It was a volatile and bearish February on the Nige­rian Exchange, as the benchmark NGX All Share index halted four consecutive months of growth in the midst of high selling sentiment and oscillation.

This is despite the bullish opening un January, being the post- election year that was short-lived by profit taking and selloffs in reaction to higher yield outlook in the fixed income market and the hawkish move of the central bank.

The negative sentiment and mixed trend during the period was attributed to portfolio rebalancing and sector rotation that will continue into the peak month of earn­ings reporting season and dividend declaration, even as market fundamentals had changed.

Looking at the negative performance by companies that have so far presented their audited results, a reflection of the gloomy and contracting economy.

This coincided with the aggressive borrowing of the government that had pushed fixed income yields north­ward through high OMO rates, Treasury Bills’ primary market auctions and FGN savings bonds Amid the per­sistent runaway inflation at 29.9% in January.

There were also the rising economic headwinds and insecurity as protest has continue in different states of the nation on high cost of living and geometric rise in food items to imported inflation as a result of FX challenges that had led to everyday depreciation of the naira.

Despite the ongoing geopolitical concerns over the Middle East conflict, Russia and Ukraine war, global in­flation is cooling down and rates are unchanged in major economies of the world pointing to likely end of rate hike cycle for the matured market, while CBN in the bid to checkmate inflation and mop-up funds offered the last NTB auction at 17.5%, 18% and 19% respectively for 91-day, 182-day and 364-day tenor.

Coupled with the latest rate hike of 400 bps to 22.75% from 18.75% had put a selling pressure on the equity space, even when the pullbacks or correction has cre­ated buy opportunities for discerning investors and the technical traders, as the market broke down the 100,000 psychological line during the month.

The downtrend occurred on the back of profit taking and selloffs in the midst of lower traded volume when compared to transactions recorded in January, as early filers NB, Nestle and MTNN hit the market with negative numbers and no dividend for their shareholders, except for Seplat, Wapco, BUA Cement, Dangote Cement and Mecure that recommended dividend of $0.3, N1.90, N2.00, N30.00 and 15 kobo respectively.

The NGX- All-Share index closed in the second month of the year on a negative note, as Thursday’s market rebound signaled strength and trend continuation that needs confirmation.