Nigerian stocks closed the first quarter of the year posting a combined year to date negative return of 1.24%. Apart from the Premium and Industrial Goods indexes, most other indexes posted negative returns.
The first quarter of the year witnessed a slew of cautious investing as investors weighed the possible consequences of the 2019 general elections, Brexit, the US economy and other emerging market developments.
So while investors helped stocks close higher in February with a 6.41% pop, March performance dragged the index down falling by 2.14%.
Based on the data from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, about 44 stocks posted gains in the first quarter of the year. Out of the 44, 26 posted at least double-digit gains and one triple-digit gain.
C&I leasing was the stock that posted the best return in the first quarter of 2019 with a whopping 349% return. This is despite the fact the company is yet to publish its 2018 9 months and full year results. In its half-year results, pre-tax profits were only up by 20% while revenue was only up by 10% year on year respectively.
Other top gainers in the quarter included ABC Transport, Dangote Flour, and Julius Berger which gained, 83%, 49%, and 37% respectively.
Focusing on Julius Berger, the construction giant reported a 47% rise in earnings per share on the back of improved topline revenues.
Construction contracts, for example, rose from about N135 billion in 2017 to about N178.5 billion in 2018. The company also declared a final dividend of N2 per share sending the share price northwards.
There were about 63 stocks on the losers list with about 35 of them losing over double digits. Notable among the losers were GSK, Flour Mills, Nigeria Breweries and PZ Cussons losing 26, 22%, 22%, and 19% respectively.
GSK share price drop is rather surprising considering that it had a better result than the year before and also declared dividends.
Wema Bank Plc was the most actively traded stock today. 1.4 billion shares valued at N1.04 million were traded in 97 deals. United Bank of Africa Plc was next with 62.9 million shares, valued at N485 million traded in 296 deals. Chams Nigeria Plc rounds the top three most actively traded stocks today. 47.7 million shares, valued at N9.6 million were traded in 85 deals.
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