The stock market extended its positive performance yesterday as gains in bellwether counters pushed the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited All-Share Index (ASI) by 0.5 per cent to close at 38,418,04. Similarly, market capitalisation added N103.2 billion to close at N20.026 trillion. The market, which rebounded last week had opened the week with a marginal gain of 0.02 per cent on Monday.
However, the positive trend was sustained yesterday as investors swooped on interim dividends paying firms such as Seplat Energy Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc. In all, 28 equities appreciated compared with 10 stocks that depreciated.
Market analysts had envisaged a bull market, saying expectations for half-year (H1) earnings seasons would retain the market in the bulls’ territory as investors position for interim dividends.
According to analysts, with the H1- 21 earnings season on the horizon, investors would be looking for clues on the sustainability of the decent corporate earnings released for Q1-21.
“However, we expect mixed market performance in the week ahead as bargain hunting in dividend-paying stocks will be matched by intermittent profit-taking activities. Notwithstanding, we advise investors to take positions in only fundamentally justified stocks as the unimpressive macro story remains a significant headwind for corporate earnings,” analysts had said.
A look at the price gainers’ table showed that May & Baker Nigeria Plc led with 9.6 per cent, trailed by UACN Property Development Company Plc with 9.5 per cent. Total Nigeria Plc, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc and University Press Plc chalked up 9.2 per cent apiece just as Seplat and Berger Paints Nigeria Plc garnered7.1 per cent and 7.0 per cent respectively.
Access Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Custodian Investment Plc and Zenith Bank Plc, which are also known for the payment of interim dividend were among the gainers.
Conversely, Eterna Plc led the price losers with 9.7 per cent, trailed by Linkage Assurance Plc with 9.4 per cent. Unity Bank Plc shed 8.0 per cent, just as Coronation Insurance Plc and Jaiz Bank Plc went down by 5.0 per cent and 1.7 per cent in that order.
Meanwhile, trading activity improved as volume and value traded rose 2.2 per cent and 29.4 per cent respectively to 288.9 million shares and N2.4 billion. The most traded stocks by volume were Fidelity Bank Plc (42.1 million shares), FBN Holdings Plc (32.4 million shares), and UBA (22.7 million shares) while Seplat (N418.5 million), Zenith Bank Plc (N281.0 million), and FBN Holdings Plc(N242.6 million) led by value.