By Nkiruka Nnorom

The equities market recorded another huge sell-off today following the announcement, Friday, of first coronavirus case in Nigeria with investors losing N219 billion at the close of trading.

This brought the cumulative losses for two consecutive days (Friday, February 28, 2020 and March 2, 2020) to N517 billion.

Securities dealers had said that the outcome of trading this week would depend on the speed and seriousness or otherwise demonstrated by the government in ensuring that all the contacts of the coronavirus patient are tracked and quarantined in good time.

“A lot will depend on how the government responds to the problem; particularly, people are looking to see whether they can trace all the contacts of the Covid-19 patient and possibly quarantine them just like they did during the Ebola era.

“If the government does not do that, people will keep worrying, especially in the face of the dense population of Lagos State and the market will panic more, though it might not be as drastic as the level of sell-off on Friday.

“Government must be more serious by tracing his contacts,” said Johnson Chukwu, Managing Director/CEO, Cowry Asset Management.

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Analysis of the day’s trading shows that the benchmark index – the All Share Index (ASI) plummeted by -1.53 percent to 25,816.57 points, following investors’ sell-off of consumer goods and banking stocks.

Similarly, the market capitalisation of all listed equities went down to N13.449 trillion from N13.668 trillion, indicating 1.6 percent decline.

On sector performance, losses in the consumer goods (-5.19%), banking (-3.66%), industrial goods (-1.22%), and oil and gas (-0.35%) sectors masked the gain recorded in the insurance sector, which rose by 0.30 percent.

Market sentiment, as measured by market breadth, was negative as nine gainers versus 28 losers were recorded during the day.

Lafarge Africa Plc and PZ Cusson Nigeria Plc led the laggards, depreciating by 10 percent each, while Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc and Aiico Insurance Plc led the gainers with 10 percent and 7.79 percent gains respectively.



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