Sustained bargain hunting in bellwethers drive index up

The domestic bourse performed positively at the close of trade today due to sustained bargain hunting in bellwethers - NESTLE (+2.8%), GUARANTY (+1.8%) and ZENITH (+0.2%). As a result, the All Share Index (ASI) advanced 16bps to 30,821.80, market capitalization increased by N18.0bn to N11.5tn while YTD loss marginally improved to -1.9%. Activity level also improved as volume and value traded rose 88.3% and 65.0% to 358.3m units and N4.8bn respectively. The top traded stocks by volume were FBNH (88.6m), ZENITH (55.7m) and JAPAULOIL (36.2m) while ZENITH (N1.3bn), GUARANTY (N724.5m) and FBNH (N660.0m) were the top traded by value.

Mixed Sector Performance
Sector performance was mixed as 3 of 5 sectors under our coverage advanced. The Consumer Goods index led gainers, up 1.2% following bargain hunting in NESTLE (+2.8%) and DANGFLOUR (+5.0%). The Banking index trailed rising 0.6% due to price appreciation in GUARANTY (+1.8%) and ZENITH (+0.2%). Similarly, the Insurance index maintained an uptrend, inching 0.5% higher, on the back of gains in AIICO (+6.1%) and CORNERSTONE (+5.0%). On the flipside, the Industrial Goods and Oil & Gas indices shed 0.6% and 0.1% respectively following sell pressures in DANGCEM (-0.8%) and OANDO (-1.0%).

Investor Sentiment Weakens
Investor sentiment as measured by market breadth (advance/decline ratio) weakened to 1.1x from 1.8x recorded yesterday as 19 stocks appreciated against 17 laggards. LEARNAFRCA (+9.5%), REGALINS (+9.1%) and MCNICHOLS (+7.7%) were the best performing stocks while CUSTODIAN (-8.8%), GUINEAINS (-8.7%) and LIVESTOCK (-5.7%) led laggards. Following the positive performance of the market since the start of the week, we anticipate profit taking in counters that have enjoyed buying interest till the close of the week.