Despite concerns over rising inflation, interest rate hikes, and weak macroeconomic indicators, investor confidence in Nigeria’s stock market has remained strong, making the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) one of the best-performing exchanges in Africa during a three-month period.
According to African Markets, a website that tracks the performance of African stock exchanges, the Ghana Stock Exchange emerged as the top performer with a gain of 22.84%, while NGX came in second with a gain of 19.33%. The Malawi Stock Exchange followed with a gain of 15.79%.
This positive development has propelled the Nigerian stock market to a 15-year high due to strong positive sentiments. The market capitalization, which is the listed value of equities, started the trading month of August at N35.011 trillion and closed the month at N36.422 trillion, gaining N1.41 trillion. Similarly, the All-Share Index (ASI), which measures the performance of Nigerian stocks, opened the month at 64,337.52 index points and closed at 66,548.99 points, gaining 2,211.47 basis points or 3.44%.
The bullish trend is attributed to investors’ interest in low, medium, and high-capitalized stocks across major sectors. Favorable policies introduced by President Bola Tinubu’s administration, such as the removal of fuel subsidies and exchange rate unification, have also contributed to the positive sentiment. Additionally, investors have strategically positioned themselves to take advantage of record earnings posted by quoted firms and the formation of the country’s economic cabinet and executives.
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Market analysts suggest that many investors, particularly domestic ones, remain optimistic that the economy will recover soon. This optimism is reflected in the stock market’s performance despite current macroeconomic uncertainties.
Cordros Research, in their market review and outlook, titled “Veering from the Watershed Point,” highlighted the equities market’s resilience as a sign of heightened investor optimism for domestic growth. The report emphasized that policy reforms, accommodative monetary policies, and strong corporate earnings have supported buying activities in August. It also projected a positive return of 25.8% for the market in the full year of 2023, despite expectations that foreign investors may remain cautious due to foreign exchange illiquidity issues.