Trading in the Nigerian equities market declined by N236 billion on renewed profit taking, as the bulls lost grip at the close of trading on Wednesday.

The All Share Index (ASI) fell by 657.07 points or 1.51 percent to 42,952.70 points. Accordingly, investors lost N236 billion in value as market capitalisation declined to N15.431 trillion.

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are Dangote Cement, Total Nigeria, Nestle Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries and Guaranty Trust Bank.

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited noted that “whilst market volatility yesterday was triggered by profit taking in bellwethers that gained in previous trading sessions, we expect investors to reposition in anticipation of full year, 2017, results.”

However, market breadth closed positive with 26 gainers against 23 losers. Eterna recorded the highest price gain of 10.15 percent, to close at N6.40 per share. Japaul Oil gained eight per cent to close at 81 kobo, while Consolidated Hallmark Insurance appreciated by 6.06 per cent to close at 35 kobo per share.

NEM Insurance went up by five per cent to close at N2.52, while AG Leventis appreciated by 4.92 per cent to close at 64 kobo per share.

On the other hand, Unity Bank led the losers’ chart by 9.24 per cent, to close at N1.67 per share. Wapic Insurance shed 6.45 per cent to close at 58 kobo, while Unic Diversified Holdings depreciated by five per cent to close at 19 kobo per share.

Sterling Bank dipped by 4.26 per cent to close at N1.80, while John Holt shed 4.17 per cent to close at 46 kobo per share.

The total volume traded also declined by 39.32 per cent to 270.33 million shares, worth N5.18 billion, and traded in 4,799 deals. Transactions in the shares of Zenith Bank topped the activity chart with 64.6 million shares valued at N2.01 billion. Japaul Oil followed with 17.48 million shares worth N14.16 million, while Sterling Bank traded 16.9 million shares valued at N30.91 million.

Fidelity Bank traded 16.89 million shares valued at N50.87 million, while Transcorp transacted 14.25 million shares worth N28.05 million.