Stocks shed N20bn as insurance firms lead losers

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’Femi Asu

Investors lost N20bn on Wednesday as the nation’s stock market extended its decline to the third consecutive trading session amid profit-taking.

Five insurance stocks were among the top six losers at the end of trading on Wednesday.

The market had on Monday started the month on a negative note, ending a five-day gaining streak.

The market capitalisation of equities listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange had risen by 3.44 per cent last week as the market continued its upward trend for five consecutive trading sessions.

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Investors gained over N1tn in January as the market capitalisation rose to N22.19tn on Friday from N21.06tn at the start of the month.

The NSE All-Share Index, however, dropped by 0.13 per cent on Monday to 42,357.90 basis points from 42,412.66bps last Friday, while the market capitalisation fell to N22.16tn from N22.19tn.

The ASI fell further on Tuesday to 42,043.79bps while the market capitalisation lost N70bn to close at N21.99tn.

On Wednesday, the benchmark index dipped by 0.10 per cent to 42,000.01bps while the market capitalisation declined by N20bn to N21.970tn.

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Twenty-seven stocks recorded price reduction on Wednesday, with Linkage Assurance Plc topping the losers’ table as its share price dipped by 9.88 per cent to N0.73.

Other top losers were Champion Breweries Plc, Regency Alliance Insurance Plc, African Alliance Insurance Plc, Wapic Insurance Plc and Niger Insurance Plc.

Nineteen stocks, led by NCR Nigeria Plc, recorded gains at the end of trading.

It was followed by Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Prestige Assurance Plc, McNichols Plc and Eterna Plc.

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Analysts at Cordros Capital Limited noted that the bearish sentiments persisted in the equities market, following profit-taking on Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Wapco Insurance Plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated stocks.

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