The Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index (NSE) ASI fell by 2.68 per cent yesterday closed lower at 36,102.38 as profit taking persisted on the bourse. After hitting a record high last week, investors moved in to lock in part of the gains recorded in the past months.
Consequently, the market had resumed on a bearish note since Monday. It went down by 0.65 per cent on Monday, 2.8 per cent on Tuesday and 2.68 per cent yesterday.Analysts at Meristem Securities Limited, on Monday said bearish sentiments had dominated the equities market as investors took profit on stocks that have appreciated in recent times particularly the large cap banking stocks.“We expect a similar trend in the remaining trading days of the week,” they had stated.At the close of trading yesterday, 31 stocks depreciated while only 10 stocks appreciated. The depreciation recorded in the share prices of Dangote Cement, Lafarge Africa, GTBank, Nigerian Breweries, and Stanbic IBTC was mainly responsible for the loss recorded in the index.
However, Jaiz Bank Plc led the losers’ table with 5.0 per cent, trailed by Access Bank Plc, FCMB Group, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc that went down by 4.9 per cent apiece. Dangote Cement fell by 4.8, while Cutix Plc, just as May & Baker Nigeria Plc ND Livestock Feeds Plc lost 4.7per cent each.Even Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, which declared an interim dividend of 30 kobo on Tuesday, was not spared in profit taking, as it fell by 4.6 per cent to close at 37.10 per share.GTBank recommended an interim dividend of 30 kobo, which is higher than the 25 kobo paid in the corresponding period of 2016 after recording a profit after tax of N83.6 billion. The PAT showed an increase of 16 per cent from the N71.7 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2016.
Commenting on the performance, the Managing Director/CEO of GTBank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said: “Our strong performance in the first half of 2017 reflects the strength of our businesses, the quality of our past decisions and the success of our efforts towards becoming a digital-first customer-centric Bank that offers simple and easily accessible products and services.”He said despite the challenging environment of slow economic growth, “we focused our resources on strengthening relationships with our customers, creating business platforms that seek to add value across all customer segments, whilst consolidating our leading position in all the economies in which we operate.”