The Nigeria bourse remained on the downbeat as negative sentiments lingers. At the close of trading Wednesday, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index shed 0.79 per cent to close lower 32,454.03. Similarly, market capitalisation lost N94.1 billion to close at N11.9 trillion.
Although 15 stocks appreciated, compared with 14 that depreciated, the presence of bellwethers such as Dangote Cement Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and FBN Holdings Plc among others led to the negative close.
However, Niger Insurance Plc led the price losers’ table with 8.8 per cent, trailed by Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc with 7.1 per cent. Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc followed with 4.3 per cent, while Jaiz Bank Plc, AIICO Insurance Plc and Nigerian Breweries Plc shed 3.8 per cent, 3.7 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.
On the positive side, Diamond Bank Plc led the bulls, chalking up 5.0 per cent, trailed by Cutix Plc with 4.8 per cent. Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc and LASACO Assurance Plc added 4.3 per cent and 3.2 per cent in that order, just as Fidelity Bank Plc garnered 2.7 per cent.
The bank last week reported improved results for the half year (H1) ended June 30, 2018.
Details of audited H1 results indicated that Fidelity Bank Plc recorded gross earnings of N88.917 billion, up from N85.821 billion. Fees and commission income increased from N9.411 billion to N13.703 billion. Profit Before Tax (PBT) jumped from N10.2 billion to N13.010 billion from N10.2 billion. Profit After Tax (PAT) rose by 31 per cent to close at N11.8 billion from N9.03 billion recorded in 2017.
Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, attributed the impressive performance to the disciplined approach in managing the balance sheet growth of the bank, it is strategic cost containment initiatives, focused attention to chosen business segments and determined execution of its retail and digital banking strategy.
He said: “Gross earnings, net fee and commission income all grew primarily due to the increase in transactional activities. Our digital banking initiative continues to gain traction with almost 40 per cent of our customers now enrolled on our mobile/internet banking products and over 80 percent of total transactions now done on our digital platforms.”
Meanwhile, commenting on trading session of Wednesday, analysts at Meristem said: “Selling pressure dominated across many counters in the market, in line with the prevalent bearish sentiment. The negative return in particular was due to the losses by the heavily weighted stocks in the market.”