Stock Market Sustains Uptrend Ahead of Year End

The local equities market sustained its uptrend at the close of trade on Thursday on account of improved buying interest in Banking Sector bellwethers - GUARANTY (+5.8%) and ZENITH (+1.4%) – as well as SEPLAT (+2.6%). The All Share Index rose 35bps to settle at 26,782.93 points whilst YTD loss also trimmed to -6.5%. Consequently, investors gained N32.6bn as market capitalization closed at N9.2tn. However, market activity softened as volume and value traded waned 10.5% and 29.6% to settle at 116.8m units and N877.2m respectively with a total of 2,392 deals.

Banking Index Leads Gainers as Bellwethers’ Rally
Similar to the performance of the broader index, sector performance was largely bullish with the Oil & Gas index (-0.5%) recording the only decline as sell pressure in FORTE (-9.5%) and OANDO (-0.9%) weighed on the index performance to offset gains in SEPLAT (+2.6%). On the other hand, the Banking (+2.2%) and Insurance (+1.8%) indices trended northward owing to uptrend in GUARANTY (+5.8%), ZENITH (+1.4%), UBN (+3.7%), AIICO (+6.8%), NEM (+4.2%) and LAWUNION (+8.8%). Similarly, the Consumer Goods index rose 7bps on the back of positive sentiment towards DANGFLOUR (+4.6%) and PZ (+1.8%) whilst the Industrial Good index closed flat.

Investor Sentiment Remains Positive, albeit Flagging
Investor sentiment weakened but remained positive today as market breadth (advancers/decliners ratio) waned to 1.2x (from 1.6x yesterday) subsequent on 24 advancers against 20 decliners. Top gainers were NAHCO (+9.0%), LAWUNION (+8.8%) and AIIICO (+6.8%) while FORTE (-9.7%), UNITYBNK (-5.0%) and CHAMPION (-4.8%) were the top losers. As we remarked yesterday, the bullish run on the Bourse has been largely dictated by end of year portfolio rebalancing by institutional investors. We expect this bullish sentiment to persist in tomorrow’s trading session as the market closes for the year.