Equities listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange opened the year on a negative note as investors lost N134.4bn at the close of trading on Wednesday, the first trading day of the year.
The market capitalisation of equities listed on the Exchange dropped from N11.720tn on December 31, 2018, to N11.586tn on January 2, 2019, as 214.410 million shares exchanged hands in 2,856 deals.
The All-Share Index declined by 1.15 per cent as sell-offs in Denotes Cement Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Access Bank Plc pulled it lower to settle at 31,070.06 basis points from the 31,430.50 bps recorded on December 31, 2018.
The year-to-date loss stood at -1.1 per cent while activity level shrank as volume and value traded considerably fell by 76.9 per cent and 60.5 per cent to 214.410 million units and N1.56bn, respectively.
The top traded stocks by volume were Diamond Bank Plc (50.7 million units), Zenith Bank Plc (36.4 million units) and Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc (32.9 million units), while Zenith Bank (N413.6m), Dangote Cement (N596.5m) and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (N181.1m) were the top traded stocks by value.
The bearish sector performance was in line with the overall market performance as most sectors closed in the red.
The banking index was the only gainer, increasing by 0.08 per cent following buying interest in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and United Bank for Africa Plc.
The consumer goods index was the highest loser as it depreciated by 2.30 per cent as investors sold off their shares in Nigerian Breweries and Nestlé Nigeria Plc.
The insurance index lost 1.31 per cent, following price depreciation in NEM Insurance Plc and Wapic Insurance Plc.
The industrial goods index declined by 1.20 per cent on the back of losses recorded by Dangote Cement and Lafarge Africa Plc.
Similarly, the oil and gas index declined by 0.66 per cent as a result of the losses recorded by Forte Oil Plc and Oando Plc.
Investor sentiment weakened to 0.9x from the 1.8x recorded on Monday as 21 declining stocks outmatched 18 gainers.
The top-performing stocks for the day were Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc and Royal Exchange Plc, which recorded price gains of 9.95 per cent, 9.55 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively.
Nigerian Breweries, Law Union and Rock Insurance Plc and Honeywell Flour Mill Plc were the top three losers for the day as their respective share prices declined by 8.4 per cent, 8.3 per cent and 7.8 per cent.
Analysts at Afrinvest Securities Limited said, “As bargain hunting opportunities avail, we expect investors to take positions in market bellwethers and stocks with strong fundamentals, and as such, we expect a considerable improvement on market performance for the rest of the week.”