The nation’s stock market closed on a positive note on Thursday for the first time this year as it posted slight gains at the end of trading.
The All-Share Index rose by 0.62 per cent to close at 29,517.80 basis points.
The market capitalisation of equities listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange increased from N10.940 trillion on Wednesday to N11.007 trillion on Thursday, while the year-to-date return settled at -6.1 per cent.
Activity level strengthened as a total number of 385.292 million shares valued at N3.068 billion exchanged hands in 3,667 deals, representing a 64.1 per cent and 36.6 per cent increase in volume and value traded.
Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said the market’s performance on Thursday was buoyed by gains in Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Dangote Cement Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
The top traded stocks by volume were Custodian Investment Plc (120.3 million units), Access Bank Plc (60.5 million units) and FBN Holdings Plc (48.9 million units), while the top traded stocks by value were Custodian Investment (N697.6m), Zenith Bank (N515.5m) and FBN Holdings (N347.2 billion).
Performance across sectors was mixed as three of five indices closed in the green.
The banking index recorded the highest gain, advancing by 2.7 per cent on the back of price appreciation in Zenith Bank and Diamond Bank Plc.
Similarly, the industrial goods index appreciated by 2.24 per cent as a result of the gains recorded by Dangote Cement, Lafarge Africa Plc and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc.
The oil and gas index posted a gain of 0.1 per cent on the back of price appreciation in Forte Oil Plc and Eterna Plc.
On the flip side, the insurance index depreciated by 2.05 per cent as major losses in NEM Insurance Plc, Linkage Assurance Plc and Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc dragged it lower.
The consumer goods index dipped by 1.75 per cent, dragged by losses recorded by Nestlé Nigeria Plc and Guinness Nigeria Plc.
Investor sentiment, as measured by market breadth, strengthened to 1.4x from 0.7x on Wednesday as 21 stocks advanced against 15 that declined.
The best-performing stocks were Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Eterna Plc, GTB and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, whose share prices saw respective gains of 10 per cent, 9.86 per cent, 8.86 per cent, 6.07 per cent and 5.93 per cent.
The worst-performing stocks were Guinness Nigeria Plc, NEM Insurance, UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust, Resort Savings and Loans Plc and Linkage Assurance, which saw their respective share prices decline by 10 per cent, 9.95 per cent, 9.85 per cent, 9.76 per cent and 9.72 per cent.
Analysts at Afrinvest said bearish sentiment still clouded the market largely due to polity risks.
“We envision profitable opportunities in short-term trading on bellwethers as they have been the dominant influences of market performance in recent times,” they added.