Nigeria: MTN Shares Decline to Listing Price As Market Drops to 8-Year Low

31 March 2020

Nigerian stocks fell to eight-year low yesterday following negative reactions to President Muhammadu Buhari's ordering of lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)All-share Index dropped 2.43 per cent to 21,330.79, while market capitalisation shed N276.7 billion to N11.1 trillion. The decline was caused by losses recorded banking stocks and MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, which is the second biggest listed firm. The telco stock dipped to 10 per cent to its listing price of N90 per share.

In all, 13 stocks depreciated compared to 11 that appreciated. The price losers were led by MTN followed by Wema Bank Plc with 9.6 per cent. International Breweries Plc went down by 9.2 per cent, while Prestige Assurance Plc lost 8.3 per cent.

Activity level was mixed as volume traded rose 85.7 per cent to 466.9 million shares while value traded declined 42.4 per cent to N1.9 billion. The most active stocks by volume were Meyer Plc (201.0 million shares), Champion Breweries Plc (89.3 million shares) and Zenith Bank Plc (48.2 million shares) while Zenith Bank (5N574.4 million), GTBank (N283.1 million) and MTN (N245.3 million) led the value chart.

Meanwhile, the NSE has assured all our stakeholders that the exchange is open for business remotely. According to the exchange, since the outbreak of this pandemic, financial markets, particularly the capital markets around the world have seen levels of volatility that are only comparable to the global financial crisis of 2007/2008.

"To maintain the integrity of our market and in order for us to continue to stimulate economic growth, we activated our business continuity plan on March 23, 2020. Through this activation, we have: continued trading during normal hours and days by providing remote trading access for dealing member firms through FIX Protocol and Virtual Private Network (VPN) platforms;commenced remote working for our non-essential staff nationwide;closed our trading floors nationwide;maintained continuous flow of relevant market information to enable stakeholders to make informed investment decisions; and engaged with government to address market issues raised by COVID-19," it said.

The NSE noted that the ability of their financial and money markets to continue to operate during this crisis is a testament to a well-functioning economy.

"That is why the statement put out by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria that they have received presidential approval to include the financial system and money markets in the list of exempted services from the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States and the FCT is vital. Given this new pronouncement, we will sustain our remote trading activities at normal hours and days, in line with the guidance provided by the World Federation of Exchanges," the exchange explained.

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