The equities market opened on a bearish note yesterday with the market capitalisation declining by N72.1 billion to close at N15.88 trillion, while Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index fell by 0.85 per cent to close at 44,261.72.
The market had last week added value as investors increased demand for stocks to take position ahead of earnings season announcement. However, considering the significant capital gains recorded in the first month of the year, some investors are moving to lock in profits, a development that made the market to resume trading on a bearish note yesterday.
But the decline was mostly fuelled by depreciation recorded in the share prices of Dangote Cement, Lafarge Africa, FBN Holdings, Access Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and FBN Holdings Plc.
In all, 34 stocks depreciated, while 26 others appreciated. UNIC Insurance Plc led the price losers with 8.7 per cent, followed by Consolidated Hallmark Insurance with 8.3 per cent, while Skye Bank Plc and LASACO Assurance Plc went down by 5.5 per cent each.
On the positive side, AIICO Insurance Plc led the price gainers with 10 per cent, trailed by Prestige Assurance Plc with 8.3 per cent. Linkage Assurance Plc chalked up 5.8 per cent, just Beta Glass Plc garnered 4.9 per cent.
Volume and value of trading fell by 32.3 per cent and 19.6 per cent respectively to 426.8 million shares and N2.8 billion respectively. The three most actively traded stocks were FCMB (101.49 million shares), Skye Bank (48.34 million shares) and Diamond Bank (31.54 million shares).
In terms of sectoral performance, three depreciated compared with two that appreciated. The NSE Industrial Goods Index led with a decline of 1.3 per cent primarily on the back of price depreciation in Dangote Cement Plc (-2.9 per cent). It was trailed by the NSE Oil & Gas Index that went down by 1.3 per cent due to losses recorded by Forte Oil (-4.9 per cent). Similarly, profit taking in NASCON Allied Industries Plc and Dangote Flour Mills Plc dragged the NSE Consumer Goods Index down by 0.7 per cent.
On the other hand, the NSE Insurance Index led the advancers with 1.6 per cent as buy interest in AIICO Insurance Plc (+10 per cent),and African Prudential Plc (+4.0 per cent) and Linkage Assurance Plc (+5.9%) buoyed performance. The NSE Banking Index equally rose by 1.4 per cent as investors took position in Zenith Bank and GTBank.