The Nigerian equities market was bullish Thursday as banking stocks led a rally that lifted the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index by 0.56 per cent to close at 37,257.35.
After sustaining four consecutive positive weekly returns, the equities market had consolidated its gains by 0.16 per cent on Monday before the two days break to enable Muslims celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir festival. However, when trading resumed yesterday the bullish trend continued with investors focusing on the banking stocks, following expectation of improved corporate performance for the third quarter (Q3) ended September 30, 2013. Consequently, the ASI rose by 0.56 per cent, while market capitalisation added N66 billion to close at N11.87trillion. The performance bolstered the year-to-date growth of the ASI to 32.7 per cent.
The high demand for equities yesterday saw 38 stocks appreciate in value. And 11 of the price gainers were banking stocks. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc chalked up 20 kobo, followed by Access Bank Plc which garnered 19 kobo. United Bank for Africa Plc went up by 15 kobo, while FBN Holding Plc, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and Skye Bank Plc gained 13 kobo, 11 kobo and 10 kobo respectively. Market operators said many investors are highly bullish on the Q3 results of banks, especially given the positive indications the performance of Wema Bank had sent.
Wema Bank Plc has been the first bank to announce its Q3 results reporting a return to profitability. The bank reported a profit before tax of N563.8 million as against a loss of N1.875 billion in the corresponding period of 2012. Profit after tax stood at N479.2 million as against a loss of N1.875 billion in 2012, while earnings per share (EPS) was positive five kobo, compared with a negative EPS of 15 kobo in the corresponding period of 2012.
Meanwhile, investors traded 284.10 million shares valued at N3.890 billion exchanged in 4,950 deals. The financial services sector remained the most traded, accounting for 216.369 million shares valued at N2.245 billion in 2,913 deals.