The weak sentiment in the equities (stock) market and the accompanying sell-off persisted last week with investors losing N601.29 billion. Particularly, the market capitalization (market value) of all listed equities (shares) fell to N28.268 trillion from N28.869 trillion, representing a 2.1 per cent decline over the course of the week.
Also, the benchmark All Share Index (ASI) closed lower at 51,893.94 points from 52,994.13 points owing to losses in Airtel Africa Plc, which went down by 10 per cent. Also, losses in Lafarge Africa Plc (7.75%) and Zenith Bank Plc (1.96%) offset the 11.11 per cent gains in International Breweries Plc, thus keeping the overall market performance in the red.
Sectoral performance was mixed as three of the sectors recorded losses while two closed flat. Breakdown of the activity showed that the insurance, banking and the industrial goods sectors depreciated by 1.5%, 1.4%, and 0.4% respectively, while the consumer goods and the oil and gas sectors closed flat.
However, activity levels were positive as traded volume surged by 163.5 percent to 541.98 million shares, while traded value increased by 6.7 per cent to N2.36 billion. Analysts believe that the market would turn positive in the nearest future following moderation in the prices of some big cap stocks and the expected release of the first quarter (Q1) financial reports.
Analysts at Cordros Capital posited that the bulls would make re-entry with the moderation in the prices of bellwether stocks over the past weeks. “We believe this may be further influenced by positive Q1’23 earnings releases. In the medium term, we expect investors’ sentiments to be influenced by developments in the macroeconomic landscape and the movement of yields in the fixed income space,” they said.
Also commenting, analysts at Cowry Asset Management, said: “In the week to come, we expect mixed sentiments to linger as market players continue to trade cautiously ahead of the March 2023 inflation numbers and Q1 earnings expectations.
“However, investors are expected to trade cautiously as insecurity and political post-election jitters continue to headline Nigeria’s macros. “Also, we continue to advise investors to trade on companies’ stocks with sound fundamentals and a positive outlook.”