Following the rebound of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) during most of the first quarter of 2020, the market, over the past four weeks, has turned bearish again, as investors’ concerns about the novel coronavirus increase in line with the increasing number of confirmed cases.
The market began a bullish run around the start of December 2019, and this continued through most of the trading sessions during the first quarter of 2020, until the end of the trading session on March 11, 2020 by which time it was clear that Ghana would not escape the virus.
Trading sessions from March 12, 2020 have consequently remained bearish through to the end of trading on April 8, 2020, when the Bourse’s all share index reached its lowest level in 34-months.
The GSE composite index (GSE-CI) slowed to its lowest level, when it recorded a year to date return of -6.65 percent, accompanied by a -6.25 percent return for the financial stocks index (GSE-FSI), by Wednesday, April 8, 2019.
The benchmark index shed 12.45 points, representing -0.59 percent, due to two banking and telecom stocks to close at 2,106.95, while market capitalization eased to GHc 55.45 billion.
CAL Bank edged the GSE-FSI down by 1.12 points to close at 1,893.38. MTN Ghana completed the losers’ chart at GHc 0.65.
The drop is the market’s lowest point reached since it recovered from a similar decline in the performance of the GSE-CI, recorded on July 14, 2017, at 2,086.38 points and 1,964.80 points for the GSE-FSI. (when the year to date return was 23.52 percent for the GSE-CI and 27.14 percent for the GSE-FSI).
Nevertheless, the market showed a slight recovery on the last trading session before the Easter break on Thursday, April 9, 2020, when the GSE-CI hit 2,135.24 points translating to a year to date fall of -5.40 percent, whereas the GSE-FSI was at 1,880.01 points, translating to a year to date performance of -6.91 percent.
The GSE Composite Index (GSE-CI) measures the weighted average price changes of all the equities listed on the market; and the GSE Financial Stock Index (GSE-FSI) – tracks the weighted average price changes of financial services equities.
“Investors are most concerned about the uncertainties that are arising from the pandemic. So, they are being extra careful in the stocks where they would put their funds,” Mr. Ben Ackah, General Manager at UMB Stock Brokers, sad in an interview.
However, despite the inevitable adverse effects of the pandemic, the performance of the bourse, in terms of trading activity, was better in the first quarter of 2020, compared with the performance in the same period of 2019. In 2020, GHc 76 million worth of shares were traded, whereas GHc 39 million worth of shares were traded in the same period of 2019.
“From this perspective, the market was experiencing a rebound, in terms of the volume and value being traded,” Mr. Ackah said.
That however seems to be on indefinite suspension.