Investors at the Nigerian equities market wore mournful faces on Thursday as market capitalisation shed N371 billion to close at N11.505 trillion, against Wednesday’s N11.876 trillion.
The returned to negative territory on Thursday highlighted a decline of the All-Share Index by 3.12 per cent, due to price depreciation in blue chips.
Specifically, the All-Share Index dipped 711.06 points, representing 3.12 per cent, to close at 22,078.58 compared with 22,789.64 on Wednesday.
The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Nestle Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Dangote Cement, Zenith Bank and Lafarge Africa.
Analysts at Afrinvest Limited expected the bearish trend to persist given the current global pandemic, noting, however, that there were opportunities for bargain hunting.
Market breadth closed negative with 13 gainers against 22 losers.
Africa Prudential recorded the highest price gain in percentage terms, growing by 9.91 per cent, to close at N3.55 per share.
Jaiz Bank followed with a gain 9.76 per cent to close at 45k per share, while Cornerstone Insurance improved by 9.43 per cent to close at 58 per share.
Livestock Feeds and Sterling Bank rose by 9.09 per cent each, to close at 60k and N1.08 per share, respectively.
Conversely, United Capital and Zenith Bank led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping by 10 per cent each, to close at N2.34 and N12.15 per share, respectively.
Arbico followed with a decline of 9.81 per cent to close at N2.85 per share.
Fidson Healthcare dropped 9.80 per cent to close at N2.21, while Prestige Assurance shed 9.09 per cent to close at 50k per share.
The total volume of shares traded fell by 21.7 per cent as investors bought and sold 525.85 million valued at N4.74 billion exchanged in 5,450 deals.
This was in contrast with 671.52 million shares worth N10.58 billion transacted in 7,247 deals on Wednesday.
Transactions in the shares of Zenith Bank topped the activity chart with 118.45 million shares valued at N1.47 billion.
Wapic Insurance followed with 102.44 million shares worth N22.48 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank traded 100.71 million shares valued at N1.83 billion.
FBN Holdings traded 35.18 million shares worth N140.74 million, while United Bank for Africa transacted 30.75 million shares valued at N155.45 million.
In the meantime, the Senate Committee on Capital Market on Thursday expressed readiness to partner with all capital market stakeholders for enhanced market growth and development.
The Senate committee on Capital Market is the legislative arm of the government responsible for providing supervision over the Nigerian capital market and proffering strategic direction, where required, for the associated regulators, operators and financial market infrastructures.
Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, Chairman of the committee, gave the assurance during a visit to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos.
Amosun also promised that the committee would revisit the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Investment and Securities Act (ISA) Bill and unlock more funds from the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
“We are going to revisit the PIB Bill soon even as we just passed the CAMA bill in the Senate and I am sure that the House of Representatives will do the same soon.
“We will also look into the ISA too but you need to come up with areas that you think we should fine tune.
“We have funds still locked down in the PFAs as we have about five per cent being used in Nigeria as opposed to the benchmark of 30 per cent, we will look into all of these,” he stated.
Amosun, however, assured investors of maximum protection of their investments in the nation’s capital market amidst widespread reports of the Coronavirus.
He emphasised that the capital market had a role to play in rescuing the economy at this critical stage in the light of the COVID -19 pandemic which hit global markets.
“The capital market is a potent avenue for deepening our economy.
“We have always talked about diversification which is essential to growing the economy and that is why the capital market has to play a very significant role in that aspect.
“Let me reassure that we will create that enabling environment for investors as well as eke out necessary policies to support the market and so we are urging investors not to press the panic button yet,” Amosun said.
He also urged the NSE management to look into other sectors that would allow for more participation in the market.
“You know that wealth needs to be created and so you need to get more people into the net and that is why the petroleum sector, which is the mainstay of the economy, is also competing with other sectors, thanks to efforts on diversification,” he said.
Amosun thereafter tasked regulators not to rest on their oars while adding that partnership was important to move the nation forward.
“Yes, we want to be the number one in Africa and I know you have the capacity to do it but it is high time we benchmark ourselves with other established exchanges,” Amosun said.
On his part, Mr Oscar Onyema, NSE Chief Executive Officer, noted that the total market capitalisation which included equities, fixed income and exchange traded funds (ETFs) currently stood at N25 trillion.
“We are at about N25 trillion in total market capitalisation which includes equities, fixed income and exchange traded funds (ETFs) but at the equities side, we are at about N11 trillion.
“Just two or three weeks ago, we were close to N15 trillion but for the global rout and crashed oil prices, we have now lost about N3.2 trillion since the 9th of March,” Onyema said.