refocus on monetary tightening.
This, he stated, would help to increase the level of credit from the banking sector to businesses.
Analysts who spoke to Sunday Sun in separate interviews, believe that the equities market will bounce back.
Divisional Head, Economic Research and Policy Management at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Afolabi Olowookere, noted that the market is information driven, adding that sentiments would always guide the direction of the market.
Olowookere further noted that the market is determined by a lot of factors, some being global, domestic and some being industrial as regards the performance of some companies.
According to him, “some of these investors had high expectations as some of them on knowing who was going to win the presidential election, sold their shares. It was noticeable that on the eve of elections, the bulls took over the market. So, looking at the statistics, the market’s current run is not that bad because there was a time it scored 42 per cent, we all celebrated it and the next year, it fell by -17 per cent.
There will always be sentiments guiding the market as investors will continue to patronise the market, but what is important to note is that the stock market started in 1984 with a 100 points and today we are in the 30,000 mark and in the next few years, we might get higher than that; so the market will always go up and come down.”
Vice Chairman, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Akinsola Akeredolu, said: “The equities market will always fluctuate, but one of the things we have started appreciating about the Nigerian market is there is a balance between the foreign portfolio investment and domestic investment, in the last 30 days, we have had 51 per cent of foreign portfolio investors against 49 domestic investors, so that is laudable.
Another thing is that there are some of these investors who are rearranging their portfolios after the elections, but the market will pick up because the policies that the Federal Government are putting out now to the manufacturing sector will bear good fruits”.