The market had witnessed a decline on Monday and Tuesday when some investors moved in to cash in on the capital gains recorded during the 11-day rally.
The rally had pushed the ASI to 15-month high before the profit-taking set in on Monday. As a result, the market declined by 1.09 per cent in the two bearish days.
However, the bulls regained control of the market yesterday, lifting the ASI by 1.1 per cent to close at 24,839.87. Similarly, the market capitalisation of equities added N86 billion to close at N7.907 trillion.
Out of the 34 price gainers, 10 were banking stocks led by First Bank of Nigeria Plc with an appreciation of N0.42 to close at N14.40 per share. The bank had the previous day announced a smooth take-off of its holding company (FBN Holdings Plc) following the constitution of its board to be led by Mr. Oba Otudeko as chairman. Mallam Bello Maccido, who is currently the Executive Director, Retail North of the bank has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the FBN HoldCo. Market operators said the constitution of the firm's body was a positive move for the bank.
Access Bank followed as the second price gainers among the banking stocks, chalking up N0.36 to close at N9.10. The gain was attributed to investors' response to the impressive half year result the bank declared the previous day. Access Bank post 225 per cent growth in profit and recommended an interim dividend of 25 kobo for the shareholders.
Union Bank of Nigeria Plc garnered N0.31, while Zenith Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc appreciated by N0.25 apiece among others.
However, Guinness Nigeria Plc led the overall price gainers' table with N7.10 to close at N260 per share.
Caption: Mr. Aigboje Aig- Imoukhuede, GMD, Access Bank
Access Bank to Cut Stake in Zambian Unit to 49%
The Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig- Imoukhuede, has said the bank will cut to 49 per cent its stake in its Zambian unit after the southern African country raised capital requirements.
Bloomberg quoted the Access Bank boss to have said this during a conference call wednesday.
According to him, Access will cut its stake from 87 per cent and convert the unit to a local bank.
"We plan to convert to a local bank," he said, without saying who they will sell to.
Zambia raised the minimum capital requirement for international banks to $100 million from $2.5 million and to $20 million for local banks in January. The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) said in July it would also seek a local license.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had barred banks from taking funds from their reserves to fund their African subsidiaries.
Access Bank's shares gained for a seventh day, adding 4.1 per cent to N9.10 yesterday, the highest since March 2011.