Profit taking: NSE records first loss in February

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…As Udo Udoma says Nigeria’s economy on path of growth***

 Trading on the nation’s bourse swayed southward on Wednesday to record its first depreciation in February, shedding 0.15 per cent.

This was most probably due to losses suffered by some blue chips as investors embarked on profit taking.

Specifically, the All-Share Index lost 48.39 points or 0.15 per cent to close at 32,413.92 against 32,462.31 on Tuesday.

Market capitalisation followed, closing at N12.088 trillion as investors lost N18 billion or 0.15 per cent day on day (DoD) against N12.105 trillion posted on Tuesday.

On the price movement chart, 19 stocks appreciated, led by Unilever with N4 to close at N44 per share.

Okomu Oil followed with N2.80 to close at N85, while Nigerian Breweries and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria gained 95k each to close at N81 and N21.95 per share respectively.

Berger paints improved by 75k to close at N8.25 per share.

However, 22 stocks depreciated, with Seplat leading the losers’ pack with N20 to close at N580 per share.

Forte Oil followed with N1.70 to close at N28, while PZ Cussons shed N1.25 to close at N12 per share.

Guaranty Trust Bank dropped N1 to close at N37.95, while C and I Leasing depreciated by 81k to close at N7.33 per share.

On the activity chart, Diamond Bank dominated in volume terms with 131 million shares worth N314 million.

It was trailed by Zenith Bank with a turnover of 44.09 million units worth N1.1 billion, while United Bank for Africa sold 40.61 million shares valued at N319 million.

Transcorp accounted for 30.31 million units worth N47 million, while FCMB Group exchanged 25.78 million shares valued at N60 million.

In all, investors exchanged 470.39 million shares worth N4.24 billion in 5,858 deals, lower than 580.41 million units, valued at N8.03 billion that was exchanged in 7,052 deals on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma has indicated that Nigeria’s economy is firmly on the path of growth.

Udoma highlighted this, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media in Abuja saying  the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the fourth quarter, 2018 showed the strongest performance since the economy emerged from recession.

The minister made this known at a gathering of media professionals at the Nigeria Union of Journalists Press Centre, Uyo, Akwa Ibom on Wednesday.

The report shows that the real GDP grew by 2.38 per cent, indicating the strongest quarter growth since the economy slipped into recession in 2016.

The full year 2018 real GDP stood at 1.93 per cent, higher than the 0.82 per cent growth rate recorded in 2017.

Udoma said that the report showed that 39 out of 46 economic activities were now growing.

“Agriculture is growing, Manufacturing is growing, and Services has recorded its best performance in 11 quarters.

“Particularly notable is the fact that the growth is driven by the non-oil sector which has recorded its strongest growth since the fourth quarter of 2015.

“In short, we have turned the corner and are now firmly on the path of growth,” he said.

According to him, the current real GDP growth performance is most encouraging and shows a movement in a very positive direction, especially with regard to the non-oil sector performance.

Udoma assured that with the Buhari administration’s commitment to the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), the economy would further be strengthened.

He explained that at inception, the administration faced real crisis in the economy which included a sharp drop in oil revenues with consequent fiscal challenges.

The minister, however, was delighted that the implementation of the ERGP was yielding positive results.

“We have improved oil production to take advantage of the slight recovery in oil prices.

“The economy is now on a positive growth path after exiting recession in second quarter, 2017 and other macroeconomic indicators have also witnessed significant improvement,” he said.

Udoma further assured that the Federal Government was committed to implementing the minimum wage as part of efforts toward improving the standard of living of workers.

He said some provision had been made for this in the 2019 Budget while a Technical Committee had been set up to ensure its implementation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the fourth quarter growth performance implied that real GDP grew at an annual rate of 1.93 per cent in 2018, compared to 0.82 per cent recorded in 2017, representing an increase of 1.09 per cent points.

The oil sector recorded a real GDP growth rate of –1.62 per cent (year-on-year) in fourth quarter, 2018, indicating a decline of –12.81 per cent points relative to the growth rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2017.

The report further said that the oil sector contributed 7.06 per cent to real GDP in the quarter under review, down from figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2017 and the preceding quarter, where it contributed 7.35 per cent and 9.38 per cent respectively.

On the other hand, the non-oil sector grew by 2.70 per cent in real terms during the quarter under review.

The figure was 1.25 per cent points higher than the growth rate recorded in fourth quarter, 2017, and 0.38 per cent points higher than the growth rate recorded in third quarter, 2018.

On an annual basis, the non-oil sector recorded a growth rate of 2.00 per cent in 2018, performing considerably better than 0.47 per cent seen in 2017.

The key performing activities during the quarter were Information and communication, Transportation and Storage, Arts and Entertainment and Agriculture as well as Manufacturing.