By Charles Abuede
Trading activities on the Nigerian bourse closed on a further positive note midweek as bargain hunting in MTN Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries and Zenith Bank stocks drove the domestic bourse benchmark index up by 0.50 per cent as investors and fund managers continue to take advantage of underpriced stocks in a bid to rebalance their portfolios.
The benchmark index rose 50 basis points to 25,783.02 points following buying interest in MTN Nigeria (+0.7%), Nigerian Breweries (+3.6%) and Zenith Bank (+1.8%). As a result, the year to date (YTD) return performance improved to -3.9 per cent, while market capitalisation increased by N67 billion to reach N13.5 trillion.
At the trading session midweek, the activity level rose as volume and value traded advanced 58.1 per cent and 42.7 per cent respectively to 414.2 million units and N6.3 billion. The most traded stocks by volume were Sterling Bank, which traded 85.2 million units; First Bank Holdings, which traded 82.7 million units; and Access Bank, which traded 58.2 million units, while in terms of value of traded equities, MTN Nigeria, saw the valued of its traded stocks at N3.1 billion, followed by Guaranty Trust Bank, which posted N489.4 million; and then Zenith Bank, which had N480.2 million as the value of its traded equities on the day.
Positive sector performance
Sector performance was equally impressive as all indices gained. The oil & gas index led the pack, up 2.0 per cent following price appreciation in Seplat Petroleum (+3.9%) and Mobil Oil (+0.3%). Trailing, the consumer goods and insurance indices appreciated 1.4 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively due to gains in Nigerian Breweries (+3.6%), International Breweries (+9.1%), Cornerstone Insurance (+8.3%) and Prestige Assurance (+9.1%).
Similarly, buying interest in Zenith Bank (+1.8%), Guaranty Trust Bank (+0.4%) and MTN Nigeria (+0.7%) buoyed performance in the banking (0.7%) and AFR-ICT indices (0.4%). Price accretion in Wapco plc (+1.5%) also pulled the industrial goods index 0.1 per cent higher.
Investor sentiment strengthens
Investor sentiment as measured by market breadth (advance/decline ratio) improved to 1.5x from the 0.5x recorded previously as 21 stocks gained against the 14 that lost. The top gainers were Prestige Assurance (+9.1%), International Breweries (+9.1%) and Cornerstone Insurance (+8.3%) while ABC Transport (-9.1%), Royal Express (-6.9%) and Eterna Oil (-6.7%) lost the most.
NSE 30 index recorded an increase
Meanwhile, the NSE 30 Index increased by 0.57 percent to close at 1,095.08 points as against 1,088.87 points as on the previous day. Market turnover closed with traded volume of 375.42 million units. International Breweries and Seplat were the key gainers, while Custodian and Sterling were key losers.