The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) nudged 0.46 per cent higher to close at 30,878.56 yesterday compared with a marginal rise the previous day as gains by banking stocks sustained the positive performance of the market. Similarly, market capitalisation inched up by N52.8 billion to close at 11.51 trillion.
The bulls were in total control of the market as 21 stocks appreciated while 10 declined. Although First Aluminium Nigeria Plc led the price gainers, banking stocks dominated. First Aluminium chalked up 9.8 per cent, trailed by Fidelity Bank Plc with 9.5 per cent, while Union Diagnostic and Clinical Services Plc gained 7.6 per cent.
Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and FCMB Group Plc garnered 5.0 per cent, 4.9 per cent and 4.3 per cent in that order. Jaiz Bank Plc, LASACO Assurance Plc, United Capital Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc added 3.7 per cent,3.3 per cent, 2.9 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively among others.
On the contrary, Resort Savings and Loans Plc led the price losers with 8.3 per cent, trailed by Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc with 4.5 per cent. UAC of Nigeria Plc and NEM Insurance Plc shed 4.4 per cent apiece. Investors in NEM Insurance are taking profit after the stock surged 43 per cent last week as a foreign investor bought into the insurance firm. A leading African private equity fund manager, Advanced Finance and Investment Group (AFIG Funds) acquired 29.9 per cent equity to become the largest shareholder in NEM Insurance.
Group Managing Director of NEM Insurance, Mr. Tope Smart had expressed delight at the development.
According to the partnership with AFIG Funds is the outcome of several years of constructive engagement, as well as a thorough internal strategic process to identify and engage with the best long-term institutional partner for our company.
“We look forward to continue to benefit from AFIG Funds’ extensive experience investing in strong African companies particularly in financial institutions. We believe this partnership will accelerate the realization of our growth ambitions within Nigeria and across the continent. We are confident this will be a fruitful and mutually rewarding partnership,” he said.
The acquisition spurred more demand for stock that boosted its price last week. However, some short term investors have started to sell and realise the capital gain. Hence, NEM Insurance closed among the losers.
Commenting on the market performance, analysts at SCM Capital said:”Going forward, our near term outlook for the local bourse remains conservative owing to political concerns ahead of the 2019 electoral cycle and the absence of a positive driver. However, stable macro-economic fundamentals remain supportive of recovery in the long-term.