Equities Pullback after a 3-day Uptrend

The Nigerian equities market retreated today after a 3-day positive run as the All Share Index (ASI) closed 108bps weaker to 27,533.03 points while market capitalization lost N103.4bn to N9.5tn. The decline today was against the backdrop of sell-down pressure in bellwether counters across sectors -- GUARANTY (-3.5%), ZENITHBANK (-6.1%), UBA (-1.6%), WAPCO (-2.2%), DANGOTE CEMENT (-0.3%), NB (-2.2%), OANDO   (-4.8%) and FORTE OIL (-5.1%). However, market activity surged as aggregate volume and value traded improved 279.5% and 82.0% to 485.0m units and N4.5bn respectively. DANGOTE CEMENT mainly drove turnover with N1.2bn worth of the company's shares traded, 26.5% of aggregate value.

Sell-down Pressure across Sectors
The sell pressure in the market today was across board with 4 of the sector indices closing in the red whilst the Insurance index closed marginally higher by 4bps. The Banking index extended losses into the 2nd trading session with a 2.9% depreciation -- driven by declines in GUARANTY (-3.5%) and ZENITHBANK (-6.1%); while the Oil & Gas index trailed with a 2.7% decline against the backdrop of sustained price depreciation in OANDO (-4.8%) and FORTE OIL (-5.1%). Sentiment for Industrial Goods equities turned bearish as the index pared 1.0% after 5 days of consecutive gains, mainly due to profit-taking in DANGOTE CEMENT (-0.3%) and WAPCO (-2.2%).

Sentiment Stays Negative
Market sentiment measured by its breadth -- the advancers' vs. decliners' ratio -- remained weak at 0.6x with 16 stocks closing up while 27 declined. Top gainers today include UNILEVER (+8.3%), MOBIL (+5.0%), ETERNA (+4.8%) while ZENITHBANK (-6.1%), FORTE OIL (-5.1%) and TRANSCORP (-5.0%) led laggards.  The sustained bearish sentiment in the bourse corroborates with our short term bearish outlook for the market. Nevertheless, we expect to see some bargain hunting in the session ahead as technical traders are likely to take position in fundamentally sound counters trading at cheap valuation multiples after the selling pressure in the last two sessions.