By Charles Abuede
The local equities market sustained its upbeat on Wednesday, helped by buying sentiments on large-cap stocks which drove the market northward due to buying interest in Wapco Plc (+3.5%), Zenith Bank (+1.2%) and GTBank (+1.0%). As a result, the benchmark index rose 14 basis points to 40,221.30 points, as the market year to date loss improved to -0.1 per cent and market capitalisation rose N29.5 billion to N21.0 trillion.
In a similar manner, trading activity improved as volume and value advanced 38.9 per cent and 84.2 per cent to 469.6 million units and N7.1 billion respectively. The most traded stocks by volume were Zenith Bank (154.6 million units), GTBank (48.8 million units) and First Bank Holding (25.3 million units) while Zenith Bank (N4.1 billion), GTBank (N1.5 billion) and First Bank Holding (N185.6 million) led by value.
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Furthermore, the performance across sectors was uneven as 3 of the 6 indices closed southward with the insurance index leading the laggards, down 1.9 per cent due to sell-offs in Wapic Insurance (-6.9%), Cornerstone Insurance (-7.8%) and AXA Mansard (-1.8%). In the same manner, the consumer goods and ICT indices closed lower at 0.3 per cent and 3 basis points respectively following price depreciation in Flour Mill Plc (-6.9%) and MTN Nigeria (-0.1%).
On the contrary, the banking and oil & gas indices rose 0.8 per cent apiece due to buying interest in Zenith Bank (+1.2%), GTBank (+1.0%), Oando Plc (+10.0%) and Japaul Gold (+9.2%) and finally, the Industrial goods index inched higher by 0.2 per cent on the back of gains in Wapco Plc (+3.5%).
Also, the level of investor sentiment as measured by market breadth strengthened to 1.0x from the 0.7x recorded previously as 19 stocks advanced against 20 losers. Oando plc (+10.0%), ABC Transport (+9.4%) and Royal Exchange (+8.7%) were the top gainers while Lasaco Assurance (-9.5%), Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc (-8.3%) and Cornerstone Insurance (-7.8%) were the top losers.
The NSE 30 Index rose by 0.22 per cent to close at 1,614.97 points as against 1,611.43 points on the previous day. Market turnover closed with a traded volume of 296.67 million units. Lafarge Africa and Access Bank were the key gainers, while Flour Mills and Ecobank were the key losers.
In the foreign exchange market on Wednesday, the Naira maintained value at N480 to the US dollar in the parallel FX market while at the I&EW, the Naira was relatively steady at N408.80 per dollar from its previous close of N408.60. Most participants maintained bids of between N388.75 and N429.75 per dollar.
Treasury Bills Market
The NT-bills market remained flat for a second consecutive session, keeping the average yields at 1.5 per cent, as investors focused on the Primary Market Auction (PMA). Thus, average yields across short-term, medium-term, and long-term maturities remained unchanged at 0.57 per cent, 1.34 per cent, and 2.00 per cent, respectively.
Elsewhere, the OMO market traded bullish following buying interests across the tickers. Yields decreased by 8 basis points to average 6.1 per cent from 6.2 per cent in the previous session. Buying interest was seen across short-term, medium-term, and long-term maturities with the average yields falling by 39 basis points, 18 basis points, and 10 basis points, respectively. Yields on 12 bills declined with the 30-Mar-21 maturity bill registering the highest yield decrease of 124 basis points, while yields on 9 bills remained unchanged.
The Bond market
Also, in the bonds market, the market closed on a positive note midweek, as the average bond yield across the curve cleared lower by 35 bps to close at 4.97 per cent from 5.32 per cent on the previous day. Average yields across short tenor, medium tenor, and long tenor of the curve declined by 41 basis points, 19 basis points, and 11 basis points, respectively. The 23-MAR-2025 maturity bond was the best performer with a decline in yield of 203 basis points, while the 17-MAR-2027 maturity bond was the worst performer with an increase in yield of 15 basis points. The secondary bond market could witness higher demand later in the week as investors may seek to fill unmet bids from the primary market.