Stock Market Kicks Off Northward

The Nigerian bourse kicked off the 1st trading day of the week positive to sustain a 3-day gaining streak as the benchmark index- All Share Index (ASI) --  advanced 0.6% to settle at 23,963.64pts. The positive close today was broadly driven by bargain hunting in some bellwether stocks -- ZENITH (+7.8%), GUARANTY (+6.1%) and GUINNESS (+10.2%). Consequently, market capitalization grew N47.2bn to N8.2tn. Activity level was mixed today as volume traded dipped 78.6% to 215.2m units while value traded expanded 11.5% to N2.1bn.

Banking Index leads Sector Gainers
The attractive price in the market stirred investors' appetite for value stocks in the Oil & Gas and Banking spaces as bargain hunting drove the indices northwards. The Banking index expanded most (+3.5%) on account of bargain hunting in ZENITH (+7.8%), and GUARANTY (+6.1%). Similarly, price appreciation in SEPLAT (+5.0%) and OANDO (+4.6%) resulted in the Oil & Gas index closing green. Conversely, price decline in WAPCO (-1.2%) resulted in the Industrial Goods index depreciating 0.5% to lead the pack of indices that closed red. Similarly, the Consumer Goods and Insurance indices shed 0.3% apiece on profit-taking in NB (-4.8%) AIICO (-3.5%).

Sentiments Remain Positive
Investor's sentiments remained positive today as market breadth surged 1.6x (24 stocks advanced while 15 stocks declined). The top gainers today were GUINNESS (+10.2%), NAHCO (+9.6%) and ZENITH (+7.8%) while BERGER (-9.6%), LEARN AFRICA (-8.4%) and FBNH (-5.1%) led losers. The waning market breadth suggests investors are already taking profit but we broadly expect the decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), scheduled to be released tomorrow to determine trading sentiment. Given the current attractive entry price of some fundamentally strong stocks, long term opportunities still exist in the market although we advise investors with a short holding period to trade cautiously.