By Charles Abuede
- Market analysts expect to see slight profit-taking at the start of trading this week
However, they predict market performance will be dictated by earnings results which companies are now churning out
Increased bargain hunting across top counters was witnessed in the course of trading last week, as investors positioned across fundamentally sound counters in anticipation for the full-year corporate earnings releases. The domestic equities market reversed the previous week’s bearish sentiment, posting a positive performance following gains on all trading sessions. Accordingly, the NSE All-Share Index rose 3.4 per cent from last week to settle at 42,412.66 points on the back of buying interest in Airtel Africa (+9.2%), MTN Nigeria (+6.5%) and Lafarge Plc (+15.4%). Similarly, the weekly market year to date return improved to 5.3 per cent while market capitalisation advanced N737.9 billion from the previous week to close at N22.2 trillion.
Also, at the close of trading last week, the numbers showed that market activity level strengthened from the prior week as average volume and value rose 20.6 per cent and 14.4 per cent to 514.0 million units and N5.6 billion respectively. The top traded stocks by volume were Transnational Corporation (228.3m units), Zenith Bank (117.3m units) and UBA (97.2m units), while Airtel Africa (N3.2bn), Zenith Bank (N3.1bn) and GTBank (N2.2bn) led by value.
A bullish market performance was recorded across several sectors as 5 of 6 indices trended northward from the preceding week. Due to buying interests which were witnessed in Airtel Africa (+9.2%), MTN Nigeria (+6.5%), GTBank (+4.2%) and Zenith Bank (+2.6%), the Africa ICT and banking indices grew by 7.8 per cent and 3.3 per cent apiece. The index was followed by the insurance and industrial goods indices which rose 1.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively on account of gains in Aiico Insurance (+7.7%), AXA Mansard (+9.4%) and Lafarge Plc (WAPCO) (+15.4%). Similarly, investors seized an opportunity to take a position in Flour Mill (+8.4%), Dangote Sugar (+5.2%) and Nigerian Breweries (+3.3%), resulting in an increase of 1.3 per cent in the consumer goods index. On the other hand, the oil & gas index was the lone straggler as it went down 7.2 per cent due to sell-offs in Seplat Petroleum (-9.3%), Mobil Plc (11 Plc) (-8.6%) and Ardova Plc (-7.1%).
At the breadth of the market, investor sentiments as measured by market breadth lost strength to 1.4x from 1.9x as 40 stocks progressed against 29 that regressed. However, the top-performing stocks from the previous week were Champion Breweries (+59.5%), Fidson Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals (+30.1%) and May & Baker Limited (+27.4%) while Sovereign Insurance (-21.2%), Academy Press Plc (-17.5%) and Niger Insurance (-14.8%) were the laggards.
Meanwhile, at the close of trading activities last week, the NSE 30 Index increased by 0.52 per cent to close at 1,720.95 points as against 1,712.06 points on the previous day. Market turnover closed with a traded volume of 341.37 million units. MTN Nigeria and FCMB were the key gainers, while Stanbic IBTC and Fidelity were the key losers.