NSE: Indices drop by 0.60%

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…As U.S. Ambassador urges Germany to block Iran cash withdrawal***

Trading returned to the negative territory on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday with market indicators declining by 0.60 per cent due to losses by some oil majors.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market capitalisation lost N82 billion or 0.60 per cent to close at N13.555 trillion against N13.637 trillion posted on Monday.
Also, the All-Share Index dipped 225.09 points or 0.60 per cent to close at 37,422.84 compared with 37,647.93 achieved on Monday.
Seplat recorded the highest loss to lead the losers’ table, shedding N15 to close at N635 per share.
Total trailed with a loss of N10 to close at N200, while Lafarge Africa shed N2.25 to close at N35.75 per share.
Guaranty Trust Bank lost N1.40 to close at N40.10, while Nigerian Breweries dropped N1.10 to close at N110 per share.
Conversely, Forte Oil led the gainers’ table during the day, gaining N2.70 to close at N29.85 per share.
Custodian and Allied Insurance followed with a gain of 40k to close at N5.70, while Ecobank appreciated by 20k to close at N20.60 per share.
Unilever added 15k to close at N51.70, while Access Bank increased by 10k to close at N10.50 per share.
In spite of the drop in indices, the volume of shares transacted increased by 37.39 per cent, while the value of shares transacted rose by 88.94 per cent.
Specifically, investors transacted 213.20 million shares valued at N3.76 billion traded in 4,043 deals.
This was against the 155.17 million shares worth N1.99 billion traded in 3,422 deals on Monday.
Zenith International Bank was the most active stock during the day, trading 39.93 million shares worth N965.09 million.
FBN Holdings followed with 21.69 million shares valued at N227.22 million, while Transcorp traded 21.69 million shares worth N26.97 million.
Guaranty Trust Bank sold 15.81 million shares valued at N650.66 million, while Sovereign Trust Insurance exchanged 13.74 million shares worth N3.44 million.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, urged Berlin on Tuesday to stop Iran from withdrawing large sums of cash from bank accounts in Germany.

The Iran cash withdrawal blockage is in order to offset the effect of new U.S. sanctions imposed after Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal.

Grenell, a long time critic of the accord, told the mass-circulation daily Bild that the U.S. government was extremely concerned about Tehran’s plans to transfer hundreds of millions of Euros in cash to Iran.

“We encourage the highest levels of the German government to intervene and stop the plan,’’ Grenell said.

Iran curbed its nuclear activity under the deal and won relief from international sanctions.

The other signatories including U.S. allies, Germany, France and Britain have reaffirmed the deal, seeing it as crucial to preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Trump denounced it as badly flawed in Iran’s favour.

Grenell’s comment drew a rebuke from Johann Wadephul, deputy leader to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, who said the transaction should not be blocked on political grounds if it passed legal muster.

“The statement of the U.S. ambassador is once again unsettling and difficult to reconcile with his diplomatic role,’’ Wadephul told Reuters.

A German finance ministry spokesperson said German authorities were examining the Iranian request according to clearly prescribed guidelines aimed at averting risks linked to money laundering or possible financing of extremist groups.

“Naturally, its clear that part of the German government review will also look at whether there could be a violation of a sanctions regime,’’ a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Bild first reported on Monday that German authorities were considering a request by Iran to withdraw 350 million dollars from bank accounts held in Germany and to transfer the cash to Tehran.

Critics say Grenell has repeatedly overstepped the bounds of his role as President Donald Trump’s envoy to Berlin, including with his recent meetings with German car company executives about a deal on European duties on U.S. cars.

Grenell has sparked controversy by adopting a far more outspoken role than his predecessor since arriving in Berlin in May.

The controversy included a posting on Twitter in which Grenell said German firms should wind down their business in Iran after Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the nuclear accord.