Bargain Hunting Pushes Benchmark index Higher

The negative trend in the equities market was reversed on Wednesday as the All Share Index (ASI) gained a marginal 8bps to close at 27,120.39 points, thus trimming YTD loss slightly to 5.3%. Consequently, market capitalisation improved N7.5bn to close at N9.3tn. Today’s performance was mainly driven by gains in UNILEVER (+4.6%), NIGERIAN BREWERIES (+0.3%), DANGSUGAR (+4.5%) and ZENITH (+0.7%). Also, activity level improved as volume and value traded rose 42.3% and 41.3% to settle at 160.0m units and N1.7bn respectively.

Mixed Performance across Sectors
Performance across sectors was mixed as 3 sectors advanced while 2 declined. The Consumer Goods index gained 0.5% on the back of buying interest in UNILEVER (+4.6%) and DANGSUGAR (+4.5%). Similarly, the Banking index appreciated 14bps following gains in UBA (+1.7%) and ZENITH (+0.7%) while the Industrial Goods index added 4bps as BETAGLASS (+1.6%) closed positive. Contrarily, the Oil & Gas index retreated to the negative region (-0.7%) against the backdrop of sell-offs in FORTE (-2.9%) while LAWUNION (-4.3%) and AIICO (-3.4%) ensured the Insurance index (-0.6%) closed lower.

Market Breadth Improves
Investor sentiment improved today as market breadth settled at 1.0x (from 0.4x yesterday) after 17 stocks advanced while 17 also declined. The best performing stocks today were ETRANZACT (+10.1%), LEARNAFRCA (+4.9%) and UNILEVER (+4.6%) while UACN (-5.0%) JBERGER (-5.0%) and CAPHOTEL (-4.9%) declined the most.  We are of the view that today’s market performance is attributable to bargain hunting as investors took advantage of attractive prices in the consumer goods sector. We expect earnings releases - prominently DANGCEM report scheduled for release tomorrow - to determine market movement in subsequent sessions.