By Dipo Olowookere
Nigerian shares snapped a four-day losing streak on Thursday ahead of the Easter break, which begins tomorrow, to appreciate by 1.72 percent.
This came as earnings updates continued to impress investors, who had waited patiently for massive release of results today, being the last day for release of 2017 earnings as well as the last trading day of the month of March 2018.
Earlier results released by some market heavyweights had failed to inspire investors as most of them churned out what traders were already expecting with no surprises.
Business Post reports that today’s trading was positive with investors embarking on bargain hunting as they continue to pick up stocks, which had suffered price depreciation in the last four days due to sell-offs.
It was observed that gains recorded by stocks in the consumer goods, oil and gas and banking sectors were enough to overturn losses recorded by Lafarge, Zenith Bank and C&I Leasing.
At the close of business on Thursday, the All-Share Index (ASI) appreciated by 702.43 points to settle at 41,504.51 points, while the market capitalisation finished at N14.993 trillion after increasing by N252.9 billion today.
In addition, the year-to-date returns expanded to 8.53 percent, but the market breadth ended negative with 23 stocks appreciating in value against 27 equities, which declined.
Nestle Nigeria led the gainers’ table today after adding N39.70k to its share value to close at N1380 per share.
It was trailed by Total Nigeria, which appreciated by N10.70k to finish at N249 per share, and Mobil Nigeria, which garnered N8.80k to end at N185.80k per share.
Dangote Cement rose by N7 to settle at N260 per share, while Nigerian Breweries increased by N2 to close at N130 per share.
On the flip side, Lafarge emerged the heaviest price loser, going down by N1.10k to settle at N45.30k per share.
It was followed by CCNN, which fell by 95k to close at N18.70k per share, and Zenith Bank, which went down by 50k to end at N29.30k per share.
Champion Breweries declined by 18k to finish at N2.40k per share, while C&I Leasing also lost 18k to wrap the day at N1.72k per share.
The total volume of shares traded today by investors declined sharply by 49 percent, while the value inched up slightly by two percent.
A total of 272.6 million shares exchanged hands in 4,368 deals worth N3.72 billion compared with the 535.2 million equities transacted the previous session in 4,717 deals valued at N3.66 billion.
Zenith Bank emerged the most active stock at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Thursday, trading 45.3 million shares worth N1.4 billion.
It was followed by Skye Bank, which sold 33.9 million units valued at N26 million, and UBA, which exchanged 22.5 million equities for N263.5 million.
Fidelity Bank transacted 16.3 million shares for N41.9 million, while Access Bank sold 15.7 million units worth N175.7 million.
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