After a turbulent start, the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) closed the first half (IH) of the year on a strong note, since its market capitalisation soared to an all-time-high (ATH) of GH¢70.24billion as investors continue to find solace in equities.
At the close of the first trading session for second-half of the year – Monday, July 3, 2023 – the metric had risen by 0.14 percent to GH¢70.34billion. This was propelled by the GSE Composite Index (GSE-CI) which achieved its second-highest monthly return to date in June 2023.
The index – which tracks the broad market performance – advanced by 296.7 points, resulting in a year-to-date (YtD) return of 14.9 percent. Furthermore, the GSE Financial Stock Index (GSE-FSI) gained 14.6 points during the month; in part due to the late resurgence of some principal stocks in the segment reducing losses since the turn of the year to 17.6 percent, data from the Accra bourse have shown.
Compared with the first half of 2022, the GSE-CI was up 10.3 percent from 2,545.48 points to 2,808.03 points. Similarly, the market capitalisation appreciated by 8.32 percent versus the comparable period of the previous year.
This represents a reversal of fortunes compared to 2022, when the GSE-CI closed the financial year with -12.38 percent from a high of +43.66 percent the previous year – ending the period as one of the worst performers on the continent, as investor sentiment kept pace with happenings in the general economy.
This surge in market capitalisation is not unrelated to improved investor confidence on the back of listed stocks’ performance, as well as the announcement of dividend payment dates by a number of them.
However, trading activity experienced a notable decrease in volume and value. Compared to the previous month, both volume and value traded decreased by 87.1 percent and 86.6 percent respectively. This decline can be attributed to various factors, including market fluctuations and investor caution as elements of profit-taking took ground.
Similarly, the circa 20 percent depreciation of the cedi against the US dollar resulted in a -10.1 percent return for the GSE in US dollar terms.
Commenting on this performance on the side-lines of a Facts Behind the Figures session when the GSE hosted Société Générale, Managing Director-GSE Abena Amoah said: “In the first half of 2023 performance and what we are seeing now is that there’s a gradual upturn in the equities market; the index is up about 14.96 percent – almost 15 percent, and the market cap has also crossed GH¢70billion for the first time. We’re very excited about that as it means investors are looking for diversification and equities are interesting to them. Several of our listed companies have also announced strong dividends, and we see investors reacting to that market.”
The top-five price-gainers for the month are spread across the manufacturing, telecommunications, extractives and finance sectors. They include Guinness Ghana Breweries (28.48 percent), MTN (21.1 percent), CalBank (20 percent), New Gold Exchange Traded Fund (18.2 percent) and Standard Chartered Bank (3.9 percent).
Earlier this year, analysts at Databank Research projected that as the year progresses initial defensive sentiments will normalize since the domestic debt exchange will positively influence demand for equities – with low interest rates on Treasury securities drawing investors to dividend-paying stocks.
This, it added, will push the GSE-CI to approximately 2,737 points (±500bps) at the end of 2023, from the 2.443.91 with which it closed in 2022.
On the debt market, the Ghana Fixed Income Market (GFIM) trades in short-term Government securities accounted for 77.8 percent of activity on the market. The platform witnessed a volume-traded of 5.41 billion at the end of June 2023. This represents an 8.2 percent increase compared to the previous month, but is down 78 percent from the same period in 2022.
The volume and value traded in the GFIM were 4,581,168 and GH¢14.8million respectively. These figures represent a decline of 90.5 percent and 67.35 percent compared to the same period last year. Cumulatively, the volume of trades in the GFIM from January to June 2023 amounted to 40.9 billion – down 67 percent compared to the 124.1 billion traded during the same period last year.
“On the debt market, I think many are still waiting to see how government pays its first interest on the new bond in August; and for the overall macroeconomic environment also, especially for interest rates, to come down so investor confidence will be there. So yeah, we are cautiously watching that and engaging the right people to ensure we have the right macroeconomic environment to drive demand in the market,” the GSE MD added.