The benchmark index at the Nigerian stock market yesterday crossed the 30,000 points to reach its highest level in the past 20 months as investors continued the scramble for quoted shares. With more than three gainers to every loser, equities rallied net capital gain of N282 billion in five hours of trading.

The All Share Index (ASI)-the benchmark index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), crossed another threshold to close at 30,314.14 points as against its opening index of 29,498.31 points, representing a day-on-day gain of 2.77 per cent.

Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also rose from N10.198 trillion to close at N10.480 trillion, representing net gain of N282 billion.

The average year-to-date return turned into double-digit at 12.80 per cent. At 30,314.14 points, it was the first time to reach that threshold since October 2005.

Most sectoral indices continued on the uptrend, underlining widespread positive sentiments driving the market. The NSE Consumer Index jumped by 2.5 per cent. The NSE Industrial Goods Index appreciated by 2.4 per cent. The NSE Banking Index rose by 1.7 per cent while the NSE Insurance Index appreciated by 1.5 per cent. However, the NSE Oil and Gas Index declined by 0.2 per cent.

Highly capitalised stocks headlined the uptrend. Mobil Oil Nigeria led the gainers with a gain of N14.22 to close at N298.87. Dangote Cement rose by N8.75 to close at N183.75. Nigerian Breweries added N7.40 to close at N156.90. Beta Glass chalked up N2.41 to close at N50.70. Flour Mills of Nigeria and International Breweries appreciated by N1.05 each to close at N22.05 and N22.10. Zenith Bank garnered 55 kobo to close at N19.50. FBN Holdings rose by 53 kobo to close at N5.83 while Presco and Stanbic IBTC Holdings added 50 kobo each to close at N51.50 and N26.50 per share.

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Total turnover stood above average at 434.43 million shares valued at N4.63 billion in 5,107 deals. Banking stocks remained the most active stocks. Diamond Bank was the most active with 71.7 million shares valued at N72.7 million. United Bank for Africa followed with 66.42 million shares worth N522 million while Access Bank placed third with 48.27 million shares valued at N405.16 million.

On the downside, Seven-Up Bottling Company led the losers with a loss of N4.73 to close at N90.04. Seplat Petroleum Development Company followed with a loss of N1.98 to close at N350.01. Guaranty Trust Bank lost 54 kobo to close at N33.47. Oando declined by 45 kobo to close at N8. UAC of Nigeria slipped by 24 kobo to close at N14.75 while Lafarge Africa dipped by 12 kobo to close at N47.88 per share.

“Despite the sustained market rally and the benchmark index’s 14-Day RSI closing at 85.7 points-indicating that market is in the overbought region, trading multiples show that Nigerian equities remain cheaper and attractive when compared to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) peers and we believe the improvements made in foreign exchange management will continue to buoy foreign participation in the market,” Afrinvest Securities stated.

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