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CBN Investigation: Banks Sustain Positive Outlook On NGX



Banking stocks on the Nigerian Exchange Limited maintained their positive trend as the local bourse shed N139bn on the first trading day after the Christmas holiday.

The All-Share Index and the market capitalisation dipped by 0.34 per cent to 73,768.64 and N40.367tn respectively, consequently, the year-to-date gain of the ASI slipped to 43.94 per cent.

However, the banking index on the NGX marginally increased to 889.15 on Wednesday from 887.60 on Friday.

A closer look at the performance of the banking stocks showed that FCMB Group rose by 4.79 per cent, Fidelity Bank, 0.95 per cent, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, 0.50 per cent, and Jaiz Bank Plc, 8.75 per cent. Unity Bank Plc shares appreciated by 2.50 per cent while Zenith Bank gained 0.26 per cent and Access Holdings Plc gained 0.22 per cent.

On the flip side, Stanbic IBTC Holdings’ share value dipped by 6.01 per cent, Sterling Financial Holdings Company Plc shed 1.11 per cent, FBN Holdings Plc lost 1.04 per cent and United Bank for Africa also shed 0.39 per cent. Both Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and Wema Bank closed flat.

Market breadth which is the measure of investors’ sentiment, was positive resulting in 40 gainers and 21 losers.

During trading, sell-offs were observed in stocks such as UAC Nigeria, DEAPCap, Caverton, Royal Exchange and Tantalizer, as their respective share prices dropped by 10 per cent, 7.25 per cent, 6.59 per cent, 6.25 per cent and 6.12 per cent.

Trading activity improved as the total deals and traded volume increased by 40.55 per cent and 2.27 per cent to 8,901 trades and 432.91 million units, whilst the traded value declined by 21.99 per cent to N12.94bn.

Sector-wise, investor sentiment was positive. The Insurance index led gainers with a 3.06 per cent increase, followed by the Oil/Gas and Banking indexes with a gain of 0.24 per cent and 0.17 per cent respectively.

However, the Consumer and Industrial Goods sectors experienced declines of 0.15 per cent and 1.10 per cent due to sell-offs.

After the trading session, Jaiz Bank emerged as the most traded security by volume with 35.38 million units worth N58.74 million, changing hands in 203 trades, while Geregu led in traded value at N6.06bn.

The gainers were led by stocks of Eterna, Axa Mansard, and Multiverse TERNA, with 10 per cent, 9.96 per cent, and 9.95 per cent gains respectively.

Meanwhile, fears of a run on the banks in some quarters didn’t materialise. There had been concerns that in the aftermath of the Central Bank of Nigeria special investigator report which alleged that the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, used his cronies to acquire some banks including Keystone Bank, Polaris Bank and Union Bank, customers would be queuing to withdraw their money.

The report went on to advise the Federal government to take over the banks, strengthen them and sell them off.

However, visits to some banks’ branches, including the head office of Union Bank of Nigeria on Lagos Island, revealed that operations ran as usual with the exception that most banks’ Automated Teller Machines were not loaded with cash as of Wednesday morning.

At the Union Bank head office, the teller told our reporter that only N20,000 can be accessed via the counter.

The ATMs at the First Bank branch on Customs Street, Lagos Island, were also empty, same with the Wema Bank and Polaris Bank branches on Broad Street.

Also, the CBN in a statement signed by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Hakama Sidi-Ali, allayed fears about the security of customers’ deposits.

The statement issued on Wednesday said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has noticed reports, in certain media outlets, about a recommendation for the Federal Government to take over some CBN-supervised financial institutions.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerian banks remain safe and sound. The CBN encourages the public to continue their regular activities without being alarmed by reports that have not emanated from the CBN about the health status of Nigerian banks.”

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