Amid speculations of a possible exclusion from the Morgan Stanley Capital International Frontier Markets Index, Nigerian equities raced southwards on Monday.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange’s market capitalisation dropped by N234bn to N8.478tn from N8.712tn at the close of trading on Monday.
The consultation followed the introduction of restrictions on foreign currency trading, MSCI said in a statement, adding that it would announce its decision on or before April 29.
Analysts at Vetiva Capital Management Limited expect the exclusion, if it crystallises, to significantly impact the market, with estimated $500m of the MSCI benchmarked money invested in Nigeria.
A total of 225.289 million shares valued at N750.228m were traded in 3,058 deals on Monday. The NSE ASI, however, dropped to 24,648.84 basis points from 25,328.07 recorded at the close of trading on Friday.
The financial services sector (-375bps) led the decline as Zenith Bank Plc (-420bps), Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (-493bps) and Guaranty Trust Bank (-210bps) opened to sell pressure.
Likewise, the consumer goods sector (-171bps) retreated as bellwether Nigerian Breweries Plc (-446bps) succumbed to profit-taking, as Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (-93bps), Honeywell Flour Mill Plc (-426bps) and Unilever Nigeria Plc (-17bps) all declined.
The industrial goods sector (-280bps) also remained under water. Notably, heavyweight Dangote Cement Plc (-479bps) was marked down for dividend payment.
Equity Assurance Plc topped both the volume chart for the second consecutive session, trading 44 million units, while Nigerian Breweries Plc topped the value chart, trading one million units worth N118m.
The NSE ASI and NSE 30 lost 268bps and 2,6019bps, putting year-to-date returns at -13.94 per cent and -16.08 per cent, respectively.
The market recorded a turnover of N750m on 225 million shares. The value and volume traded were below March averages by 26 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively.
The market breadth remained negative with 16 advances and 24 declines.
Caverton Offshore Support GAP Plc, Axa Manasard Insurance Plc and Nascon Allied Industries Plc led the gainers chart, advancing by 4.86 per cent, 4.84 per cent and 4.79 per cent, respectively; while Nigeria-German Chemicals Plc, Union Bank Nigeria Plc and Fidson Healthcare Plc led the losers chart, declining by 9.72 per cent, 9.64 per cent and 9.40 per cent, respectively.
Analysts expect the negative news flow from the MSCI, which has triggered risk-off sentiments, to continue to dictate trading in the sessions ahead.