By G9ija

Profit-taking continued to take a toll on the equities sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), extending negative sentiment to three consecutive trading days, causing market capitalisation to slide further by N38 billion.

Yesterday, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased by 72.41 absolute points, or 0.28 per cent to close at 25,424.91 points. Similarly, the overall market capitalisation shed N38 billion to close at N13.264 trillion.

 The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Okomu Oil, Unilever Nigeria, Zenith Bank, C&I Leasing, and UAC of Nigeria (UACN).

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited said: “We expect investors to take positions in sound blue-chips in subsequent trading sessions. Nevertheless, we expect the equities market to close the week in favour of the bears.”
 
Also, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Consulting Limited, Ambrose Omordion, attributed the downtrend to accelerated sell-offs and profit-booking in banking stocks.
   
“We expect a mixed trend on profit-taking ahead of qualification and markdown dates of dividend-paying banks as investors reposition their portfolios, looking forward to market corrections ahead of the third quarter (Q3) earnings season,” he said.

  Market sentiment, as measured by market breadth, also closed negative, as seven stocks gained, relative to 23 losers.    

Fidson Healthcare recorded the highest price gain of 7.28 per cent to close at N3.98 per share. PZ Cussons Nigeria followed with 6.25 per cent to close at N4.25, while Custodian Investment appreciated by 3.13 per cent to close at N4.95, per share.

FCMB Group rose 2.73 per cent to close at N2.26, and John Holt advanced 1.82 per cent to close at 56 kobo, per share.

On the other hand, Royal Exchange led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent to close at 27 kobo, while Livestock Feeds followed with 9.09 per cent to close at 60 kobo, per share.


C&I Leasing shed 8.97 per cent to close at N3.55, and Mutual Benefits Assurance and UACN fell 4.76 per cent each, to close at 20 kobo and N6.00, respectively, per share.

However, the total volume traded increased by 7.01 per cent to 269.63 million shares worth N2.872 billion, traded in 4,155 deals.

Transactions in the shares of Zenith Bank topped the activity chart with 35.836 million shares valued at N592.13 million.

FBN Holdings (FBNH) followed with 33.440 million shares worth N166.938 million, while United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 29.783 million shares at N182.616 million.

Guaranty Trust Bank traded 24.894 million shares valued at N605.138 million, and Access Bank transacted 19.165 million shares worth N126.330 million.