The stock market performance during the first quarter ending March 31, 2009 was not much different from the downward trend on most global capital markets. There were generally, low market activity characterized by low demands and large offers for listed securities resulting in a downward pressure on share prices.
The lack luster performance which comes at the heels of very impressive returns recorded on the market for the year ended December 2008, is largely due to the effects of the global financial crisis which has also affected the major economic indicators. Government’s upward adjustments in petroleum prices and its attendant effects on inflation and interest rate made the money market more attractive. Again, increases in foreign exchange to record levels since the last five years made foreign exchange investment a preferred choice for most potential investors. These key factors together with the usual profit taking activities to realize capital gains by both institutional and retail investors who benefited from the gains of the previous year resulted in low secondary market activity.
However, the introduction of live automated trading, the relatively low prices on the market and the encouraging first quarter results released by most listed companies are expected to boost the market during the second half of the year. Investors are therefore encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities that the market provides currently to realize better returns in the not too distant future.
The GSE All-Share Index recorded a decrease of 11.35% to end the quarter at 9,247.17points. This is a far outcry from the 18.92% gains recorded during the 1st quarter of 2008. The downward trend for the period under review resulted in the stock market temporarily trailing behind interest rates and inflation.
Active Shares Traded
Despite the low activity, listed companies recorded trades on the market. The ten most active equities for the quarter contributed variously to total volume and values on the market. In volume terms, GCB was the most traded equity contributing 48.69% to total volume, followed by CAL and ETI with 27.79% and 6.87% respectively. The rest are SPL, PBC SIC, AADs, PBC, UT, FML and SPPC following in that order with between 3% and 1% of contribution to total volume.
Again, GCB led the quarter with a 52.81% contribution to total value traded followed by SCB and CAL with 21.56% and 14.20% respectively. Whiles ETI, SIC, FML, EBG, AADs, UT and BOPP contributed between 3.88% and 0.45% to total value traded.
Trading in bonds were however, more active in the quarter under review than was recorded in the first quarter of 2008.
The decrease in share prices and the thin volumes of shares traded also impacted on turnover for the period. Volume of shares traded over the 63 trading session of the first quarter was 17.32 million shares valued at GH¢13.78million compared with volume and value of 83.25million share and GH¢51.39m respectively for the same period in 2008. Average volume of trades per trading session was 274,960 shares valued at GH¢218,772.
Turnover value recorded for corporate bonds was US$1,000 whiles that of Government bonds stood at GH¢6.14million. This compares favourably to GH¢2.04million Government traded and no trades for corporate bonds recorded for the same period in 2008.
Market capitalization recorded for the quarter ending 31 March, 2009 was GH¢18,041.20m (US$13,073.33m) compared with GH¢13,961.62m (14,392.92m) for the same period in 2008.
Annual General Meetings
The first quarter saw most listed companies organizing Annual General Meetings (AGM) to interact with their shareholders. The Exchange was well represented at each AGM and used the opportunity to educate shareholders on the automation and operations of the GSE Securities Depository as well as the benefits of opening accounts with the Depository.
Again as directed by Council of the Exchange, all listed companies at their AGM passed a resolution to amend their company regulations in order not to issue any more paper share certificates for new listings.
Although the impact of the global financial crisis is expected to adversely affect the Ghanaian economy, there is still a growing optimism on the stock market that opportunities still abound for wealth creation and financial stability for both existing and potential investors. Analysts believe that the Exchange’s performance in this first quarter is normal and the market will soon make a turn around before the end of the last quarter.