NSEInvestors returned to the stock market yesterday with renewed optimism about the prospects of quoted equities. Trading resumed yesterday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) after a two-day public holiday to celebrate Eid-ul-Kabir, Muslim’s largest festival.

The market mood was bullish as investors scrambled for petroleum-marketing stocks and other highly capitalised stocks. Four out of the five downstream majors recorded considerable gains, a rally that helped the market to sustain its rising capitalisation.

The main index at the NSE, the All Share Index (ASI), rallied to 37,257.35 points from its opening index of 37,051.14 points. Aggregate market capitalisation of all equities rose by N66 billion from N11.804 trillion to N11.870 trillion.

With nearly two advancers to a loser, the market position reflected both the preponderance of gainers and gains recorded by several highly capitalised stocks. Petroleum-marketing stocks led the bullish rally. Total Nigeria rose by N6.51 to close at N164. Forte Oil trailed with a gain of N5.41 to close at N58.33. Guinness Nigeria placed third with a gain of N3.45 to close at N250. Conoil added N1.51 to close at N31.75. Cadbury Nigeria chalked up N1.09 to close at N55. The trio of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mobil Oil Nigeria and Dangote Cement added N1 each to close at N83, N119 and N190 respectively. Lafarge Cement Wapco Nigeria and UAC of Nigeria rose by 50 kobo each to close at N99 and N63 respectively. International Breweries garnered 48 kobo to close at N20.99 while Guaranty Trust Bank rose by 43 kobo to N25.53 per share.

On the other hand, Ashaka Cement led the losers with a drop of N1 to close at N22. Okomu Oil Palm dropped by 55 kobo to N44.95. Zenith Bank lost 21 kobo to close at N21.63. University Press declined by 15 kobo to N3.85 while IHS slipped by 14 kobo to N2.66.

Market activity was above the average with investors indicating strong demand for banking stocks. Access Bank was the most active stock with a turnover of 36.84 million shares valued at N384.47 million in 280 deals. Guaranty Trust Bank trailed with a turnover of 33.28 million shares worth N847.36 million in 509 deals. Transnational Corporation of Nigeria was the most active stock with a turnover of 31.94 million shares valued at N53.03 million in 215 deals.

Total turnover stood at 284.1 million shares worth N3.89 billion in 4,950 deals. Banking subgroup accounted for 141.20 million shares valued at N1.84 billion in 1,865 deals.

Information from The Nation was used in this report.