By Chris Ndibe
Trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) remained upbeat with the market capitalisation improving further by N110 billion following gains in Nestle and Dangote Cement.
Consequently, the market capitalisation which opened at N12.582 trillion rose by N110 billion or 0.87 per cent to close at N12.692 trillion.
Similarly, the All Share Index (ASI) grew by 210.88 points to close at 24,354.25 against 24,143.37 posted on Wednesday.
The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are Nestle, Dangote Cement, Nigerian Breweries, Conoil and Ardova.
Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Limited, attributed the persistent upward trend in the market enhanced buying interest to high dividend yield.
Omordion said investors were buying to increase their position in undervalued stocks ahead of dividend declaration and first quarter numbers.
He said that investors and traders were positioning amidst the changing sentiments, with the hope of improved liquidity and positive economic indices.
Market breadth closed positive with 21 gainers in contrast with 20 losers.
Royal Exchange recorded the highest price gain in percentage terms, increasing by 10 per cent, to close at 22k per share.
University Press followed with 9.80 per cent to close at N1.12, while Conoil rose by 9.77 per cent to close at N19.10 per share.
Ardova grew by 9.68 per cent to close at N15.30, while Consolidated Hallmark Insurance appreciated by 9.09 per cent to close at 36k per share.
Conversely, Linkage Assurance led the losers’ chart in percentage terms, dropping by 8.33 per cent to close at 44k per share.
Red Star Express followed with a loss of five per cent to close at N2.85, while Africa Prudential declined by 4.63 per cent to close at N3.71per share.
Sterling Bank lost 4.55 per cent to close at N1.26, while Fidson Healthcare shed 4.17 per cent to close at N2.30, per share.
Total volume traded increased marginally by 1.1 per cent with an exchange of 431.58 million shares worth N5.26 billion achieved in 5,860 deals.
This was in contrast with 426.64 million shares valued at N4.10 billion exchanged in 7,384 deals on Wednesday.
Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings topped the activity chart with 115.57 million shares valued at N543.063 million.
Zenith Bank came second with 75.9 million shares worth N1.14 billion, while Guaranty Trust Bank traded 54.88 million shares valued at N1.22 billion.
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated sold 39.61 million shares worth N197.33 million, while Mutual Benefits Assurance transacted 30.97 million shares valued at N6.43 million.