Nigerian stocks traded lower Thursday as sustained profit taking pare gains of previous trading session by 0.83 percent.
The continued climb of oil prices and the passing of the 2018 budget, which analysts thought would boost market confidence, could not stop investors taking profit on stocks that had previously appreciated.
Thus the temporary recovery in Wednesday session after a substantial fall on speculators buying in order to cover their positions was revised with the NSE All Share Index (ASI) falling to 40,651.41 points bringing month-to-date and year-to-date returns to -1.43 percent and 6.36 percent respectively.
Consequently, market capitalization lost N123.7 billion to settle at N14.7 trillion.
However, activity level strengthened as volume and value traded rose 63.5 percent and 73.4 percent to 424.4 million units and N7.6 billion respectively.
The top traded stocks by volume were ZENITH (170.6m), ACCESS (44.2m) and FCMB (25.9m), while the top traded stocks by value were ZENITH (N4.7bn), NESTLE (N806.7m) and ACCESS (N486.3m).
Performance across sectors was largely bearish as four of five indices closed in the red. The oil & gas index closed positive, up 1bp, following gains in FORTE (+0.1%), which offset selloffs in SEPLAT (-2.0%).
On the flip side, the industrial goods index, the day’s largest decliner, lost 1.6 percent on account of profit taking in DANGCEM (-0.8%) and WAPCO (-2.4%). In the same vein, the consumer goods and banking indices followed, shedding 1.1 percent and 0.4 percent respectively on the back of sell pressures in NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-3.5%), UBA (-3.1%) and ACCESS (-0.9%) while the Insurance index fell 4bps due to investors exiting EQUITYASUR (-3.7%) and NEM (-0.8%).
Investor sentiment, measured by market breadth (advance/decline ratio), improved to 0.7x from 0.5x recorded previously as 18 stocks advanced while 27 stocks declined. The top gainers for today were SOVRENINS (+9.1%), CUSTODIAN (+5.0%) and OANDO (+4.9%) while CCNN (-5.3%), STERLING (-4.9%) and AFRINSURE (-4.8%) led laggards.
In spite of the day’s negative performance, market analysts say they expect to see investors take position in some relatively undervalued mid and small cap stocks in Friday’s trading session.