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EFCC trains NSE staffs on anti-graft strategies

By Balogun Alabi

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has disclosed that it has commenced a five-day training for officers of the Nigerian stock exchange, to boost anti-graft war in the country.

As learnt, the training themed “Basic Investigation Training” was part of capacity building, collaboration, exchange of knowledge and skills between the two agencies in compliance with an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by the two bodies in 2013.

While speaking at the EFCC academy in Karu Abuja, the training coordinator, S.U. Sanusi, said that the training was designed to cover aspects of operations of both agencies

The coordinator said that the aspect of operations would be in line with Acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu’s determination towards enhancing the competence of investigating officers with aim of achieving foolproof investigations that would stand the test of prosecution in the Law court.

“The two agencies through this relationship rely on each other to conduct investigations of financial crimes especially on areas such as capital market fraud, insider abuse, securities/investment fraud amongst others” he said.

He stressed further that the training borders around investigative approach of the EFCC, intelligence gathering, cybercrime, digital and document forensics, money laundering, asset tracing/network analysis, corruption studies, inter-agency co-operation, overview of the Laws enforced by the EFCC amongst others.

“We at EFCC have enjoyed similar trainings from the NSE in areas of Capital market operations” he noted.

SEC faults 2017 budget appropriation, analyses negative impact on capital market

By Jide Ajia

Despite delay that characterized passage of 2017 budget, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has picked holes in appropriation of the yearly spending plan that, it has harmful effects in operation of the Capital Market.

SEC, the apex regulator of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), disclosed the economic undesirable effects while briefing finance and investment journalists after at its quarterly Capital Market Committee Meeting (CMC) held on Wednesday in Lagos.

The Director General, SEC, Munir Gwarzo, said indirect effects of budgets on the capital market could be negative when the federal government put upward pressures on inflation and interest rates, or cause uncertainties in the foreign exchange market.

He hinted further that inflation spiral could be a cause and consequence of exchange rate bubbles and the net effect of such pressures could be negative on the stock market, if urgent attention was not paid to correct it.

Gwarzo stressed the commission has looked at the theoretical links between the capital market and budget with the aid of historical microeconomic data for Nigeria, adding that expenditure has correlated with the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

He, however, recommended the federal government to keep a tab on deficit financing, adding that high budget deficits tends to increase cost of borrowing for any given country.

The SEC boss also canvassed that investor education efforts particularly on the role of capital market in economic development should be strengthened and widened to include targeting the policy makers, practitioners and academics.

In addition, Gwarzo averred that the National Pension Commission and Pension Funds Administrators (PFAs), should take active steps to encourage creation of pension investments portfolios that were more diversified by exposing younger workers to take a greater percentage of equities since they have a longer time horizon to invest.

The Head, Vertical Market Group, Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Samuel Goriola Oluyemi, on e-dividend mandate, stated that registrants stood at 2.1 million, while investors captured through NIBSS account currently stands at 838.68 million and total unique investors identified through Bank Verification Number (BVN) moved to 433.16 million.

While given further analyses of active investors in Nigerian capital market through e-dividend mandate, Oluyemi explained the ratio of male to female investors in the country was approximated at 2 to 1, while male investors constituted 65 per cent, the female counterpart contributed 35 per cent.

Oluyemi also disclosed to the financial press that investment statistics based on states of residence showed that investors in Lagos contributed 38 per cent, followed with Abuja based investors with eight percent and Rivers (6 per cent), Ogun and Oyo State (5 per cent) respectively.

Other investment statistics based on state of origin included investors who hailed from Anambra (10 percent), Imo (9 per cent); Ogun (9 percent); Delta (7 per cent) and Edo State contributed six per cent to the investment window.

Based on nationality, the NIBSS expert stated that investors in Nigeria, based on figures, were put at 421.37 million; Indian (146m); British (142m); Ghanaians (109); Lebanese (46m) and American investors in Nigeria capital market were 32 million.

Stock market reverts gaining streak, dips at 0.11 pct

By Jide Ajia

Equities trading on the floor of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), ended a seven session positive run on Thursday, with a 0.11 per cent decline of lead market indices.

In specific terms, the All-Share Index fell by 41.17 points to close at 38,102.85 basis points while the market capitalization dropped N14.2 billion to close at N13.133 trillion.

At the close of trading for the day, Forte Oil led the day’s 27 losers with a loss of 9.71 percent to close at N53.76 per share.

It was trailed by Oando, which dropped by five per cent to close at N7.22 per share while NASCON depreciated 4.99 per cent to close at N12.57 per share; Morison Industries and Dangote Sugar declined 4.85 per cent and 4.84 per cent to close at 98 kobo and N13.56 per share respectively.

On the flip side, Unilever led the day’s 20 gainers with an appreciation of five percent to close at N43.05 per share.

BOC Gases came second on the gainers list after adding 4.94 per cent to close at N3.61 per share and Conoil gained 4.38 per cent to close at N34.30 per share; Guinness and Wema Bank also added 4 per cent and 3.92 per cent respectively to close at N91 and 53 kobo per share.

Further checks on the trading statistics showed that Access Bank topped activity chart as investors traded a total of 69.8 million units valued at N712.4 million; Zenith Bank sold 58.8 million shares worth N1.4 billion, while FCMB exchanged 47.2 million units valued at N57.3 million.

Diamond Bank transacted 33.2 million shares at N43.2 million, and Guaranty Trust Bank exchanged 26.8 million shares worth N1.1 billion.

Investors in 4,055 deals moved a total of 362.7 million units of shares valued at N5.597 billion, compared to 328.7 million shares worth N6.1billion traded in 4,983 deals on Wednesday.

Investment expert predicts mixed performance for Nigerian stock market

By Jide Ajia

The Chief Operating Officer, InvestData, Ambrose Omordion, has predicted that activities at the nation’s exchange market in current week would be trailed with profit taking following fund managers window dressing.

Omordion added that the  market would witness profit taking after month-end dressing by fund managers and experience mixed performance due to expected account rebalancing by fund managers which would lead to profit taking in preparation for the month of August.

The investment expert, who spoke to journalists in a short interview on Monday, stated that the mixed performance would not last for longtime due to investors’ anticipation of more improved half year earnings yet to be released in the market.

He attributed recent market growth to investors’ last minute positioning for earnings expectations, adding that most of the earnings released last week beat market and analysts expectations.

He noted that positive economic data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), contributed to the market growth; Omordion, however, called for quick implementation of the 2017 budget to sustain the market and economic growth.

Meanwhile, at the close of first trading day for the week, a turnover of 2.21 billion shares worth N30.64 billion exchanged in 26,287 deals as against 3.63 billion shares valued at N34.89 billion were transacted in 19,834 deals.

Checks on daily trading statistical data showed that Financial Services industry led the activity chart with 1.74 billion shares worth N19.04 billion traded in 14,626 deals and contributed 78.45 per cent and 62.16 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively during the review period.

The Conglomerates sector followed with a turnover of 165.39 million shares worth N454.24 million achieved in 1,400 deals, while third place was occupied by Consumer Goods Industry with a turnover of 135.80 million shares valued at N6.68 billion exchanged in 4,143 deals.

As a result, the All-Share Index during the review period rose by 2,844.34 points or 8.36 per cent to close at 36,864,71, when compared with 34,020.37 posted in the previous week due to massive gains.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N11.725 trillion appreciated by N980 billion or 8.36 per cent to close at N12.705 trillion.

A breakdown of the price movement table showed Conoil led the gainers’ table in percentage terms, gaining 21.41 per cent or N6.42 to close at N36.40 per share, Presco followed with a gain of 20 per cent or N12.20 to close at N73.20, while Dangote Sugar Refinery increased by 19.34 per cent or N1.76 to close at N10.85 per share.

Conversely, Cadbury topped the losers’ chart for the week in percentage terms, dropping by 18.17 per cent or N2.32 to close at N10.45 per share.

Morrison Industries trailed with a loss of 17.58 per cent or 29 kobo to close at N1.36 and Livestock Feeds declined by 13.33 per cent or 12 kobo to close at 78 kobo per share.

Stock market index crosses 36,000 mark, hits N577bn value addition

By Jide Ajia

Trading activities on Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for third consecutive day on Wednesday, sustained bullish run with the All-Share Index rising by 4.88 per cent to cross 36,000 mark.

In specific terms, the index inched 1,675.30 points or 4.88 per cent to close at 36,740.77 compared to 35,065.47 posted yesterday.

Of the development, the market capitalisation rose by N577 billion or 4.77 per cent to close at N12.662 trillion against N12.085 trillion achieved a day before following gains by some highly capitalised equities.

A breakdown of the price movement table indicated that Dangote Cement led gainers table, growing by N11.50 to close at N245 per share.

It was followed by Total with a gain of N11.01 to close at N268 and Nigeria Breweries appreciated by N7.90 to close at N165.90 per share, Presco increased by N4.45 to close at N68.50, while Okomu Oil gained N3.67 to close at N70.87 per share.

On the other hand, Mobil topped the losers’ chart, declining by N1.50 to close at N253 per share.

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) trailed with a loss of 33 kobo to close at N10.08 and   Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) was down by 26 kobo to close at N5.43 per share.

Also, an analysis of the activity chart indicated that FBN Holdings emerged the most traded equity, accounting for 42.16 million shares worth N257.92 million, followed by UBA followed with an exchange of 33.94 million shares valued at N345.81 million and Zenith Bank sold 33.29 million shares worth N838.35 million.

Access Bank transacted 30.86 million shares worth N324.38 million, while Fidelity Bank sold 28.87 million shares valued at N39.29 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded closed higher as investors bought and sold 335.34 million shares worth N4.64 billion achieved in 5,385 deals in contrast to 288.58 million shares valued at N2.46 billion exchanged in 2,578 deals on Tuesday.

Exclusive: Market outlook indicates Nigerian economy emerging from recession

By Jide Ajia

Despite slow pace of economy in mend, emerging signals from across finance and investments clime have indicated that the nation’s industries have been recovering from two years recession,  20 years ago.

Although, paths leading to the recovering destinations have been clouded with many factors, but the recent approval of the long-delayed 2017 budget should provide greater policy certainty in the months ahead.

Against odds, the federal government in recent times appeared to be up in alms while looking for growth to eventually return any moment from the current half of 2017, including good earnings expected to be delivered by companies very soon.

In addition, oil production has increased so far 2017 as threat from Niger Delta militants recedes; however, despite Nigeria initially being excluded from further Organization of Petroleum exporting Countries (OPEC) output cuts, talks have been centered on whether to include the country in the deal in a bid to curb supply of oil  across international market and boost prices.

Encouragingly, the foreign exchange window introduced in April, which allows buyers and sellers to agree on an exchange rate, is succeeding in attracting dollars from abroad, with over $3 billion been traded since the launch, as well as stock market boom recorded in recent months.

To this end, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, intensified efforts by forwarding over N135 billion as virement for critical and prioritized projects from the bill, to House of Representative for approval.

Through a letter forward to the floor by the office of the acting president recently, the presidency provided, with breakdown, ministries and offices considered critical to be funded.

However, the letter which The Guild sighted after it was delivered at the floor of the lawmakers, listed ministry of transport, that of power, works and housing, and office of secretary to the government of the federation, as well as office of national security adviser as beneficiaries of the virement.

Others on the list were, ministry of society and technology, trade and investment, agriculture and rural development, interior, defense and education.

The prioritized ministries and office also includes federal capital territory administration, ministry of health, office of secretary to the government of the federation, ministry of labor and employment, information and culture, as well as communication technology.

Of course, the letter before the house of representatives had ministry of water resources, that of mine and steel development, as well as ministry of environment, as government offices the presidency put under critical need for funding.

In same development, Osinbajo also assured citizens of economic recovery  during his speech that commemorated June 12 election , adding that, from bleakness of recession to dawn of abundance was becoming a reality as indices indicated.

Osinbajo disclosed that the nation’s path to progress and abundance was clear, given that tools were in place and resilient, resourceful and hardworking Nigerian people were also set to go.

“I have no doubt that by the grace of God, the bleakness of recession is about to witness the uplifting dawn of abundance”, he said.

With Osinbajo’s statements of hope, assurance was becoming a reality following indices released on Tuesday that Inflation has fallen for fifth successive month, between February and June 2017, just as the Naira gains stability against dollar, and margin between interbank and parallel market rates been  narrowed considerably.

However, surveys by investment analysts indicated that Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index (NSE) recorde encouraging result in recent months, about 20 per cent higher than beginning of 2017 value, and surge was largely attributable to new Investors and Exporters Window (NAFEX) introduced by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in April.

In specific terms, transactions on NSE during current week closed with market capitalisation crossing to N12 trillion threshold for first time in over two years when it grew by N142 billion or 1.19 per cent to close at N12.085 trillion as against N11.943 trillion achieved on Monday.

Also, the All-Share Index moved to 35,000 mark, appreciating by 412.95 points or 1.19 per cent to close at 35,065.47 compared with 34,652.52 posted on Monday.

The Chief Operating Officer, InvestData, Ambrose Omordion, linked the growth to half year impresive report and interim dividends declared by some quoted companies.

Omordion added that investors’ anticipation of more improved half year earnings contributed to the current price rally witnessed on the floor of Exchange.

In the same vein, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in same week retained Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent due to uncertainties across global market.

However, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, explained that the MPC decided to retain MPR at 14 per cent, retained CRR at 22.5 per cent, the liquidity ratio at 30 per cent, assymetric corridor at 200 and of minus 500 bases point around the monetary policy rate.

Emefiele, disclosing outcome of 257th meeting of  MPC on Tuesday in Abuja, added that the MPR was not eased because it could signal the committees’ sensitivity to growth and employment concern by encouraging flow of credit to real economy.

According to him, the MPC noted the liquidity suffering in the banking system and continuous weakness in financial intermediation, even as the MPC also agreed on the need to support growth without jeopardizing price stability or offsetting other recovering macroeconomic indicators, particularly the relative stability in the Foreign Exchange market.

As a result, the Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves proved stable in recent months, even against a backdrop of continuing CBN intervention in the FX market.

Already, the new investors and Exporters Window (NAFEX) has picked up momentum and powered a turnaround in investor sentiments related to the FX market, with the window has traded around $3.8 billion since it launched on April 24, roughly a third of such volume has been supplied by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Nonetheless, the nation’s crude oil production has improved appreciably, coming in at 2.05 million barrels per day in June 2017, according to the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC’s) May 2017 operations report, average daily gas supply to Nigeria’s power plants has risen by 64 per cent, compared to a year ago, May 2016.

On account of rising exports and falling imports, Q1 2017 was the second consecutive quarter of positive trade balance when exports was greater than imports, after four quarters of negative balance.

Facts obtained from the CBN data from June 2017, showed a rise in Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of the health of the manufacturing economy, for the third consecutive month.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in Q1 2017 exports of agricultural goods grew in value by 82 per cent compared to Q4 2016 and manufactured goods exports in Q1 2017 were 45 per cent more than the value in Q4 2016, while Q1 2017 saw the fourth consecutive rise in exports since Q1 2016; amounting to a 109 per cent increase year on year.

SEC to sanction companies, capital market operations over tax default

By Jide Ajia

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a note of warning to all companies listed on the main-board of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and other stock market operators to adhere strictly to the latest regulation on tax compliance or face the full wrath of law if turned a deaf ear.

SEC, the apex regulatory body to all capital market operations in a statement made available to The Guild on Tuesday, stated that warning to the effect was informed by the executive order given by the Federal Government for all to comply with the new rule of Taxpayers on Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) or face penalty.

The Head of Corporate Communications and External Affairs, SEC, Naif Abdussalam, in the statement said to this end, the SEC was encouraging all taxpayers in the capital market to include Capital Market Operators (CMOs) and Public Limited Companies (PLCs) to comply with the new executive order ‘No. 004 on VAIDS’ before the expiration of the 9 month grace period as specified by the federal government.

It should be recalled that the executive order on VAID was signed by the Acting President Osinbajo on June 29, and it stated that, taxpayers who were under all relevant federal and state tax laws were advised to regularize their tax status by honestly declaring their assets and incomes from sources within and outside Nigeria.

Furthermore, the SEC wishes to state that commencing from March 31, 2018, all CMO’s and PLC’s shall be required to show evidence of compliance with VAIDS or a clean tax status as part of their mandatory submissions to the Commission and failure to comply with the public notice shall result in appropriate sanctions in accordance with the provision of law.

However, the decree of limitations for a tax investigation for honest returns was limited to six (6) years; there was no limit where a fraudulent return has been submitted for assessment.

“In a nutshell, all CMO’s and PLC’s are hereby duly advised to comply with the Executive Order by taking advantage of the nine (9) months grace period to rectify their tax status in complying with the order”, SEC statement stressed.

 

Research firm recommends Forte Oil shares to Investors

By Jide Ajia

A finance and investment solution firm, Meristem Securities, has placed buy recommendation for equity investors to take position in current shares of an indigenous oil and gas firm, Forte Oil.

The leading investment adviser stressed that the upgraded recommendation was a target price of N77.41 from N64.09, implying a 68 percent increase from the last close, matching a consensus average of N77.41.

It would be recalled that Meristem Securities recently advised investors in the equities market to hold shares of Forte Oil, following its prospects on the floors of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

However, one of the major global provider of financial news and analysis, said that investors who followed Meristem Securitas’s recommendation would have received a 58 percent return in the past year before today, compared with the negative 78 percent return on the shares.

Three years ago, Meristem Securities has rated Forte Oil hold once, buy once and sell once, even when the shares fell 23 percent in the period rated hold, it further fell 11 percent in the period rated buy and rose 146 percent in the period rated sell.

Analysts raised their consensus one-year target price for the stock by 4.8 percent in the past three months with forecasts range from N61.44 to N202.87.

Meristem Securities covers 21 companies; 10 were rated under review, 6 were rated hold, 3 were rated buy and 2 were rated sell. Also, foremost ratings and research agencies, Agusto and Co. and Global Credit Rating Co. (GCR), had recently affirmed Forte Oil investment grade rating.

Both agencies stated that the long term outlook for the oil and gas company remained stable and accorded to Forte Oil based on the company’s top-tier position in the Nigerian downstream sector, underpinned by a strong and visible brand, significant assets across the energy value chain, and strong relationships with suppliers, strong corporate governance framework, and an experienced and stable management team.

The stock closed flat on Friday at N57.96 per share with an EPS of N2.93 and PE ratio of N19.76.

Financial expert expresses optimism on CBN forex intervention sustainability 

By Jide Ajia

Satisfied with persistence currency injection by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), aimed at stabilizing the Naira against Dollar, a finance expert has expressed optimism on the apex bank’s capacity to sustain ongoing foreign exchange (forex) interventions in money market.

The expert, a chief consultant to Biodun Adedipe Associates, ‘Biodun Adedipe, said despite pressure on foreign exchange reserves and other issues around it, CBN has commenced a process that would earn it applause and commendation.

He expressed optimisms on Friday that already, the liquid portion of the reserves which stood at $29.62 billion, translates to 12.31 months of imports cover.

Adedipe, who spoke at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) half-year economic review held in Lagos, disclosed that on the 30-day moving average, the reserves have risen from $29.07 billion at end of 2015 to $30.36 billion in July 11.

He added that the exchange rate has gradually depreciated and been devalued to N168 to dollar at the end of 2014; N197 to dollar at end of 2015; N305 to dollar at the end of 2016 and N305.85 to dollar as at July 19, 2017.

Adedipe whose discussion was centered on Nigerian economy: First half 2017 and outlook’, said the required international benchmark was for external reserves to be able to sustain at least, six months of the import bill, adding that Nigeria was still doing great with its reserves covering over 12 months import cover.

The economist said that Nigeria’s total import figure for first half of this year was N2.2 trillion ($7.218 billion), with an average monthly figure of $2.406 billion.

He explained that due to recession, the current import figure was a decline from $14.171 billion or monthly average of $4.724 billion in the first quarter of 2015, adding that foreign trade had picked up since the first quarter of last year, with imports declining.

Adedipe described as aberration demands in some quarters that CBN should freely float the Naira, adding that no country in the world adopts such approach to exchange rate management; that the ongoing spike in naira exchange rate occurred after the CBN was pressured by several stakeholders to adopt flexible exchange rate system and freely float the Naira.

“That of course, was a huge aberration, as there is no country that freely floats its currency even the US – the job of the central bank is to defend and protect its currency by intervening in the markets as necessary. The voices are coming from  too many experts that know nothing other than to echo what the Breton Woods institutions have said,” Adedipe stated.

On interest rate, he stressed that the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which is benchmark rate, was raised to 14 per cent per annum in July 2016 from 12 per cent per annum; that changes in the MPR have not sufficiently impacted bank deposit/lending rates as well as changes in banking credit volumes.

“The most volatile interest rate variant is the inter-bank rate, which is more of a reflection of the liquidity in the banking system (Federal allocations) rather than of changes in the MPR. The deposit and prime lending rates moved in adverse directions, respectively with deposits becoming cheaper to the banks and borrowing more expensive to borrowing customers. But actual lending rates were much higher – mostly at 29 per cent and above,” he said.

According to Adedipe, maintaining the MPR at 14 per cent on the argument of inflation risk, stabilizing the exchange value of the naira and bond prices is more counter-productive to domestic productive activities than to investment in financial instruments.

“It only extenuates government’s cost of borrowing and makes government’s debt instruments very attractive to astute investors. This long spell of fixed MPR is also gradually making the rate to lose its strategic relevance as a signal rate,” he said.

Meanwhile, the financial expert also supported Federal Government’s plans to reflate the economy through borrowing, adding that such borrowed funds should not be used to fund recurrent expenditure, but should be used to fund infrastructure and projects that can generate enough resources to repay the loans.

He said when an economy was seeking to get out of recession, the typical response was for the government to embark on massive spending, which was referred to as fiscal stimulus, but often times, the government may lack the volume required and would therefore, have to borrow beyond the normal range for an economy that is either in boom or the recovery mode.

“No professional economist will argue against borrowing to stimulate a recessed economy. But the question will always be to spend on what? If the answer is infrastructure, my take is to go ahead and borrow as much as you can,” Adedipe advised.

Stock market resumes optimistic trading, indicators record 0.12 pct growth

By Jide Ajia

Equity trading on floor of Nigeria  Stock Exchange (NSE), commenced the week on positive note with major market indicators recording marginal growth of 0.12 per cent at close of trading for the day.

Although, investors mood remained cautious in spite of continued drop in inflation rate with June figure eased at 16.1 per cent as against 16.25 per cent in previous month, the fifth straight drop.

Specifically, the market capitalisation grew by N14 billion or 0.12 per cent to close at N11.477 trillion compared with N11.463 trillion achieved at close of work last week.

In the same vein, trading opened with an All-Share Index of 33,261.66 before it rose by 39.77 points or 0.12 per cent to close at 33,301.43.

An analysis of the price movement table showed that 7UP recorded the highest price gain to lead the gainers’ table for the day, gaining N5.72 to close at N94.95 per share.

It was trailed by Forte Oil with N4.33 to close at N60.50 and Unilever shares appreciated by N3.38 to close at N36.38 per share, Nigerian Breweries gained N3.36 to close at N157.38, while Flour Mills added N1.25 to end the market at N26.25 per share.

Conversely, International Breweries topped the losers’ chart, dropping by N1.46 to close at N30 per share. Also on the losing chart were PZ with a loss of 85k to close at N20.65 and Oando was down by 75k to end the market at N6.83 per share, NASCON shed 47k to close at N9.03 , while Dangote Sugar declined by 34k to close at N8.66 per share.

Similarly, the volume of shares traded on the floor of stock exchange closed on a higher note as investors bought and sold 322.81 million shares valued at N2.73 billion exchanged in 3,830 deals as against 311.61 million shares worth N3.27 billion transacted in 3,113 deals on at close of trade last week.

At the close of trading for the day, Niger Insurance recorded the highest volume of shares, trading 150.05 million shares worth N75.03 million; FBN Holdings came second with a total of 35.97 million shares valued at N213.76 million, while FCMB Group exchanged 14.85 million shares worth N17.95 million, United Bank for Africa sold 14.18 million shares valued at N125.23 million and Flour Mills traded 12.26 million shares worth N320.38 million.