The Nigerian stock market yesterday experienced a break-even rally led by the Forte Oil Plc as the petroleum company announced that it had been awarded contract to lift crude oil by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Forte Oil’s share price rose by N12.10 to close at N254.10, representing an increase of 5.0 per cent. In a statement, Forte Oil stated that it was awarded the crude oil lifting contract by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) after it bid successfully scaled through the tender by the national oil corporation.
Forte Oil’s announcement reverberated in the oil and gas sector. Another oil major, Total Nigeria recorded the second highest gain, in value terms, with a gain of N7.20 to close at N152.20, representing an increase of 4.97 per cent. Oando, another oil major, rose by 25 kobo or 4.80 per cent to close at N5.46 per share.
The gains by the oil majors pushed the NSE Oil and Gas Index to the top with above average gain of 3.0 per cent. The NSE Insurance Index rose by 0.8 per cent. The NSE Industrial Goods Index appreciated by 0.3 per cent while the NSE Banking Index improved by 0.1 per cent.
The average benchmark index at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the All Share Index (ASI), rallied on the back of the gains by the oil majors to close with a modest gain of 0.02 per cent, its first increase in four trading sessions. The ASI rose from 26,948.43 points to close at 26,953.05 points. This moderated the average year-to-date return to -22.23 per cent.
Aggregate market value of all quoted equities also rose marginally from N9.265 trillion to close at N9.267 trillion. With 29 gainers to 12 losers, the market performance was driven by both widespread bargain-hunting and improved appetite for large-cap stocks.
Other top gainers included Unilever Nigeria, which rose by N1.45 to close at N45.50; Okomu Oil Palm added N1.34 to close at N28.34 and Lafarge Africa, which rose by N1.10 to close at N92.44 per share. Champion Breweries was the most active stock with a turnover of 36.72 million shares worth N128.89 million in six deals.
On the other hand, Mobil Oil Nigeria led the losers with a loss of N6.57 to close at N125.84. Nigerian Breweries followed with a loss of N2.23 to close at N118.79. UAC of Nigeria dropped by N1.07 to close at N20.43. Dangote Cement declined by N1.05 to close at N155.05 while Union Bank of Nigeria dropped by 29 kobo to close at N5.70 per share.