Nigerian Stock Market: Review of 2016 and Outlook for 2017


Friday, December 30, 2016 3.20 pm / TheAnalyst

The Nigerian stock market maintained a bearish outlook to close the year 2016 on a negative note by 6.17% as against 17.36% loss posted in the year 2015. This translates to an average monthly loss of 0.27% as against 1.34% recorded for the previous year.

While the equities market extends 2years losing streak to post 3yrs loss of -34.97%, investors’ confidence remained significantly low as market net worth had declined by N3.98trillion in the last three years.  Though, a waning bearish momentum was observed in the year when compared with the previous year performance.

In the year 2016, the Nigerian stock market was largely dominated by cautious and speculative tendencies despite cheap valuations across board on the back of weak investors’ confidence, which was driven mainly by a shrink in the economy.

The uncertainty built around FX availability, monetary policies coupled with some tough fiscal policies in the year further weakened investors' confidence towards investment in equities in the year.

Further Analysis revealed that market maintained similar trading pattern in the last 3years.

We have observed constant bullish outlook in quarter two of each year in the last 3years as revealed by extensive data analysis.

This buttresses our position on high speculative tendency noted above as quarter two is known as rewards (dividend and bonus) season where yield hunters and short-term traders would increase activities.

In the addition, other quarters reflected the realities of a weak economy as quoted companies reported significant weakness in their cash-flow, revenue and profit-base due to the impact of the shrink in the economy during the year, which have altered their valuations and fundamentals accordingly. This must have contributed to the continued bearish and negative returns for the year 2016.

Furthermore, we observed from a technical standpoint that Nigerian stock market maintained bearish outlook in mid-long term period while it retains neutral position in short term period- this further suggests weak investors' confidence as negative market breadth in the last 3yrs had indicated.

The market has been on the downtrend since 2014 and remained battered below its peak of 43,000 recorded in 2014. In 2016, the market opened at 28370.32bpts and traded between the range of 31,071.25 (year high) and 22,456.32 (year low) to close at 26,874.62bpts, shedding 1,767.63bpts for the year. 

However, while we remain optimistic that ASI may not trade below 22,000bpts in the near term, market sentiments maintain bearish bias as long as the key benchmark index is trading below 36,000 psychological line- a key resistance point recorded in the year 2015.

In the last 3yrs, several failed recoveries towards 43,000bpts (2014 peak) have been observed. A trade above 31,000bpts (1st resistance) and 36,000bpts (2nd resistance) is expected to trigger a sustainable price recovery above 42,000bpts. 

Market Turnover Review 

Nigerian stock market closed the year 2016 with negative market turnover to sustain the negative turnover posture. Market volume and value turnover declined by 6.86% and 40.23% to close at 86.21billion units and N566.24billion as volume and value traded in the year respectively. An unimpressive performance trend was observed when compared with a decline of 10.21% and 28.92% recorded in volume and value traded for the year 2015 respectively.

In similar pattern, the market net worth maintained a steady decline pattern, posting N603.68billion loss for the year as against N1.63trillion loss recorded in year 2015. This reflects further a significant erosion of investors’ confidence as noted above.  

Gainers and Losers 

Dangote Flour Plc and United Capital Plc led the top 10 best performing stocks in the year.

Forte Oil Plc and Skyebank Plc led the top 10 worst performing stocks in the year.

Top 10 traded stocks in year 2016 

Wema Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc led the top 10 traded stocks by volume turnover in the year.

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc led the top 10 traded stocks by value turnover in the year. 

Financial service and Consumer Goods sectors are most patronised sectors by value and volume turnover in the year.

Sectoral Review 

NSE Premium and NSE Banking are only sectoral indices that closed in green zone with 6.98% and 2.17% gain respectively. However, other 9 sectoral indices closed in red, led by NSE Industrial Goods and NSE Oil & Gas with -26.37% and -12.31% loss respectively.

Outlook for 2017  

The developments in the global oil market, liquidity level in the foreign exchange markets, and realignments in fiscal and monetary policies would dictate trading pattern and performance of stock market in 2017.   

In the absence of a proper management, policies to stimulate economic growth and favourable developments from these economic indicators, market performance in the coming year may remain bleak.

In addition, the proposed hike of interest rate by US government would strengthen dollar and this has strong tendency to steer volatility across emerging economies and markets, particularly in Nigeria as the existing problems of shortage of dollar would be compounded. This may indirectly contract the economy further and impact stock market significantly.

Having said this, Analysis into key factors that drove Nigerian stock market into bearish mode showed that these issues are largely unresolved- this may extend the dampened appetite towards investment in equities in year 2017 as market is now witnessing an economic-driven trading pattern in the absence of favourable fiscal policies to boost risk appetite. Some of the unresolved key issues are discussed below.

No market likes uncertainty. The lack of clarity around economic plan was high in 2016. the delay in clear economic road map, after the high socio-political and economic tension that was engineered during the 2015 election, kept both foreign and local investors into limbo- a confused state which halted and erased the euphoria and unprecedented stock market rally (N1.1trillion gain) that followed the successful election- this continued to dictate market behaviour till Q1'2016 while the bleak economic outlook in the year remained unchanged. We expect a better and economic plan in 2017.

The interest rate and foreign exchange rates saga: The uncertainty about FX policy and deregulations of the Naira coupled with other bearish macroeconomic fundamentals have encouraged the Foreign investors to maintain sideline trading approach as foreign portfolio in the year maintained steady decline in 2016- the economic recession and over exposure of foreign investors to foreign exchange risk have played major role in keeping foreign investors on the sideline and subsequently impacted the bearish run in the market. In 2017, the FX issue still lingers and it would be a determinant factor.

The unimpressive earnings, rising NPL and weak profitability postures of quoted firms across board, particularly in the banking subsector, which reflected the impact of macroeconomic hardship and difficult operating environment. The banks are facing liquidity and forex challenges while the non-performing loans within the sector continue to growth unabatedly above 5% threshold. This cannot be isolated from economic recession. In 2017, we believe that the recovery of the economy would aid the recovery of financial sector at large, which may impact market positively. This may not happen until government revenue improves significantly.

Nevertheless, we expect the passage of PIB that is in second reading phase in the national assembly to be a game changer in the year 2017 as this would aid economic activities particularly in Oil and Gas sub-sector.

On the last note, the early passage and implementation of 2017 budget would also play major role to ease liquidity challenges and halt the sliding posture of the economy as government remains the major spender and influencer in any economy. Though, the insignificant role given to private sector in stimulating economic growth according to highlights from budget 2017 shows that the recovery rate would be slow in year 2017, which may encourage more savings over investments. 

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