By Bashir Olanrewaju and Chuks Emele
The Nigerian Stock Exchange set off a circuit breaker that halted trading on Thursday as share prices surged.
“The NSE All-Share Index rose beyond the set threshold of 5 percent, triggering a 30-minute trading halt of all stocks,” the stock exchange said in a statementon its website.”This was the first time that the circuit breaker had kicked in since its introduction in 2016.”
The buying surge, spurred by an apparent prevalence of cheaply valued securities and the prospect of good yields, saw the market close 6.2 percent higher, its best single-day performance in more than five years. Stocks also appear to be gaining from current low interest rates in the money market and in fixed income securities.
All key stocks in banking, health, food and beverages, the conglomerates and information and communications technology sectors were all buoyed by the positive sentiment. Sterling Bank, Zenith Bank and First Bank led gainers with moves of 9-10 percent, with Lafarge Africa, Unilever and Dangote Cement keeping pace.
The All-Share Index closed at 35,342.46 points, its highest since 29 August 2018. The market has gained 32 percent this year, most of it since August, after recovering from the initial doldrums it fell into as the coronavirus pandemic shut down economies around the globe.