At the domestic equities market, bearish run resumed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All Share Index (ASI) slowing down by 1.4 per cent Week-on- Week ( W-o-W).

Analysts believe the face off occasioned by xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa and it subsequent reprisal attacks may have dealt heavy blow on MTN Nigeria, one of the highly capitalised listed companies.

Sell-offs in MTNN (-2.1 per cent), DANGCEM (-3.9 per cent) and GUARANTY (-4.4 per cent) dragged the local bourse southward, halting the positive trend at the beginning of the week.

Last week, gains were recorded on two of five trading days, dragging the benchmark index down -1.4 per cent W-o-W to 27,146.57points while Year-to-Date (YTD) loss worsened to -13.6 per cent.

Likewise, investors lost N184.5 billion as market capitalisation declined to N13.2 trillion. However, activity level rose as average volume and value inched up 54.4 per cent and 28.5 per cent respectively to 311.3 million units and N6.4 billion respectively. ACCESS (146.0 million units), GUARANTY (97.3 million units) and ZENITH (66.9 million units) were the top traded stocks by volume while GUARANTY (N2.6 billion), MTNN (N1.8 billion) and ZENITH (N1.2 billion) led by value.

Buying interest in NESTLE, CCNN, MTNN and INTBREW buoyed the ASI by 14 basis points (bps) and 8bps respectively on Monday and Tuesday. However, the trading session on Wednesday ended bearish as the ASI dipped 97bps following losses in MTNN, NESTLE and DANGCEM. Following sell-offs in STANBIC, MTNN, NESTLE and DANGCEM, the benchmark index declined 17bps and 39bps on Thursday and Friday respectively.

Performance was bearish across sectors under our coverage W-o-W. Gains in CORNERSTONE (+28.6 per cent) and CONTINSURE (+12.4 per cent) moved the Insurance index up by 0.8 per cent to lead the gainers while the Banking index followed, rising 0.2 per cent following price appreciation in ACCESS (+6.2 per cent) and ZENITH (+4.7 per cent). Conversely, the AFR-ICT and Consumer Goods indices lost 1.3% apiece due to sell pressures in MTNN (-2.1 per cent), GUINNESS (-9.9 per cent) and CHAMPION (-9.8 per cent). Similarly, the Industrial Goods and Oil & Gas indices lost 1.0 per cent and 3bps respectively following price depreciation in DANGCEM (-3.9 per cent) and FORTE (-11.9 per cent).

Investor sentiment strengthened as market breadth (advance/decline ratio) increased to 0.8x from 0.7x as 27 tickers gained against 33 that lost. CORNERSTONE (+28.6 per cent), INTBREW (+23.1 per cent) and UACN (+21.0%) led the best performing stocks while UPL (-18.2 per cent), IKEJAHOTEL (-18.2 per cent) and TRIPPLEG (-16.2 per cent) led losers.

"We expect the bearish momentum to continue although there is room for gains due to opportunities for bargain hunting in fundamentally sound stocks", said analysts at Afrinvest.

Last week, the US and China resumed trade negotiations, but tensions worsened this week as both countries implemented new tariff measures and announced new ones. On September 1, 2019, the US applied 15.0 per cent tariff on $125.0 billion worth of Chinese imports as planned, with a further $156.0 billion expected to be affected by December 15.

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