Bulls Resurface on End of Month and Quarter Activities

The All Share Index on Thursday retreated after two days of consecutive decline, recouping 0.6% to close at 25,306.22 due to end of month and quarter activities by portfolio managers. However, activity weakened as volume and value traded decreased 47.6% and 9.3% to close at 264.0m units and N1.9bn respectively. Market capitalization however rose N55.4bn to settle at N8.7tn. Today’s market performance was broadly facilitated by profit taking activities by investors in WAPCO (-2.5%), ZENITH (1.9%), SEPLAT (-3.2%) and GUARANTY (-1.2%).
Banking Index Lone Laggard
The Industrial and Consumer Goods indices inched  higher by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively on the back of bargain hunting in DANGCEM (+2.3%), JULIUS BERGER (+8.0%), INTBREW (+7.8%) and DANGSUGAR (+2.7%). The Oil & Gas index continued its weak long impressive performance, gaining 0.2% as a result of price appreciation in TOTAL (+5.0%), OANDO (+4.8%) and MOBIL (3.8%). The Insurance index also appreciated 0.4% owing to bargain hunting in AFRIPRUD (+6.6%) and CONTINSURE (+3.5%). The Banking index declined (a YTD high) 6.5% as profit taking in ZENITH (-1.9%), GUARANTY (-1.2%), UBA (-2.8%) DIAMOND (-2.5%) persisted.
Renewed Investors Sentiment
Contrary to the previous two trading sessions of the week, the market sentiments turned positive today. Market breadth (advancers’/decliners’ ratio) closed at 1.3x on the back of 23 advancing stocks against 18 declining stocks. Leading the gainers were JULIUS BERGER (+8.0%), INTBREW (+7.8%) and AFRIPRUD (6.6%) while OKOMUOIL (-5.0%), UCAP (-4.7%) and TIGERBRANDS (-4.5%) topped the losers list. We observed renewed positive sentiments as the first quarter of the year comes to a close and investors rebalance and reposition their positions against the new month and the new quarter. We expect the broader index to pare WTD loss in the session ahead on bargain hunting as prices remain attractive while sentiment appears to be improving. Nevertheless, we advise investors to stick to value-investing strategy as the earnings season draws to a close.