Following losses suffered by many blue-chip stocks, especially MTN Nigeria and African Prudential, the Nigerian equities market resumed trading for the month of December on a negative note yesterday, as market capitalisation declined by N410 billion.

In summary, the All-Share Index (ASI) dipped by 784.89 absolute points, representing a decrease of 1.81 per cent, to close at 42,463.16 points. Similarly, the overall market capitalisation value declined by N410 billion to close at N22.157 trillion.

The market’s negative performance was driven by price depreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks, which include, MTNN, Africa Prudential, Access Bank, Flour Mills of Nigeria and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI).

Analysts at Vetiva Dealings and Brokerage said: “We do not expect a major deviation from today’s trading session, as investors continue to take profit on some stocks, while buying up other fundamentally sound names.”

Afrinvest said; “In the next trading session, we anticipate a modest recovery in the market as investors take advantage of bargain opportunities.”

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As measured by market breadth, market sentiment was negative, as 23 stocks shed value while15 others gained.

Cornerstone Insurance recorded the highest price gain of 7.69 per cent to close at 56 kobo. AXA Mansard Insurance followed with a gain of 7.55 per cent to close at N2.28 kobo. Chams went up five per cent to close at 21 kobo. Nigerian Exchange Group (NGXGroup) rose by 3.66 per cent to close at N17.00, while FTN Cocoa processors appreciated by 2.56 per cent to close at 40 kobo.

On the other hand, MTNN led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent to close at N171.00, per share. African Prudential followed with a decline of 7.69 per cent to close at N6.00, while UACN Property Development Company (UPDC) shed 7.48 per cent to close at 99 kobo.

Royal Exchange declined 5.56 per cent to close at 51 kobo, while Honeywell Flour Mills shed 5.32 per cent to close at N3.74 kobo.

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Meanwhile, the total volume of trades increased by 49.2 per cent to 335.480 million units, valued at N3.552 billion, and exchanged in 3,891 deals.

Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings (FBNH) topped the activity chart with 133.995 million shares valued at N1.574 billion. Universal Insurance followed with 36.194 million shares worth N7.239 million, while Zenith Bank traded 18.339 million shares valued at N440.114 million.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) traded 13.593 million shares valued at N334.804 million, while Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) transacted 10.536 million shares worth N10.188 million.