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Equities Market May Remain Bearish After 2019 Elections

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Nigerian stock market has not been having it good since the January bull run. The local bourse, which gained over 40 percent last year, has lost 16.68 percent in 2018, which has only 45 days to wrap up.

The downtrend has mainly been attributed to uncertainty over the 2019 general elections in the country, but analysts at Cordros Research fear that the market may remain weak after the much-awaited polls.

“In our view, without any meaningful positive trigger, investors may see the lukewarm market performance persist even after the general election, come next year,” Cordros Research stated in one of its latest report obtained by Business Post.

The firm said notably, marginally tightened global liquidity conditions, together with the rhetoric of trade protectionism, and the economic crises in Argentina and Turkey drove negative sentiments across emerging and frontier markets, including Nigeria, which was not spared in the selloffs “largely induced by external factors.”

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Furthermore, disappointing growth data, together with unimpressive corporate earnings further weakened appetite for Naira risk assets, the report said.

“Oil prices may have remained firm, but it would appear that external concerns weigh stronger on sentiments. To add, MTN’s listing, which would have had a bit of a positive impact, was soured by the management-CBN spat. Even as the unflinching sell-offs made valuations somewhat compelling, investors remain unconvinced,” the report added.

“Certainly, election period is imminent and the polity is gradually heating up. Nonetheless, we believe they are yet to strongly impact market sentiments thus far this year and will remain so over November and December.

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“Undeniably, election-related risk-off sentiments will be stronger from January 2019, however, we believe that the external events and the domestic macro fundamental issues highlighted above will remain the key drivers of market movement.

“It is therefore noteworthy that investors reassess the impression that local equities have been held down largely by election risk, thus implying imminent recovery post polls next year,” Cordros Research noted.

“To underscore why this matter, we observed the performance of the local market in the last two election years and found that post-election gains were sharp, albeit short-lived.

“In 2015, the market was thrilled by the news of the victory of the opposition, with the index gaining 14 percent between April and May, before crashing in subsequent months.

“In the same vein, Nigeria’s equities market warmly welcomed the election of President Jonathan in 2011 as NSEASI returned 5.0 percent between April and May of that year, and went south thereafter,” the report said.

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It stressed that, “Clearly, on both occasions, the failure of the economic managers to meet market expectations tanked the post-election rallies. We suggest investors take a cue from the experiences when framing investment strategies ahead of next year.”

“In our view, barring less hawkish monetary policy rhetoric across developed economies, better global trade talks, and improved economic landscape across emerging economies, most of which are unlikely in the near term, and from which NSEASI will certainly benefit, post-election activities in the local market will follow the historical pattern, and more so, in the absence of market-friendly policy changes/announcements,” the report concluded.

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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