The price rally at the stock market was halted Wednesday as most stocks caved in to the pressure of profit-taking by investors.
As a result, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index(ASI), which appreciated for three consecutive days, declined by 0.46 per cent yesterday to close at 28,956.83. The market capitalisation of equities shed N43 billion to close at N9.254 trillion.
Before yesterday, bulls had been in control of the market since the beginning of the year except last Thursday when it witnessed a margin decline. However, the market continued on the upbeat last Friday till yesterday when the bears returned due to profit taking by investors.
But the profit-taking was expected as analysts in two investment banking firms had predicted it. For instance, analysts in Partnership Investment Company Plc had last Monday said while the positive trend would continue, "mild profit-taking is expected in the coming week but we do not envisage this distorting current trend."
Similarly, analysts at Cordros Capital Limited had said last Tuesday that the market could close on a negative note yesterday due to profit-taking.
"Market may slow tomorrow (today) as profit-taking activities are likely to take toll," they said.
By the close trading yesterday, 31 stocks shed weight while 26 appreciated. Leading brewing firm, Nigerian Breweries Plc led the price losers with N4.85 to close at N145.65 per share. Presco Plc trailed with a loss of N1.90 to close at N20.50 per share.
National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc and Stanbic IBTC Holding Plc declined by N0.44 and N0.33, among others.
Meanwhile, shares in United Bank for Africa Plc added more value yesterday as investors continued their positive response to the new structure of the bank. The equity rose by 9.9 per cent or N0.52 to close at N5.65. UBA had similarly surged by the same margin the previous day to hit a five-month price high.
Investors traded 455.805 million shares worth N4.0547 billion in 6,978 deals at market.