By Peter Egwuatu
Trading of equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE was generally bearish on the first trading day of 2019 as the market posted a weak performance following sell-offs in Dangote Cement Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Access Bank Plc.
Specifically, the sell offs in Dangote Cement (-1.9 percent), Nigerian Breweries (-8.42 percent) and Access Bank (-4.4 percent) pulled the NSE All Share Index (ASI) lower by 1.1 percent to wrap up at 31,070.06 points while Year to Date, YtD loss stood at -18.8 percent and market capitalisation shed N134.4billion to close at N11.6 trillion .
However, on Wednesday, trading activity level dropped as volume and value traded considerably fell by 76.9 percent and 60.5 percent to 214.4million units and N1.6billion respectively.
The top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank (50.7million units), Zenith Bank (36.4million units) and Sovereign Insurance (32.9million units) while Zenith Bank (N413.6m), Dangote Cement (N596.5million) and Guaranty Trust Bank (N181.1million) were the top traded stocks by value.
In tandem with the global market, performance was mostly negative across sectors. The Banking Index was the lone gainer, up 0.1 percent following buying interest in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated , ETI (+2.1 percent) and UBA (+1.3 percent).
The Consumer Goods Index fell the most by 2.3 percent as investors sold off Nigerian Breweries and and Nestle leading to a loss of -8.42 percent -0.7 percent respectively. Other sectors , such as Insurance, Industrial Goods and Oil & Gas – lost 1.3 percent , 1.2 percent and 0.7 percent respectively, were dragged by losses in NEM Insurance (-5.2 percent), WAPIC (-4.8 percent ), Dangote Cement (-1.9 percent), WAPCO (-3.6 percent), Forte Oil (-2.4 percent) and Oando (-4.0 percent).
Meanwhile, investor sentiment as measured by market breadth weakened as 21 declining stocks outmatched 18 gainers. The best performing stocks for the day were Julius Berger gaining (+10.0 percent, VITAFOAM +9.5 percent and Royal Exchange +9.1 percent while Nigerian Breweries (-8.4 percent), Law Union (-8.3 percent) and Honeywell Flourmills (-7.8 percent ) performed the worst.
Analysts at Afrinvest Research stated: “As bargain hunting opportunities avail, we expect investors to take positions in market bellwethers and stocks with strong fundamentals and as such expect a considerable improvement on market performance for the rest of the week.”