The bears remained in control of the market yesterday as sell pressure continued. Owing to this, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) fell by 0.02 per cent to close at 24,750.06, while market capitalisation shed N2 billion to close at N12.9 trillion.

However, the decline was marginal considering the depreciation of 0.29 per cent recorded the previous day. Although a total of 23 stocks depreciated compared with nine that appreciated, gains by MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Zenith Bank Plc mitigated the losses. Hence, the relative lower decline witnessed by the benchmark index yesterday.

Unity Bank Plc led the price losers with 10 per cent, trailed by Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc with 9.8 per cent. Ikeja Hotel Plc shed 9.5 per cent. Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc went down by 9.3 per cent as investors continued to take profit in the stock.

Neimeth had jumped by over 102 per cent within two weeks when the company announced a growth of 939 per cent in profit after tax for the six months’ results.

The company had recorded growths across its two business segments of pharmaceuticals products and animal health products with the animal health products showing strong prospects for the top-line with 897.5 per cent growth during the period.

And the Managing Director, of the company, Matthew Azoji, had said the half-year showed early gains of the company’s five-year strategic plan, noting that the company would vigorously expand and reposition its businesses to cement its position as a leading player in not only Nigeria’s healthcare industry but also in the wider West African region while simultaneously ensuring good returns on investment to shareholders.

However, after a record gain in price, some holders of the shares are now selling to lock in part of the capital gain, a development that has led to a decline in the stock price since last week.

Chams Plc also declined yesterday, shedding 8.7 per cent, just as AIICO Insurance Plc dipped by 7.2 per cent. The insurance firm last week applied to raise additional funds from existing shareholders through a rights issue.

On the positive side, UACN Property Development Company Plc led the price gainers with 7.6 per cent, followed by Transcorp Plc with 2.8 per cent. Oando Plc and MTN Nigeria Plc chalked up 2.0 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively among others.

Activity level improved as volume and value traded rose 34.7 per cent and 17.4 per cent to 167.9 million shares and N1.5 billion respectively.

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