The 7-day gaining streak of Nigerian stocks bucked Thursday as the equities market closed negative with investors booking profit on blue-chip stocks.
Consequently, the bourse’s all-share index (ASI) fell 0.1 percent to close at 38,102.85 points while year-to-date return moderated to 41.8 percent, market capitalization decreasing by N14.2 billion to N13.1 trillion.
Thursday’s performance was largely influenced by sell-offs in tier-1 banking stocks, including ZENITH (-2.0%) and GUARANTY (-1.2%), which offset gains in STANBIC (+3.9%), NESTLE (+1.3%) and UNILEVER (+5.0%).
Market activity was mixed as volume traded rose 10.4 percent to 362.7 million units while value traded dipped 8.3% to N5.6 trillion.
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Performance across sectors was broadly bearish as all indices closed in the red save for the consumer goods index, which advanced 0.4 percent on the back of gains in NESTLE (+1.3%), UNILEVER (+5.0%) and GUINNESS (+4.0%).
The oil & gas index led sector losers, dipping 2.3 percent on account of sustained losses in FORTE (-9.7%) and OANDO (-5.0%).
The Banking index followed, down 1.0 percent due to declines in GUARANTY (-1.2%) and ZENITH (-2.0%), while the industrial goods index closed the day flat.
Investor sentiment at the close of trade further waned to 0.7x against 0.9x recorded previously as 20 stocks advanced, while 27 declined.
The best performing stocks for today were UNILEVER (+5.0%), BOCGAS (+4.9%) and CONOIL (+4.4%) while the worst performers were FORTE (-9.7%), OANDO (-5.0%) and NASCON (-5.0%).
According to analysts, the moderation in market breadth suggests profit taking in stocks that had witnessed continuous appreciation in previous trading sessions. They, however, envisage the market to close the week in the green following yet another stellar half year result from ZENITH.
The Tier-1 bank grew gross earnings by 77.1 percent year-on-year to N380.4 billion while PAT nearly doubled, surging 112.1 percent to N75.3 billion.