The stock market closed lower tuesday, ending two days of positive performance with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) shedding 0.05 per cent to be at 26,217.54. Similarly, market capitalisation shed N4.8 billion to close at N9.0 trillion. The market had maintained an uptrend since last Friday and closed 0.03 per cent higher on Monday.
However, the bears regained control of the market yesterday with 25 equities depreciating, compared with 13 stocks that appreciated. Shares tanked as the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) retained the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent. The MPC, which met on Monday and yesterday voted unanimously to maintain status quo by retaining the: MPR at 14 per cent; Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.5 per cent and Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.
According to the Committee, the risk facing the domestic economy is in two folds- price and output- and reiterated its commitment to price stability while closely monitoring domestic and external developments that could shape subsequent decisions. .
However, market operators said retaining the MPR at 14 per cent will make the fixed income securities remain more attractive to investors than the equities market.
Analysts at Meristem Securities Limited, said: “Given that the MPC maintained the status quo on all policy variables, we expect the weak market mood will continue to dictate the direction of activities in the equities market. However, we advise investors to continually assess the market for opportunities to take positions in fundamentally justified stocks ahead of the full year 2016 earnings season.”
Seven-Up-Bottling Company Plc and Custodian and Allied Plc led the price losers, depreciating by 4.9 per cent each to close at N101.40 and N3.63 respectively. NCR Nigeria Plc and NAHCO also shed 4.9 per cent apiece, just as Sterling Bank Plc and Transcorp Plc went down by 4.8 per cent and 4.7 per cent in that order.
On the positive side, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc led the price gainers with 5.0 per cent to close at N4.62 per share. UAC of Nigeria Plc followed with 4.9 per cent, just as NPF Microfinance Bank Plc appreciated by 4.6 per cent.
In terms of sectoral performance, the NSE Banking Index, which had outperformed other sector indices for the most part of the year, dipped 1.1 per cent as investors booked profit in Zenith Bank Plc (-3.5 per cent) and United Bank for Africa Plc (-1.2 per cent).