By Chukwuma Umeorah

Nigeria’s equities market continued its bullish run on Thursday, defying recent rate hikes to record its second consecutive gain of 0.27 per cent adding N157 billion to investors wealth.

The market had resumed the week on a negative note recording three consecutive bearish outcomes, however it reversed the trend after rising by 0.32 per cent or N188billion on Wednesday as investors saw re-entry opportunities in value stocks particularly in the banking sector.

This positive trajectory marks a significant contrast to earlier expectations following the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to raise the Monetary Policy Rate to 24.75 per cent. Despite concerns about liquidity constraints, investor confidence remained high, driving increased interest in Tier-I banks whose financial scorecards have started rolling in.

Analysts at Meristem Research had earlier this week anticipated subdued performance in the equities market due to rate hike by the MPC which was expected to influence higher rates at the Wednesday’s T-Bills auction, “however investors may opt to retain their equity holdings if rates do not meet anticipated levels.”

At the close of Thursday’s trading session, the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) All-Share Index (ASI) surged to 104,562.06 points, while total equities market capitalization reached N59.120 trillion.

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Consequently the market’s year-to-date return surged to 39.84 per cent, signalling sustained optimism among market participants, especially ahead of the Easter holidays.

A total of 623.07 million units of shares corresponding to a market value of N16.95 billion were exchanged in 10,257 deals. Compared with the previous NGX trading day, the data shows a 25 per cent improvement in volume and a 37 per cent improvement in turnover.

In terms of volume, banking stocks dominated trading activities with Zenith bank trading 88.35 million shares valued at N3.88 billion. GTCO traded 78.67 million shares at N4.11 billion while Accesscorp exchanged 56.74 million shares with corresponding market value of N1.39 billion.

In the aggregate, 122 equities participated in trading, ending with 39 gainers and 16 losers. Morison Industries led the gainers with 10 per cent share price appreciation closing at N1.76 per share, followed by Ikeja Hotel which added 9.91 per cent in value to close at N6.43 per share while Julius Berger Nigeria gained 9.73 per cent.

On the losing side, FTN Cocoa Processors came out last with an end-of-day price depreciation of 9.6 per cent at N1.60 per share, followed by Associated Bus Company which lost 9.41 per cent closing at N0.77 per share while Guinea Insurance lost 7.89 per cent and ended the day at N0.35 per share.