Nigerian stocks pare gains from previous trade to close lower Thursday as profit talking in market bellwethers dragged benchmark index, NSEASI, down 1.1 percent to settle at 42,843.38 points. Market year-to-date gain thus contracted to 12.0 percent.
Profit taking in DANGCEM (-1.8%), NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-3.6%) and GUARANTY (-2.0%) weighed heavily on market performance as market capitalization fell by N174.8 billion in value to close at N15.4 trillion.
Market activity level also declined as volume and value traded fell 35.0 percent and 54.9 percent to 371.2 million units and N4.9 billion respectively. TRANSCORP (40.4m), ZENITH (40.0m) and GUARANTY (31.0m) were the most traded stocks by volume while GUARANTY (N1.5bn), ZENITH (N1.3bn), and NIGERIAN BREWERIES (N0.3bn) were the top traded stocks by value.
The sectorial performance was mixed as three indices declined while two advanced. The oil & gas index led gainers, rising 1.0 percent primarily due to price appreciation in SEPLAT (+2.2%) and MOBIL (+0.1%). The insurance index trailed up 0.1 percent as NEM (+2.4%) and HMARKINS (+3.9%) recorded gains.
Conversely, the industrial goods index declined 2.2 percent as investors took profit in DANGCEM (-1.8%) and WAPCO (-3.5%). The banking (-1.1%) and consumer Goods (-0.7%) indices also trended southwards, dragged by sell offs in GUARANTY (-2.0%), ZENITH (-1.3%), NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-3.6%) and HONYFLOUR (-1.8%).
Investor sentiment measured by market breadth (advance/decline ratio) softened to 0.7x from 1.4x recorded the previous day as 28 stocks advanced while 31 stocks declined.
JAPAUL OIL (+7.4%), FIRSTALU (+4.7%) and CONTINSURE (+4.4%) were the top advancers while VITAFOAM (-5.0%), FTNCOCOA (-5.0%) and SOVERININ (-4.7%) declined the most.
Analysts say that market volatility on the day was triggered by profit taking in bellwethers that gained in previous trading sessions. They however expect investors to reposition in anticipation of full year 2017 earnings results release.