Market Update for March 17
The seesaw movement on the Nigerian Exchange continued on Thursday as the benchmark index closed lower to halt the positive outing of the previous session on a mixed sentiment of low traded volume in the midst of marginal positive breadth and inflow of funds into the equity space as revealed by the money flow index.
The indecision among market players as they weighed in on the expected impact of rates hikes in matured markets and economies on our domestic market and investments, knowing that demography has changed in the last three years. It is no longer news that domestic institutional players and retail investors now dominate the Nigerian marketplace today, with improving corporate performance in terms of earnings and high payout that supports prices of equities on the exchange, attracting inflows.
The US market where interest rates were hiked had rallied consecutively for three straight days on the back of peace talks in the conflict zone of Eastern Europe, and oscillating oil price. Since foreign investors play less in our market, the recent uptick in domestic inflation is a potent threat to the fixed income market and investment yields, which should be a pointer that funds may likely continue to flow into the equity space as institutions accumulate positions with strong fundamentals that will support price and higher payout in the future.
On Thursday evening, Access Bank presented its 2021 full-year audited results, showing value on the strength of the bank’s impressive numbers, with top and bottom lines soaring by a robust 20% and 51% respectively, and the directors offering a final dividend of 70 kobo in addition to earlier 30 kobo interim paid in August 2021.
With core inflationary pressures mirroring the recent surge in the cost of energy-related products across the country, oil prices continue on a northward spike in the aftermath of the unrest in Eastern Europe, fueling global inflation. Specifically, energy inflation touched a 56-month high of 13.1%, driven by a prolonged period of fuel scarcity and higher AGO and aviation fuel prices. Elsewhere, food inflation was relatively stable at 17.1% in the absence of any food-related shock, just as transportation cost increased significantly, impacting goods and services negatively.
This situation has created ‘buy’ opportunities for smart and discerning traders. However, we warn that market consolidation and correction are not over yet, the oscillating trend signals that a major uptrend is underway, especially when it gets to the level where it is good enough for fixed income market players, among others, to jump into equity positions.
Also, the ongoing peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are supporting stock prices in matured markets despite the rates hike in the US, while commodities prices have oscillated, especially crude oil prices that had rebounded after three days, amid the rising cost of production that is fueling inflation. This is capable of slowing down the global economic recovery and growth in 2022 and beyond, besides the negative impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the global economy, as most of the developing countries depend on wheat imported from both countries now at war. The combination of this and the soaring price of diesel and premium motor spirit, is forcing prices of bread and pastries skyward, with most bakeries threatened with a definite shutdown.
The candlestick formation at the end of Thursday’s trading reveals a likely continuation of trends, or reversal, depending on market forces as trading opens Friday morning. The NGX index’s action pulled back but is still in the distribution phase and trading on top of its seven-day moving average. The benchmark index remains strong and within the 47,000 basis points region which is the support level, as volatility persists and downtrend towards the next breakdown, sported around 47,287.09bps. Should the index break this point, the next visible support is 47,154.35 points.
Technically, the ongoing volatility is best described as sideways movement, even as the session’s selloffs and buying interest could be linked to profit taking in oil and consumer goods stocks, and others that rallied recently. This is happening ahead of more 2021 full-year earnings season and Q1 numbers, coupled with expected economic data. The possibility of the market sustaining this trend is a function of impressive numbers and payout during this earnings season, following which we advise investors to play dividend stocks to reduce investment risks around the market.
Thursday’s trading started slightly on the upside and oscillated to pullback on selling pressure in medium and high cap stocks, a situation that pushed the NGX’s index to an intraday low of 47,338.91 basis points from its highs of 47,398.80bps, before closing slightly below its opening point at 47,354.22bps.
Market technicals were weak and mixed, with volume traded higher than the previous days in the midst of breadth that favours the bulls on selling sentiment as revealed by Investdata’s Sentiments Report showing 24% ‘buy’ volume and 76% ‘sell’ position. Total transaction volume index stood at 0.66 points, just as the impetus behind the day’s performance remained strong with Money Flow Index flat at 70.37pts, from the previous day’s 70.44pts, indicating that funds are still in the market.
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Index and Market Caps
At the close of Thursday’s trading, the key performance NGX All-Share index shed 11.24bps to close at 47,353.22bps, after opening at 47,364.46bps, representing a 0.02% drop. Similarly, market capitalization rose by N6bn, closing at N25.52tr, from the previous day’s N25.53tr, which also represented 0.02% value loss.
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Meanwhile, Thursday’s downturn was driven by profit-taking in stocks like Seplat, Dangote Sugar, United Capital, Unilever, UBA, UBN, NB, FCMB, Redstar, and Honeywell Flour, among others. This impacted mildly on Year-To-Date gain, which slipped to 10.85%. Market capitalization growth stood at N2.84tr YTD, representing a 14.83% rise over the opening level for the year.
Mixed Sector Indices
Performance indexes across sectors were mixed, as the NGX Energy and Consumer Goods closed 1.76%, and 0.45% lower respectively, while the NGX Insurance led the advancers after gaining a flat 0.08%, followed by Banking with 0.01%.
Market breadth was, nonetheless, marginally positive, as gainers outnumbered losers in the ratio of 18:17; just as activities in volume and value terms were up, as stockbrokers crossed 239.73m shares worth N3.89bn. Volume was driven by trades in Veritas Kapital Assurance, UBA, FBNH, GTCO and Fidelity Bank.
UACN and Royal Exchange Assurance were the best-performing stocks for the session, gaining 10% and 9.80%, closing at N12.10 and N1.12 per share respectively on market forces and sentiment. On the flip side, Niger Insurance and Cornerstone Insurance lost 9.09% and 6.45% respectively, closing at N0.20 and N0.58 per share, on selloffs and profit-taking.
We expect mixed sentiment to continue as bargain hunters take advantage of the pullback to position as investors digest the inflation data, ahead of the inflow of more economic data and more release of 2021 audited financials with dividend announcements to support uptrend during this earnings season and oscillating oil prices. Investors are also looking forward to next week’s meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee, while the market continues to interpret economic data in relationship with crude oil price and other factors, in the midst of profit-taking and portfolio rebalancing. This will result in market players targeting fundamentally sound and dividend-paying stocks in the hope of dividend announcements, as 2021 Q4 GDP up at 3.98%, while the International Monetary Fund is calling for a hike in the interest rate and further devaluation of the Naira.
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