By Nkiruka Nnorom
The equities market started the first day of trading in the year (2021) on a very strong note with investors recording N458 billion gains.
This came after closing 2020 with record 50.02 percent returns despite various challenges in the year.
Equity analysts have also indicated that the stock market would open the first week bullish following anticipated release of positive full year financial statement by quoted companies coupled with the low yield in the fixed income market.
Specifically, the benchmark All Share Index (ASI) soared by 2.18 percent to close at 41,147.39 points from 40,270.72 points on Thursday, December 31, 2020.
The surge was driven mainly by BUA Cement which was up by 9.9 percent, FBN Holdings Plc (9.8%) and Lafarge Africa by 9.0 percent.
Also gains in other tier-1 banking stocks including, Access bank Plc (4.4%), Zenith Bank Plc (3.36%), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (3.55%), and United Bank for Africa (2.31%) helped buoy the index.
The equities market capitalisation advanced by the same margin to close at N21.515 trillion from N21.056 trillion on the last trading day in 2020.
Performance across sectors was broadly positive with the industrial goods sector leading transactions with 4.7 percent, followed by the insurance sector with 4.4 percent.
The banking sector advanced by 3.7 percent, while the consumer goods and the oil and gas sectors recorded marginal gains at 1.4 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.
Investment experts have predicted that sentiment for stocks this year would depend on the direction of monetary policy, particularly in relation to the yield environment.
According to analysts at United Capital Plc, the market would likely sustain the rally in quarter one (Q1) 2021, driven chiefly by domestic investors’ interest.
They stated that domestic investors’ interest in equities would be fueled by dividend expectations, but projected a short-term bear market from Q2 to Q3-2021 in the absence of foreign portfolio investor inflows.