Investors Gain N12.4bn as Equities Market Opens 2020 on Positive Note

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Investors in the equities market gained N12.4 billion thursday as trading at the market started 2020 on a positive note. Having declined by 14.6 per cent in 2019, the market opened the new year with a gain of 0.10 per cent, with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (NSE ASI) appreciating to 26,867.79. The gain was attributed to the buying interest in MTN Nigerian Communications Plc, FBN Holdings Plc and Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc. Market capitalisation increased by N12.4 billion to close higher at N12.971 trillion.

The first trading day of the year saw 22 stocks appreciate as against 13 that depreciated. Royal Exchange Plc led the price with 10 per cent, trailed by Cornerstone Insurance Plc with 8.8 per cent. Courtville Business Solutions Plc chalked up 8.7 per cent, just as Transcorp Plc gained 8.0 per cent.

Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, which announced a dividend of 42kobo per share on Tuesday rose 6.8 per cent as investors react to the results. The foam manufacturing company reported highly improved results for the year ended September 30, 2019, showing a jump of 296 per cent in profit.

Specifically, revenue rose from N19.534 billion to N22.283 billion. Operating profit grew from N2.092 billion to N4.444 billion. Net financing cost declined from N1.377 billion to N1.049 billion, while profit after tax stood at N2.386 billion compared with N602 million in 2018.

Based on the improved performance, the board has recommended that a dividend of N525 million, which is 42 kobo per share be paid to the shareholders. The dividend would be paid on March 5, 2020 after shareholders’ approval at the annual general meeting on March 4, 2020.

The Group Managing Director of Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi had assured the shareholders that the company’s financial performance would continue to improve regardless of the nature of the operating environment and this shall always translate to higher shareholder value.

Meanwhile, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc led the price losers with 9.9 per cent, trailed by Glaxosmithkline Consumer Nigeria Plc and Lafarge Africa Plc with 9.8 per cent apiece.

Fidson Healthcare Plc and Wema Bank Plc went down by 9.6 per cent and 8.1 per cent respectively. Unilever Nigeria Plc and Sterling Bank Plc lost 5.9 per cent and 4.5 per cent in that order.

However, activity level declined as volume and value traded fell by 74.9 per ent and 4.8 per cent to 264.1 million shares and N5.2 billion respectively. The top traded stocks by volume were FBN Holdings Plc (60.3 million shares), Access Bank Plc (33.5 million shares) and Zenith Bank Plc (30.9 million shares).

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