Stock Market Opens New Year with 0.24% Slide

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Trading on the Nigerian bourse Thursday began the year with a decline after recording a growth of 47 per cent last year. The market surpassed analysts’ forecasts and returned 47 per cent in 2013, up from 34.5 per cent rise recorded in 2012.
However, a decline of 0.24 per cent was recorded yesterday as the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) closed at 41,228.49, down from 41,329l.19 at which it closed last year.  Market capitalisation shed N32 billion to close lower at N13.194 trillion.
However, market operators said although the negative trend was expected given the tendency  that short term investors may take profit, they are hopeful that the  bear run may not constitute a major threat to the growth recorded last year.
Despite the 47 per cent growth recorded last year, some market analysts and operators had expressed optimism that the equities market would continue to experience an upward movement.
For instance, Head of Research and Investment Advisory, Sterling Capital   Limited, Mr. Sewa Wusu had said the stock market would sustain its strong performance in 2014, particularly in the first quarter of the year.
“We expect the release of impressive financial year end results by blue chip companies to stimulate activities. Declaration of attractive corporate actions will also serve as a catalyst for market rally,” he said.
Wusu added the   anticipated improvement in power generation by 2014 is expected to boost corporate performances by way of reduction in cost, increased industrial output and improvement in profit margins.
“This is expected to translate into increased dividend pay-outs for quoted companies, which will in turn impact positively on the performance of stocks and the market in general,” he said.
At the close of trading yesterday, 43 stocks appreciated compared with 19 that depreciated. Oando led the price gainers with 10.2 per cent to close at N26.73 per share. Investors traded 489.4 million shares worth   N3.9 billion exchanged in 3,958 deals.
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