The expectation of banks' half-year earnings drive the all-share index up 0.22 per cent.
Nigerian stocks were up 0.22 per cent on Wednesday, on course for another week of positive return, as traders and investors continued to shift their gaze to some of the big bank stocks to take strategic positions ahead of the release of companies quarterly and half-year earnings reports due any moment from now.
Access, the country's biggest bank by asset, drove the rise, supported by rival Zenith and also Custodian Investment.
In the spirit of the earnings season, tier 2 lender Fidelity told the Nigerian Exchange Limited in a Wednesday note of its closed period schedule and the plan of the board to sanction its January-to-June financial report come August 6.
"We expect the positive performance to be sustained as investors take a position in relatively cheap stocks ahead of the earnings season," said analysts at broker and investment bank Afrinvest.
Market sentiment, a gauge of confidence of investors in the market, closed on a positive note on account that 22 gainers were reported, compared to 14 laggards.
Increasing by 83.27 basis points, the all-share index closed at 38,501.31. Also, market capitalisation finished higher at N20.070 trillion.
So far this year, the index is down by 4.39 per cent.
TOP FIVE GAINERS
Cutix led gainers, growing by 10 per cent to close at N3.63. BOC Gas gained 9.84 per cent to close at N0.67. UACN Property rose by 9.71 per cent to N1.13. Tripple Gee leapt to N0.91, notching up 8.33 per cent in the process. Regal Insurance completed the top 5, climbing up by 9.09% to N0.24.
TOP FIVE LOSERS
BOC Gases led losers, declining by 9.94 per cent to N7.70. Berger shrank by 9.64 per cent to end the day at N8.90. Courteville tumbled to N0.21, losing 4.55 per cent. Japaul Gold dipped to N0.49, recording 3.92 per cent loss. Unity Bank closed at N0.55, going down 3.51 per cent.
TOP FIVE TRADES
In all, 296.099 million shares worth N2.562 billion were traded in 4,507 deals.
FBN Holdings was the most preferred stock, with 34.838 million units of its shares worth N265.090 million traded in 198 deals. Access transacted 28.694 million shares, priced at N271.735 million in 442 deals. Zenith had 27.729 million shares valued at N689.155 million traded in 94 deals. Fidelity traded 24.742 million shares estimated at N57.423 million in 162 transactions. Transcorp traded 23.928 million shares valued at N21.355 million in 91 deals.