Equities Closed Northwards as Oil Prices Surge

The Nigerian equities market reversed losses to settle at 23,598.85pts after gaining 1.1% during trade today. This green close in the benchmark index was consequent on the appreciations in bellwethers across sectors - DANGOTE CEMENT (+1.5%), NIGERIAN BREWERIES (+3.5%) and ZENITH (+5.0%). In the same manner, market capitalization rose N91.3bn to close at N8.1tn. Activity level equally improved today as investors traded 273.1m (+5.0%) units of shares worth N2.0bn (+17.7%).

A Mixed Performance across Sectors
The current attractive prices aroused investor's want for value stocks across most sectors. Consequently, the Banking index improved the most with 3.3% attributable to bargain hunting activities in ZENITH (+5.0%) and GUARANTY +2.7%). Similarly, against appreciations in Industrial blue chips -- DANGOTE CEMENT (+1.5%) and WAPCO (+1.5%) -- the Industrial Goods sector closed 1.4% higher. Majorly against the 3.5% increase recorded in NIGERIAN BREWERIES, the Consumer Goods basket also improved 0.8% at market close today. On the contrary, the Oil & Gas index closed 2.8% down following the 5.0% depreciation in FORTE OIL. The Insurance sector trailed with 1.0%.

Positive Market Sentiment
The Nigerian bourse recorded improved sentiments today as market breadth- ratio of advancers to decliners - turned positive to 2.0x (from 0.5x) after 26 stocks advanced against 13 declining stocks. Top gaining stocks were ACCESS (+9.2%), TIGER BRANDED (+5.9%) and UBA (+5.1%) while UNILEVER (-9.7%), NPFM (-5.0%) and FORTE OIL (-5.0%) were the highest declining stocks. We believe sentiments are currently being driven by bargain hunting and oil price movements, although the broader investor confidence remains weak. However, valuation of stocks in the market remains cheap for long term positioning.