Bulls Retain Hold of the Market

The Nigerian equities market remained upbeat at the end of Wednesday’s trading session as the All Share Index (ASI) rose 7bps to close at 25,301.23 points even as YTD loss remained at -5.9%. Similarly, market capitalization increased N5.7bn to settle at N8.7tn. Today’s marginal uptrend in the Benchmark index was largely as a result of gains in ZENITH (+2.8%), UNILEVER (+4.9%) and STANBIC (+2.8%) which offset the impact of decline in GUARANTY (-0.6%), NESTLE (-0.7%) AND ETI (-2.0%). In the same vein, market activity improved today as volume traded rose 2.6% whilst value traded jumped 133.0%to settle at 233.7m units and N2.2bn respectively in 3,196 deals.

GUINNESS Files for Approval of Its Rights Issue
GUINNESS intends to sell a rights issue of 684,494,631 Ordinary shares of 50k each on the basis of 5 new Ordinary Shares for every 11 existing Ordinary Shares held (5:11). The qualification date for the issue is today March 15th. Performance across sectors was broadly bullish as all sector indices trended northwards save for the Oil & Gas index which dipped 0.9% on the back of depreciation in SEPLAT (-0.3%), FORTE (-4.4%) and OANDO (-2.5%). The Insurance index (+1.0%) led sector gainers today as a result of continuous appreciation in CONTINSURE (+8.1%). Likewise, the Banking index improved 0.1% on the back of bargain hunting in ZENITH (+2.8%) as well as price appreciation in STANBIC (+2.8%) whilst the Industrial goods index closed 7bps higher on account of CCNN (+4.7%) and PORTPAINT (+4.7%). Similarly, the Consumer Goods index closed 0.1% higher as a result of uptrend in UNILEVER (+4.9%) and GUINNESS (+2.9%). GUINNESS Plc submitted an application to the NSE today through its stockbroker (STANBIC IBTC Stockbroking Limited) for approval of its proposed rights issue.

Market Breadth Weakens
Investor sentiment weakened today as highlighted in the market breadth (advancers/decliners ratio) which retreated to 1.1x (from 1.8x yesterday) on account of 19 advancing stocks against 17 declining stocks. The top performers were AFRIPRUD (+8.1%), CONTINSURE (+8.1%) and HONYFLOUR (+5.0%) while NAHCO (-4.8%), NEIMETH (-4.5%) and FORTE (-4.4%) were the worst performers. Despite two consecutive positive close of the All Share Index, the decline in market breadth suggests weakening investor sentiment. Hence, we do not rule out investors booking profit in tomorrow’s trading session.