Equities Open the Month on a Bearish Note

The downtrend in the equities market was sustained on Wednesday as the All Share Index (ASI) further slid 0.6% to close at 25,183.10 points while YTD performance fell to -6.3%. In the same vein, market capitalisation declined N50.5bn to settle at N8.7tn. Losses in ZENITH (-4.8%), GUINNESS (-5.0%) and NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-1.8%) were the major drags to market performance today. Activity level also weakened as total volume and value traded fell 48.7% and 34.5% to 228.0m units and N2.4bn respectively.

Oil & Gas Index Leads Gainers
In line with benchmark index performance, sentiment across sector indices was largely bearish. The Oil & Gas index rose 1.0% on account of gains in SEPLAT (+3.1%) while the Insurance index marginally rose 1bp. On the flipside, the Consumer Goods index declined the most, losing 1.3% following sell-offs in GUINNESS (-4.5%) and NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-1.7%). The Banking index followed suit, down 1.2% on the back of the rout of ZENITH (-4.8%). The Industrial Goods index closed flat for the third consecutive trading session.

Sentiment Worsens
Investor sentiment was dampened today as indicated by market breadth (advancers/decliners ratio) which fell from 1.3x to 0.4x – 8 stocks advanced against 19 declining stocks. The top gaining stocks today were VITAFOAM (+4.7%), NPFMCRFBK (+4.5%) and SEPLAT (+3.1%) while CADBURY (-8.8%), GUINNESS (-5.0%) and FCMB (-4.9%) declined the most. Given that positive earnings results from bellwether Banking and Industrial Goods equities are yet to lift market sentiment, we remain bearish on shorter term equities market performance.

NASD OTC Exchange Market Activities
In the NASD OTC exchange, the total volume of trades settled 650 units while total value stood at N22,100.0. The only traded stocks today were FRIESLAND WAMCO and AFRILAND.