Benchmark Index Down amidst Broad Selloff in Equities

As the festive season draws to a close, the equities market recorded a 1.6% decline at the end of trading today to buck a 3-day gaining streak; thus, paring the benchmark index YTD return to 41.0%. Investors in turn lost N225.1bn in value as market capitalization settled at N13.5tn. DANGCEM (-3.9%) was the major drag to performance today, although selling pressures were also observed in large-cap stocks within the Consumer Goods, Banking and Agriculture sectors. However, activity level waxed stronger as volume and value rose 103.9% and 37.9% to N416.9bn and N2.1bn respectively.

Sector Performance Mixed
Sector Performance was mixed as 3 of 5 indices closed in the red. The Industrial Goods index led the losers chart, plunging 2.6% on account of sell-offs in DANGCEM (-3.9%) while the Consumer Goods index trailed, closing 1.2% lower, following price depreciation in NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-4.3%). Similarly, the Banking index lost 0.3% - pressured by ETI (-2.8%) and UBA (-0.8%). On the flipside, the Insurance index closed 1.0% higher as investors positioned in NEM (+4.0%) and MANSARD (+0.5%) while the Oil & Gas index gained 0.5%, solely on account of MOBIL (+4.9%).

Investor Sentiment Weakens
Investor sentiment weakened today as indicated by market breadth which retreated to 0.6x (from 4.0x recorded the previous Friday) as 14 stocks gained while 23 declined. CADBURY (+9.9%), MOBIL (+4.9%) and FIDELITY (+4.6%) topped the gainers chart while OKOMU (-5.0%), PRESCO (-4.9%) and NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-4.3) led losers. Given the significant rise in oil prices in recent times and the broadly bullish outlook for commodity prices for 2018, we maintain our positive short- to medium-term perspective for equities.