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Overview of Nigeria Stock Market
The Nigeria stock market consists of the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX), which was formerly known as the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The NGX is the main stock exchange in Nigeria, with over 170 listed companies. Some of the major stocks listed on the NGX include Dangote Cement, MTN Nigeria, Nestle Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, and Zenith Bank.
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The NGX has different market segments, including the Main Board, the Growth Board, and the Premium Board. The Main Board is for large and established companies. The Growth Board is for small and medium enterprises with high growth potential. While the Premium Board is for companies that meet the Nigerian Exchange’s most stringent corporate governance and licensing standards.
In 2023, the NGX was one of the best-performing stock markets globally, as reported by NairaMetrics, gaining over 45%. This stellar performance was driven by strong corporate earnings, attractive stock valuations, and a positive economic outlook.
The NGX is expected to continue its bullish run in 2024 and 2025 on the back of economic recovery and reforms under the new administration that took office last year. However, risks such as inflation, currency devaluation, insecurity, and a global economic slowdown could hamper the market’s growth.
Top Performing Stocks of 2023
Wema Bank (WEMABANK)
Wema Bank’s share price grew impressively by over 130% in 2023, making it one of the top performers on the Nigeria Stock Market for the year. This remarkable rally reflects the bank’s strong financial performance and growth prospects.
In the 2023 financial year, Wema Bank recorded a 130% growth in Profit Before Tax [PBT] to N21.76 billion from N9.46 billion posted in 2022. Similarly, gross earnings rose by 61%, from N93.86 billion in 2022 to N150.90 billion in 2023. The stellar bottom-line performance underscores the success of the bank’s five-year corporate transformation program focused on growing retail banking and driving financial inclusion.
In 2024, analysts expect Wema Bank to sustain momentum given its digital banking leadership and aggressive agency banking network expansion strategy across Nigeria. Consequently, the bank remains an attractive stock for risk-tolerant investors, especially on price corrections.
Sterling Bank (STERLINGNG)
Sterling HoldCo was one of the best performing banking stocks on the NGX in 2023 with its share price surging impressively by over 206.4% as of September 2023. The stock’s epic run reflects Sterling Bank’s resilience and growth in the challenging macro environment.
In 2023 financial year results, Sterling Bank posted outstanding numbers including a 44.4% increase in pre-tax profit to N11.46 billion from N8.62 billion recorded in 2022. Net interest income after impairment charges also rose by 32.28% from N26.15 billion to N34.63 billion over the same period. These numbers showcase Sterling Bank’s improving asset quality and underwriting standards.
Looking ahead, analysts see more upside for Sterling Bank owing to its technology drive and aggressive retail play. Its 2024-2027 growth plan focuses on digital banking (with their new collaboration with GoMoney) and youth & women banking. If well implemented, this strategy can strengthen Sterling Bank’s retail banking franchise thereby supporting revenue growth and profitability.
Jaiz Bank (JAIZBANK)
Jaiz Bank Plc stands out as one of the best-performing stocks on the Nigeria Stock Market in 2023, with gains of over 73%. This growth reflects Jaiz Bank’s potential as Nigeria’s premier non-interest financial institution.
In Q3 2023 financials, Jaiz Bank grew profit before tax by 73.72%, from N3.85 billion in 2022 to N6.68 billion. Total gross earnings also increased by 39.60% from N23.67 billion to N33.04 billion over the same period, reflecting widening revenue streams. Jaiz Bank remains well positioned to benefit from Nigeria’s huge unbanked population owing to its ethical offerings that appeal to the financially excluded.
Given Jaiz Bank’s growth trajectory and first-mover advantage in Islamic banking, analysts see ample headroom for upside. The lender plans to drive growth through new products, agency banking, and digital banking offerings.
Fidelity Bank (FIDELITYBK)
Fidelity Bank’s share price rose impressively by over 101% in 2023, ranking it among the NGX top performers for the year.
In 2023, Fidelity Bank posted record numbers, including a 204.4% rise in profit before tax to N76.3 billion. The triple-digit growth in the bottom line and strong fundamentals cement Fidelity Bank’s position as one of the most profitable Tier-2 banks.
Analysts remain bullish on Fidelity Bank, given its robust digital banking drive and aggressive agency banking push. The lender plans to establish its presence in over five African countries in the coming years after recently acquiring the London unit of rival Union Bank of Nigeria Plc as of January last year.
BUA Cement (BUACEMENT)
BUA Cement, Nigeria’s second-largest cement producer, reported 17.2% y/y revenue growth to N221.07bn in H1 2023 from N188.56bn in the prior period (H1 2022). This price rally came despite operating environment costs, including energy challenges and supply chain constraints.
Despite the many operating challenges in 2023, their revenue increased slightly by 7.9%, from N106.35 billion posted in Q1 2023 to N114.71 billion in Q2 2023. Gross profit grew by 17.1% y/y to N115.7bn in H1 2023, while their gross margin contracted by 7 bps y/y to 52.3% in H1 2023, impacted by elevated cost pressures. The resilient performance reflects BUA Cement’s brand strength and expanding production capacity.
Going forward, analysts see upside for BUA Cement, supported by Nigeria’s cement supply deficit and infrastructure drive under the current administration. Similarly, the company has an export-focused outlook targeting West African markets using its terminals in Lagos and Onne.
What to Expect from Nigeria Stock Market in 2024
In 2024, analysts project Nigeria’s GDP will grow to 2.9%, up from 2.4% in 2023, according to Fitch Solutions. This outlook, combined with double-digit inflation, creates an uncertain environment for equities. However, stocks with strong pricing power, a strong market share, and a solid foreign exchange position can still deliver decent returns for investors.
Additionally, the operational start of the Dangote refinery in Q124 is predicted by Fitch Solutions to lead a sharp reduction in imports and increase Nigeria’s trade surplus, providing tailwinds to economic growth. Consequently, investors in the Nigeria stock market need to position themselves in fundamentally sound stocks across different sectors, including banking, consumer goods, cement, and oil and gas, to benefit. Savvy investors should also take advantage of discounted valuations of growth stocks to maximize portfolio returns.
Overall, analysts see modest single-digit growth for the NGX in 2024, barring external shocks that could trigger capital flight. Stocks with an export focus across the cement, energy, and agriculture sectors seem positioned to navigate the volatile macros better. Also, stocks paying high dividend yields will attract buying interest, thereby enjoying a share price rally.
4 Potential Top Performing Stocks in 2024
Backed by significant market share, solid margins, and consistent dividend history, MTN Nigeria seems positioned to sustain market-beating returns for investors in 2024.
Despite concerns on FX risks, MTN Nigeria’s dominant telco position driving strong free cash flow generation makes it an analyst’s favorite.
Its defensive non-cyclical business should thrive in good and bad economic cycles. No doubt, investors will pay premium valuations for this prime stock thereby fueling rallies.
BUA Foods Plc
BUA Foods, Nigeria’s leading foods company, looks set for a stellar 2024 backed by expansion drive and moves into new markets. Its new manufacturing plants focused on pasta, rice, and edible oils should support revenue growth.
Similarly, its sugar business is expanding capacity to tap into Africa’s supply deficit. With strong consumer brands and a huge market, BUA Foods offers an attractive growth story for investors in 2024.
Dangote Sugar Plc
Dangote Sugar seems primed for a big earning story this year based on sugar supply deficit stemming from border closure and rising domestic demand. The company is investing to expand capacity and tap into growth opportunities.
Its large market share, cost leadership, and highly efficient operations drives profitability expansion to support share price upside for investors with long term view.
PZ Cussons Plc
PZ Cussons stands attractive for value investors given depressed valuations relative to its strong brands portfolio and growth prospects.
The company is implementing a turnaround strategy focusing on costs controls and strengthening distribution networks.
With these initiatives gaining traction reflected through rising market share, PZ Cussons’ recovery story makes it a stock to buy for bumper returns in 2024.
If you’re an astute investor looking for stocks with potential to invest in, then your Nigeria stock market target should cut across banking, consumer goods, cement, and energy sectors so you can tap into Nigeria’s projected economic rebound this year.
Overall, the Nigeria stock market offers opportunities for investors with long-term plans to compound wealth. But what is important is that you go for stocks with a strong performance history that can deliver alpha returns.