By G9ija

Transactions on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed on a downturn yesterday. This followed gains in most highly-capitalised stocks, causing market capitalisation to dip by N41 billion.

The All-Share Index (ASI) dropped by 77.32 absolute points, representing a drop of 0.19 per cent to close at 40,494.35 points while market capitalisation depreciated by N41 billion to close at N21.184 trillion.  
   
The market loss was driven by price depreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks amongst, including Cornerstone Insurance Plc, UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust Plc, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Prestige Assurance Plc and Wapic Insurance Plc.

Capital market analysts said the equities market continues its staggering movement on the back of mixed sentiment as investors anticipate the release of audited company financials due to start hitting the market before the end of the month.

While analysts at Afrinvest Limited said, “We believe bargain hunting would boost the performance of the market this week as prices remain attractive.”
 
However, market sentiment, as measured by market breadth, was positive, as 22 stocks gained, relative to 20 losers. Learn Africa recorded the highest price gain of 9.28 per cent to close at N1.06 kobo.

Ardova Plc followed with a gain of 9.06 per cent to close at N18.05, while Multiverse Mining and Exploration went up by 8.33 per cent to close at 26 kobo kobo.

Wema Bank rose by 7.69 per cent to close at 70 kobo, while Guinness Nigeria gained 7.32 per cent to close at N22. On the other hand, Cornerstone Insurance and UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent each, to close at 54 kobo and N5.40 kobo while Consolidated Hallmark Insurance followed with a decline of 9.52 per cent to close at 38 kobo.

Prestige Assurance lost 8.51 per cent to close at 43 kobo, while Wapic Insurance shed 8.33 per cent to close at 55 kobo.

The total volume of trades advanced by 72.8 per cent to 356.431 million units, valued at N5.763 billion, and exchanged in 5,040 deals.     
 
Transactions in the shares of Guaranty Trust Bank topped the activity chart with 46.158 million shares valued at N1.426 billion.

FBN Holdings (FBNH) followed with 35.342 million shares worth N256.889 million, while Dangote Sugar Refinery traded 26.82 million shares valued at N510.527 million.
 
Zenith Bank traded 25.992 million shares valued at N652.648 million, while Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) transacted 25.342 million shares worth N25.196 million.