Equities Sustain Losses on Lacklustre Sentiment

At the end of Tuesday’s trading session, the benchmark index weakened 0.3% to close at a month-low of 27,555.31 points, while YTD loss worsened to 3.8%. This performance was broadly driven by sell pressure on SEPLAT (-5.0%), ETI (-2.6%), GUINNESS (-3.9%) and NESTLE (-0.7%). Consequently, market capitalization dipped N27.4bn to settle at N9.5tn. Similar to the previous trading session, activity level was mixed as volume traded slid 39.8% to 154.1m units while value traded advanced 107.8% to N1.6bn.

Oil & Gas index Leads Decliners for Second Session
Similar to the previous trading session, performance across sectors was bearish as all indices closed in the red save for the Industrial Goods index which rose 0.3% on account of bargain hunting in WAPCO (+0.8%). The Oil & Gas index (-1.0%) declined the most on the back of profit-taking in SEPLAT (-5.0%) and OANDO (-0.8%). The Banking index followed as it waned 0.9% on account of losses in ETI (-2.6%) and GUARANTY (-0.6%). Similarly, the Insurance and Consumer Goods indices weakened 0.3% and 0.1% respectively, dragged by negative sentiments in WAPIC (-3.9%), NESTLE (-0.7%) and GUINNESS (-3.9%).

Investor Sentiment Improves but Still in Negative Region
Investor sentiment slightly improved today as reflected in the breadth which settled at 0.5x (13 advancing stocks against 27 decliners) relative to previous market breadth of 0.3x. The best performing stocks today were TOTAL (+5.0%), NEIMETH (+4.9%) and LIVESTOCK (+3.5%) while AGLEVENT (-8.6%), DIAMOND (-5.0%) and SEPLAT (-5.0%) were the worst performers. Given the recent pattern of weak market breadth amidst below-trend trading volumes, we expect appetite for equities to remain soft as investors clearly have conservative outlook on earnings. Nonetheless, short term traders might take advantage of bargain opportunities in the session ahead as the benchmark index is currently at a month-low.