NIGERIAN equities recorded their largest loss in more than a month on Thursday as losses by telecommunication companies dragged the benchmark index down by 1.86 per cent, equivalent to net capital depreciation of N265 billion. The All Share Index (ASI)- the benchmark index declined by 543.70 points or 1.86 per cent to close at 29,256.60 points, its largest loss since May 27, 2019. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities dropped by N265 billion to close at N13.993 trillion. The month-to-date and year-to-date losses worsened to 4.18 per cent and 8.65 per cent respectively. The negative market situation was driven by losses suffered large-cap stocks including MTN Nigeria Communications, Airtel Africa, Nestle Nigeria and Dangote Cement. There were 10 gainers against 18 losers. Sovereign Trust Insurance recorded the highest price gain, in percentage terms, of 4.76 per cent, to close at 22 kobo, per share. Courteville Business Solution followed with a gain 4.55 per cent to close at 23 kobo, while Guaranty Trust Bank appreciated by 3.27 per cent to close at N30, per share. Lafarge Africa went up by 1.11 per cent to close at N13.70, while Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) appreciated by 0.99 per cent to close at N1.02, per share. On the other hand, AXA Mansard Insurance led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent, to close at N1.80, per share. Airtel Africa followed with a decline of 9.99 per cent to close at N323.50, while CCNN went down by 9.77 to close at N13.85, per share. Consolidated Hallmark Insurance lost 9.09 per cent to close at 30 kobo, while Nestle Nigeria shed 4.833 per cent to close at N1,280, per share. The total volume traded declined marginally by 0.18 per cent to 188.43 million shares, worth N3.17 billion, and traded in 3,105 deals. Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings topped the activity chart with 50.12 million shares valued at N302.31 million. Zenith Bank followed with 21.13 million shares worth N404.32 million, while Access Bank traded 18.89 million shares valued at N125.52 million. United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 13.10 million shares valued at N77.47 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank transacted 13 million shares worth N380.71 million. Analysts at Afrinvest Securities said they expected the downward trend to continue in the near term. Analysts however noted the that the steep decline presents opportunities to position in value stocks. “Our outlook for equities in the short to medium term remains conservative, amidst the absence of any catalyst to drive positive market returns,” Cordros Securities stated.