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Equities Market Opens on Negative Note as Bears Return

The equities market started the week on a negative note no Monday as the bears returned after three days of gains. After seven-days of bearish trend, the bulls had returned last Wednesday and remained in control for the rest of the trading days.

However, the losses recorded in the two days outweighed the gains recorded in three days, making the market to close on bearish note last week. But as the trading resumed for the week yesterday, a decline in bellwether stocks depressed the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) by 1.53 per cent to close at 41,988.18. Similarly, market capitalisation went down by N233.5 billion to be at N15.1 trillion.

Thirty-two stocks depreciated as against 16 stocks that appreciated. Bellwether stocks such as Dangote Cement (-3.3 per cent), Nestle Nigeria Plc (-4.1 per cent), FBN Holdings Plc (-4.8 per cent) and Nigerian Breweries Plc (-1.6 per cent) were among the price losers.

Nigerian Breweries Plc declined despite announcing a final dividend of N3.13 for the year ended December 31, 2017 last week. The brewing firm, recorded revenue of N334.6 billion, up 6.6 per cent from N313.7 billion posted in 2016. Profit before tax rose from N39.7 billion to N46.6 billion, just as profit after tax improved to N33 million, compared to N28.4 million in 2016.

Based on the performance, the directors recommended a total dividend of N33 billion that translates to N4.13 per share. The recommended dividend is inclusive of interim dividend of N8 billion, which is N1.00 per share earlier paid by the company in November 2017.

According to Nigerian Breweries, despite the challenging operating environment, it was able to end the year with improved results through continuous focus and execution of the twin agenda of cost leadership and market leadership supported by innovation.

“The board remains confident that the company has a clear strategy to deliver good return on investment to shareholders as part of its commitment to winning with Nigeria,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Linkage Assurance Plc led the price gainers’ chart with 9.0 per cent, trailed by Livestock Feeds Plc with 5.0 per cent. Fidson Healthcare Plc and AXA Mansard Insurance Plc added 4.9 per cent apiece. Jaiz Bank Plc and May & Baker Nigeria Plc chalked up 4.0 per cent and 3.5 per cent apiece among others.

In terms of sector performance it was mixed as two of five indices trended southwards, two closed in the green and the remaining one was falt.

The NSE Consumer Goods Index led the losers’ chart with 1.6 per cent, followed by the NSE Industrial Goods Index with 1.5 per cent.

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