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By Dipo Olowookere

The first trading session in the month of April 2021 ended on a bearish note as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) lost 0.33 per cent on Thursday.

The market depreciated on April Fool’s Day despite the good results released by Access Bank. The lender had increased its dividend payout to 55 kobo from 40 kobo paid in the previous year.

However, this did not sway the market as investors continued with their profit-taking in preparation for the Easter holidays.

At the close of transactions, the All-Share Index (ASI) dropped below the 39,000 region after it lost 128.39 points to close at 38,916.74 points versus the previous day’s 39,045.13 points.

In the same vein, the market capitalisation depreciated by N68 billion to finish at N20.361 trillion in contrast to the previous session’s N20.429 trillion.

Business Post observed that sell-offs in the banking space was majorly responsible for the loss incurred by the market yesterday as its index dropped 3.62 per cent, with GTBank, Stanbic IBTC and Zenith Bank as the chief culprits.

The industrial goods sector was depressed on Thursday by 0.10 per cent, no thanks to Lafarge Africa, which again came under selling pressure.

The two counters suppressed the gains recorded by the consumer goods sector, which rose by 1.28 per cent, the energy sector, which gained 0.23 per cent, and the insurance sector, which appreciated by 0.19 per cent.

During the session, the trading volume reduced by 31.04 per cent to 239.4 million units from 347.2 million just as the trading value went down by 17.40 per cent to N2.3 billion from N2.8 billion, while the number of deals rose by 11.53 per cent to 4,450 deals from 3,990 deals.

There was significant interest in the shares of UAC Nigeria at the market yesterday and this made the company close as the most active with the sale of 37.4 million units valued at N370.0 million.

Transcorp traded 25.9 million shares for N20.9 million, Fidelity Bank exchanged 12.6 million stocks for N31.5 million, Flour Mills transacted 10.4 million equities worth N300.4 million, while GTBank sold 9.7 million shares valued at N289.6 million.

On the price movement chart, FTN Cocoa closed as the worst-performing stock as a result of the 8.70 per cent price depreciation it suffered, closing at 42 kobo.

NEM Insurance shed 7.39 per cent to finish at N2.13, Unity Bank lost 6.67 per cent to trade at 70 kobo, Regency Alliance Insurance went down by 3.33 per cent to 29 kobo, while Livestock Feeds fell by 2.60 per cent to close at N1.87.

UAC Nigeria and Royal Exchange were the best-performing stocks on Thursday as they appreciated by 10.00 per cent each to close at N9.90 and 33 kobo respectively.

Japaul gained 9.76 per cent to end at 45 kobo, Cutix appreciated by 9.31 per cent to sell for N2.23, while Linkage Assurance grew by 9.09 per cent to 72 kobo.

The market will close for today and Monday for the Easter celebration. The federal government declared the two days as public holidays.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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