Sustained Profit-Taking Drags Equities Performance

The Equities market closed negative on Wednesday as the All Share Index (ASI) lost 46bps to settle at 26,495.04 points while YTD loss worsened to -1.4%. Consequently, investors lost N41.9bn as market capitalization settled at N9.1tn. The negative close can be attributed to sustained profit-taking in banking stocks - GUARANTY (-4.6%) and ETI (-2.4%) – and weaker appetite for WAPCO (-2.3%). Activity level was also thin as volume and value traded fell 41.7% and 36.5% to close at 62.1m units and N785.3m respectively.

All Sector Indices Close in the Red
Sector performance was bearish as all indices trended southward. The Banking index emerged the worst performing index, down 1.6% on account of declines in GUARANTY (-4.6%) and ETI (-2.4%). The Industrial Goods index trailed, losing 1.0% due to losses in CCNN (-4.2%) and WAPCO (-2.3%) while the Insurance index declined 0.6% - pressured by CONTINSURE (-3.0%) and NEM (-2.9%). Similarly, the Oil & Gas index shed 46bps as investors sold-off on OANDO (-3.8%) and FORTE (-0.7%) while the Consumer Goods index closed the day flattish.

Sentiment Remains Weak
Investor sentiment remained soft today as measured by market breadth which stood at 0.8x (14 advancing stocks against 17 decliners) relative to 0.7x in the previous session. The best performing stocks were VITAFOAM (+5.0%), LIVESTOCK (+4.8%) and UAC-PROP (+4.7%) while ASHAKACEM (-4.9%), GUARANTY (-4.6%) and DIAMOND (-4.4%) were the worst performers. The bearish sentiment since the turn of the year is in line with projection and seasonal trend, as we had expected portfolio managers to underweight equities as part of 2017 investment strategy. Given the bearish sentiment in the market and with little fundamental drivers to support performance, we expect the Benchmark index to continue to post losses until bargain opportunities surface.