Bargain Hunting Pushes Benchmark Index Up

Performance in the Nigerian equities market deviated from the 2-day bearish trend, as the All Share Index (ASI) rose 0.4% to close at 25,130.26 points on Wednesday while YTD loss trimmed to -6.5%.

Consequently, investors gained N33.9bn as market capitalization improved to N8.7tn. Gains in counters which had previously declined -  NIGERIAN BREWERIES (+4.2%), DANGCEM (+0.6%) and FORTE (+10.2%) - ensured the market closed positive. However, market activity was mixed as volume traded rose 11.7% to settle at N161.8m units while value traded fell 6.1% to close at N1.8bn.

Mixed Sector Performance
Performance across sectors was mixed as 3 indices gained while 2 declined. The Consumer Goods index rebounded from a 6-day bearish run, adding 1.7% as investors sought for bargains in NIGERIAN BREWERIES (+4.2%) and INTBREW (+4.7%). The Oil & Gas index followed closely with a day return of 1.1% on account of buy interest in FORTE (+10.2%). Similarly, the Industrial Goods index (+0.3%) was boosted by gains in DANGCEM (+0.6%). On the flipside, the Banking index lost 1.1% due to declines in GUARANTY (-2.0%), ZENITH (-0.9%) and ACCESS (-1.5%), while the Insurance index closed 0.5% lower on the back of losses in CONTINSURE (-4.5%) and CUSTODYINS (-0.3%).
Market Breadth Retreats
Investor sentiment weakened today as market breadth (advancers/decliners ratio) moderated to 0.7x (from 1.1x yesterday) owing to 10 advancers against 14 decliners. The gainers' chart was topped by FORTE (+10.2%), BETAGLASS (+5.0%) and HONYFLOUR (+4.8%) while AIRSERVICE (-4.9%), GUINNESS (-4.8%) and CONTINSURE (-4.5%) led the losers.

Despite today’s positive close, which was broadly driven by bargain hunting in stocks that had previously declined, sentiment weakened as indicated by the market breadth. Hence, market watchers at Afrinvest Research believe that “this positive close may be short-lived.”