Nigerian equities took a major dip on Thursday as renewed selloffs at the stock market cost a N370 billion net loss.
Investors scurried to monetise capital gains and rebalance their portfolios after major announcements on increased spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and introduction of containment measures.
The market had rallied a net capital gain of N128 billion the previous day in intense bargain-hunting for value and growth stocks.
The four new COVID-19 cases announced on Thursday in Lagos heightened the urgency and potential impact.
Market analysts agreed the selloffs were in response to heightened anxiety over the short to mid-term impact of the Covid-19 on the capital market.
Benchmark indices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) indicated average decline of 3.12 per cent yesterday, equivalent to net capital depreciation of N370 billion.
The aggregate market value of all quoted equities at the Exchange declined from its opening value of N11.876 trillion to close at N11.506 trillion.
The All Share Index (ASI) – the main value-based index that tracks share prices at the NSE, dropped from its opening index of 22,789.64 points to close at 22,078.58 points. This depressed the average year-to-date return to -17.8 per cent.
“We expect the bearish trend to persist given the current global pandemic. However, we note that there are opportunities for bargain hunting,” Afrinvest Securities stated in a post-trading review.
Most sectoral indices also closed negative, underlining the widespread buyers’ market that saw nearly two-thirds of transactions closing at lower prices.
The NSE Banking Index dropped by 7.8 per cent. The NSE Industrial Goods Index declined by 1.5 per cent while the NSE Consumer Goods Index dipped by 1.0 per cent. On the positive side, the NSE Insurance Index rose by 0.9 per cent while the NSE Oil and Gas Index inched up by 0.6 per cent.
There were 22 decliners to 13 advancers. Nestle Nigeria led the decliners with a loss of N30 to close at N850. MTN Communications Nigeria followed with a drop of N5 to close at N99.50. Dangote Cement declined by N4.40 to close at N129. Zenith Bank lost N1.35 to close at N12.15. Lafarge Africa declined by 70 kobo to close at N10.10 while United Bank for Africa and Access Bank lost 35 kobo each to close at N5 and N5.70 respectively.
The total turnover dropped by 21.7 per cent to 525.85 million shares valued at N4.74 billion in 5,450 deals. Banking stocks dominated activities’ chart with Zenith Bank leading with a turnover of 118.45 million shares worth N1.47 billion. Wapic Insurance followed with a turnover of 102.44 million shares valued at N22.48 million while Guaranty Trust Bank placed third with 100.71 million shares worth N1.83 billion.
On the positive side, Africa Prudential led the advancers with a gain of 32 kobo to close at N3.55. International Breweries followed with a gain of 25 kobo to close at N5.50.
Dangote Sugar Refinery also added 15 kobo to close at N10 while Sterling Bank appreciated by 9.0 kobo to close at N1.08 per share.