The Nigerian equity market, which became the best-performing exchange in January after racking up N1.130 trillion in capital gain, closed February N1.363 trillion weaker in a steep reversal of fortune that saw the benchmark index taper by 5.25 per cent.
February has been turbulent for investment as the exchange confronted headwinds from internal vulnerabilities like profit-taking, market correction as well as pressure from less-than-impressive earnings reports.
And the external shocks from the allure of high yields on fixed-income assets that prompted investors to divert proceeds of share sale elsewhere complicated the free fall in equity value.
Investors, deal-makers and brokers will approach March with cautious optimism on account of the current downturn and a 14 per cent slide in the 2020 profit of Nigeria’s biggest food and consumer goods company, Nestle, as its financials showed on Friday. The consumer goods index is down 1.66 per cent this year already.
All the key market performance indicators eased. Market breadth was negative, showing 19 gainers against 44 laggards. The all-share index and market capitalisation simultaneously dropped by 0.96 per cent. While the former closed at 39,799.89 points, the latter did so at N20.823 trillion.
Trade volume of 1.930 billion shares worth N20.656 billion was recorded in 24,687 deals relative to the 1.541 billion shares valued at N18.235 billion posted in 22,752 deals last week.
The Financial Services sector led the activity chart, with 1.450 billion shares worth N15.070 billion traded in 14,236 deals. It added 75.11 per cent and 72.96 per cent to the total equity volume and value respectively.
The conglomerates industry followed, trading 154.906 million shares worth N179.673 million in 798 transactions. The consumer goods sector was third, trading 111.782 million shares priced at N2.270 billion in 3,865 deals.
As regards index movement, all indices fell save for the NSE Banking, NSE AFR Div Yield, NSE MERI Growth and NSE Oil/Gas, which advanced by 0.69 per cent, 1.34 per cent, 0.66 per cent and 0.97 per cent respectively. The NSE ASeM and NSE growth indices saw no movement.
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