Profit taking continued at the stock market yesterday, leading to a decline of 1.06 per cent in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI), to close at 23,695.90 while market capitalisation shed N132.9 billion.
Having recorded a significant growth last week, the market opened on Monday on a bearish note as investors locked in profit. And the trend continued yesterday as 15 stocks depreciated as against 14 stocks that appreciated.
Caverton Offshore Services Group Plc led the price losers with 10 per cent, trailed by Arbico Plc with 9.7 per cent. Afromedia Media Plc shed 8.8 per cent. LASACO Assurance Plc and WAPIC Insurance Plc went down by 7.4 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively.
Also, Sterling Bank Plc and Guinness Nigeria Plc, which announced their results recently were among the price losers. Sterling Bank lost 2.3 per cent, while Guinness shed 1.1 per cent.
Sterling Bank Plc reported gross earnings of N32.9 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, compared with N35.270 billion in 2019. Profit before tax stood at N2.219 billion, down from N3.273 billion, while profit after tax (PAT) printed at N2l065 billion compared with N3.240 billion in 2019.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, explained that the bank's net trading income grew remarkably to N984 million as against N435 million during the corresponding period, representing an increase of 126.2 percent, despite a very challenging macro-economic environment.
According to the bank, drop in net profit was to a combination of a decline in fees and commission income following the downward review of transactional charges and a slight increase in total expenses which rose from N15.3 billion in 2019 to N16.6 billion in 2020. The increase was driven, the bank added, mainly by other operating expenses and depreciation and amortisation costs. Income tax expense also went up from N33 million in 2019 to N154 million in 2020.
On the other hand, Neimeth led the price gainers with 10 per cent, trailed by NPF Microfinance Bank Plc with 9.7 per cent. Eterna Plc chalked up 9.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, activity level waned as volume and value traded declined 24.0 per cent and 5.6 per cent to 155.6 million shares and N1.7 billion respectively. The most active stocks by volume were FBN Holdings Plc (27.8 million shares), UAC of Nigeria Plc (16.6 million shares) and GTBank Plc (15 million shares).