The bears maintained their grip on the Nigerian Exchange on Tuesday, as the All-Share Index dipped 1.39  per cent .

Investors lost N773bn underpinned on sell-offs as the market capitalisation to settle at N55.04tn.

The market’s year-to-date return lowered to 34.52  per cent.

Market Breadth, which is the measure of investors’ sentiment, was negative resulting in 27 losers and 10 gainers.

The gainers were led by Africa Prudential Plc, which gained 9.86  per cent to close at N7.80; Omatek’s shares appreciated by also 9.86  per cent to close at N0.78 and Juli Plc gained 9.73  per cent to close trading at N2.82.

After days of positive trading, the shares of FBN Holdings declined by 10  per cent to close at N30.60.

FBN Holdings had emerged as the most capitalised financial firm on Monday.

Other losers include Multiverse and MTN Nigeria, whose shares also dipped by 10  per cent and 9.94  per cent to close at N15.30 and N222.90,  respectively.

Transcorp emerged as the most traded security by volume with 44.41 million units traded in 535 trades, while NASCON was the most traded stock in terms of value totalling N893.68m

Transaction volume for the day recorded 280.46 million, compared to the previous day’s 277.48 million units valued at N6.12bn from 9,141 deals.

The number of stocks traded at the close of the day’s session stood at 122.

Across sectors, bearish sentiments were widespread, notably in the banking, insurance and consumer goods sectors, which recorded declines of 3.35 per cent, 2.19 per cent and 0.17 per cent respectively, driven by sell-sentiments in key stocks like FBN Holdings, NASCON Industries, MTN Nigeria, Axa Mansard, United Bank for Africa and AccessCorp.

Likewise, the industrial goods index closed southward by 0.05 per cent due to negative price movement in Multiverse and Lafarge Africa. The Oil & Gas index remained muted.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Arthur Steven Asset Management, Tunde Amolegbe, said that there may be a significant pullback in the equities market following the decision of the Monetary Policy Committee to increase the benchmark rate by 400 basis points to 22.75 per cent.

The MPC met for the first time this year and increased the MPR as well as the Cash Reserve Requirements of banks from 32.5 per cent to 45 per cent, a new high in the sub-Saharan African region.

Amolegbe said, “It is clear the MPC has decided to attack inflation aggressively by reducing liquidity through raising interest rates as well as limiting credit within the system. Increasing MPR by 400 basis points is unprecedented and it is a show of intent. Hopefully, this will lead to an increased inflow of FX through FPIs and redirect liquidity that would ordinarily be chasing FX speculation. This could lead to further stability in the FX market.

“On the other hand higher MPR could mean higher borrowing costs for corporates that are already carrying significant FX revaluation losses.”

According to him, the possibility of increased loan defaults and rising NPL could result for banks.

“For the equities market, there is likely to be a significant price correction as investors look toward the fixed-income market,” he noted.