By Dipo Olowookere
Some large-cap stocks led by Dangote Cement lifted the equity market on Wednesday by 1.68 per cent after closing bearish in the first two sessions of this week.
A total of 38 shares appreciated in price at the exchange yesterday as against the eight price decliners, increasing the All-Share Index (ASI) by 575.18 points to 34,818.01 points from 34,242.83 points.
The performance of these 38 stocks boosted the market capitalisation of the local bourse by N301 billion, closing at N18.194 trillion in contrast to N17.893 trillion it ended on Tuesday.
The sum of N7.90 was gained by Dangote Cement at the midweek session, closing at N195 per unit and was trailed by Nigerian Breweries, which appreciated by N4 to settle at N58 per unit.
Lafarge Africa grew by N2.10 to trade at N24.10 per share, Dangote Sugar continued its bull run with a price appreciation of N1.25 to sell at N22.25 per share, while Zenith Bank gained 80 kobo to quote at N26.70 per unit.
Stanbic IBTC finished the day as the heaviest price loser, depreciating by N1.15 to trade at N44.85 per share and was trailed by Ardova, which lost N1 to close at N15 per share.
Unity Bank declined by 6 kobo to 80 per share, Cornerstone Insurance fell by 5 kobo to 53 kobo per unit, while Transcorp declined by 5 kobo to N1.05 per share.
In spite of the positive outcome achieved by the market on Wednesday, the level of activity ended in red as the trading volume, value and number of deals declined by 92.94 per cent, 30.97 per cent and 15.93 per cent respectively.
A total of 661.1 million shares worth N8.3 billion were traded in 7,324 deals on Wednesday compared with the 9.4 billion units worth N12.0 billion exchanged in 8,712 deals on Tuesday.
Transcorp ended the session as the most active stock, selling 160.6 million units valued at N172.2 million and was followed by GTBank, which traded 70.7 million units worth N2.6 billion.
Zenith Bank transacted 57.3 million shares for N1.5 billion, Access Bank traded 55.2 million equities worth N491.9 million, while FBN Holdings traded 37.6 million shares for N295.9 million.
A look at the performance of the five major sub-sectors of the market showed that the consumer goods space rose by 2.98 per cent, the industrial goods counter appreciated by 2.81 per cent, while the banking space improved by 2.53 per cent.
However, the insurance sector dropped 0.36 per cent, while the oil/gas sector lost 0.15 per cent.