Despite the dramatic recovery in the month of April, the stock market closed the month flat against its opening level this year. A few stocks are beating the general market on share price performance but the index-leading equities are missing on the share price advances table. The all-share index moved up a clear 3,617.3 or 11.6% in April, a recovery that enabled it to close virtually at par with the year’s opening level.
Despite the lack of direction for the market, a number of companies have made the list of top rising stocks so far at the end of April. Some strengths and prospects have set them apart to command good investor confidence in an otherwise stationary market.
Leading the top 10 rising stocks so far this year among our monitored equities is Union Bank, which has risen by 35.3% as at the end of April. Investors are quite impressed by the accelerated recovery the bank made in 2014. It led the entire banking industry on profit growth, which amounted to as much as 600% over the preceding year’s performance. There was a big rebound in revenue, a significant reduction in the cost-income ratio and consequently a big leap in profit margin to one of the highest in the banking industry.
FCMB is the second on the top share price advances table, having risen 34.1% over its opening price for the year to close at N3.34 last week. The bank achieved an accelerated growth in profit in 2014 from 5.8% in the preceding year to 38% in 2014. It is maintaining profit growth for the fourth year running in 2015 with strong growth in revenue and defence of profit margin.
National Salt Company of Nigeria follows on the list of top rising stocks for the year, closing 32.6% up on the January opening price. The company is yet to release it 2014 full year result at press time but is expected to be consistent with dividend payment. Its rising in share price is rather a recovery from a sustained downward trend last year, which appears to be an overreaction to the high prospects for a profit drop in the year.
The fourth on the list of top rising stocks is Airline Services and Logistics, which closed 29.4% higher than its January opening price at the end of April. The company achieved one of the strongest profit growths in the 2014 financial year with an increase of as much as 90% to N172 million. The company has proposed a cash dividend of 15 kobo, which offers a comparatively high dividend yield.
Next on the table is NAHCO, the aviation handling company, which despite a drop in profit and earnings per share in 2014, has proposed a dividend of 20 kobo per share and a bonus of 1 for 10. Investors are keen to take advantage of the proposed dividends before the register closes on May 18, 2015.
UACN is next on the list of top share price advances this year with an increase of 23.5% over the year’s opening price. The conglomerate shows the advantage of diversified operation, which enables it to maintain stable growth and regular dividend to shareholders. The company recorded stable growth in both revenue and profit in 2014 and has proposed a cash dividend of N1.75 per share to be paid next July.
UBA, the third banking stock on the list, is up by 23% on the price table as at the end of April this year. Despite a cut on dividend from 50 kobo in 2013 to 10 kobo in 2014, investors are attracted to the bank’s shares by anticipated capital appreciation in line with the general recovery of share prices. Earnings growth is expected to step up in the current year based on the first quarter interim.
Presco is the 8th stock on the share price advances ranking, which has moved up 22.8% by the close of the market last week. The company made a big turnaround in profit performance in 2014 with a rise of 95% compared with a major drop in the preceding year. This has also led to a rebound in dividend pay-out from just 10 kobo in 2013 to N1.0 in 2014.
Vitafoam comes on the 9th position on the table of top rising stocks so far in the year. The company’s stock has risen by 19.9% to close at N4.83 last week. It has maintained stable growth in revenue and profit as well as regular dividend to shareholders.
The 10th on the chart of top share price advances is Unilever, which has moved up by 18.2% by the end of April. This is in spite of significant drops in revenue and profit as well as dividend at the end of 2014 operations. The gains do not appear sustainable in the light of continuing fall in profit in the current year.