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Zenith, UBA, others slide, equities shed N30bn

Out of the five major indices of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the banking index led losses at the close of trading on Thursday, as Zenith Bank Plc and United Bank Plc shares declined respectively by 1.9 per cent and one per cent.

Overall, the banking index shed 0.3 per cent followed by the industrial goods index, which depreciated by 0.5 per cent, as the NSE market capitalisation dropped by N30bn to close at N12.823tn from N12.853tn.

The Nigerian bourse bucked a two-day consecutive gain as the All-Share Index fell 24 basis points to close at 37,051.54 points while the year-to-date return moderated to 37.9 per cent.

However, activity level was mixed as volume fell by 9.2 per cent to close at 175.8 million units while value traded rose by 94.9 per cent to settle at N3.5bn

Sector performance stayed mixed as three of five indices under our coverage closed in the green, while two trended southwards.

The oil/gas index appreciated the most, up by 1.2 per cent on account of gains in Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc and Forte Plc, which appreciated by 7.8 per cent and five per cent, respectively.

The insurance index trailed, gaining 0.3 per cent due to price appreciation in Continental Reinsurance Plc, which appreciated by 4.4 per cent.

Similarly, an uptick in International Breweries Plc by 8.4 per cent pushed the consumer goods index to close 0.1 per cent higher.

Investor sentiment stayed flat as market breadth closed at 0.9 relative to 0.9 recorded in the previous session.

Leading the gainers’ chart were Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, which gained 9.5 per cent, and International Breweries as well as Mobil, while Law Union and Rocks Insurance Plc. NPF Microfinance Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc led the laggards’ list.

“While we attribute Thursday’s performance to profit taking in Dangote Cement, the relatively unchanged market breadth suggests investors are still sourcing for bargains. Accordingly, we expect a positive close for the week,” analysts at Afrinvest Securities said in a post.

Meanwhile, for the fixed income side of the financial market, the open buy-back and overnight rates declined by 13.66 per cent and 14.5 per cent, respectively, at the close of trades. Consequently, the average money market rate shed 14.08 per cent to settle at 7.50 per cent.

Bullish sentiments remained prevalent in the secondary market for Treasury bills as the average T-bills yield continued on a downward trajectory to close at 18.05 per cent after shedding 0.25 per cent in the day. Yield declines were recorded on all but the nine-month instrument which advanced by 0.06 per cent.

The Treasury bonds market remained bearish as the average bond yield advanced further by 0.003 per cent to close at 15.243 per cent. At the close of trades, six tenors advanced while only three tenors declined and all others traded flat.

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