*As banking sector uplifts market
By Nkiruka Nnorom
The bullish sentiment driven by banking stocks in the stock market last week may be checkmated this week, if the position of some investment analysts is considered.
The analysts said that instead of the bullish sentiment recorded throughout the trading sessions last week, investors would be more cautious as they book profits.
Despite the shortened trading week due to the public holidays on Wednesday and Thursday, the bulls regained control of the market in the three trading sessions of the week supported by gains in beverage some banking stocks and an industrial goods giant, Dangote Cement Plc.
Specifically, investors’ interest in International Breweries Plc (+7.6%) and bargain hunting in Zenith Bank Plc (+6.8%), Access Bank Plc (+3.7%), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (+2.7%) and Dangote Cement Plc (+1.6%) drove the positive performance.
Consequently, investors gained N148 billion as the market capitalisation of all listed equities rose to N20.589 trillion from N20.431 trillion, representing 0.72 percent increase.
The All Share Index (ASI) advanced by the same margin, rising to 39,481.89 points from 39,198.75 points, while the Year-to-Date (YtD) return moderated to -1.9 percent.
Performance across sectors was also positive, with the banking sector topping the gainers’ chart with 3.2 percent, followed by the insurance (+1.9%), the industrial goods (+0.8%), and consumer goods (+0.3%) sectors.
However, the oil and gas sector closed flat during the week.
Analysts at Cordros Capital said: “We do not think the bulls will repeat the flawless victory that ensued last week as the bears are likely to book profit across most counters. Consequently, we see more of a choppy theme as cautious trading takes centre stage ahead of a critical Monetary Policy Meeting (MPC) scheduled later in the month.”