Nigerian stocks sink further as investors trade cautiously ahead of rate decision


Nigerian stocks fell 0.30 per cent on Thursday, heaping more pressure on a market that has seen three losses earlier this week, and is now at its year-to-date low, as investors continue to have a risk-off disposition at equity investment amid possible worries about what direction the benchmark interest rate might tilt when the central bank meets next week.

The banking industry watchdog held rates at the last two meetings of the monetary policy committee and could move in the way of a rate increase to tame Nigeria’s inflation that had been implacable for nearly two years, until last month when it dropped marginally by 0.05 per cent.

A rate cut often favours borrowing and investment in shares, while an upward adjustment staunches the flow of funds into the market, squeezing liquidity.

Dangote Cement, Nigeria’s most capitalised company, contributed most to the retreat, with Africa Prudential and Unilever also stoking losses significantly.

Market breadth closed in the negative as there were 19 losers, compared to 18 losers. The all-share index slid 116.96 points to close at 38,328.13, while market capitalisation declined to N20.04 trillion at the end of trade.

The index has been down by 4.82 per cent so far this year.

TOP FIVE GAINERS

Trans-Nationwide Express led advancers, appreciating by 9.88 per cent to N0.89. Prestige added up 6.52 per cent to end today’s trade at N0.49. Chams went up by 4.76 per cent to N0.22. Sovereign Trust advanced to N0.27, notching up 3.85 per cent in the process. AIICO completed the top 5, climbing by 3.20 per cent to close at N1.29.

TOP FIVE LOSERS

Sunu Assurance led laggards, declining by 9.62 per cent to N0.47. Nigerian Breweries shed 9.33 per cent to close at N0.68. Regal Insurance fell to N0.34, losing 8.11 per cent. Sterling Bank dipped to N1.56, recording 7.69 per cent depreciation. Linkage Assurance closed at N0.60, going down by 7.69%.

 TOP FIVE TRADES

In all, 733.199 million shares estimated at N10.216 billion were traded today in 6,703 deals.

GTB was the most active stock today with 162.149 million units of its stocks worth N2.996 billion traded in 1,132 deals. 161.144 million units of Zenith Bank shares priced at N1.824 billion exchanged hands in 1,497 transactions. FBN Holdings had 120.089 million shares valued at N477.197 million traded in 579 deals. UBA traded 73.691 million shares estimated at N443.439 million in 560 transactions. Nigerian Breweries traded 27.938 million shares valued at N782.621 million in 76 deals.

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