The Ultimate Voting Machine (3): The Market Voting Process – Ade Bajomo and Kenneth Ohaeri [MUST READ]

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Accreditation begins in the morning, much similar to the ceremonial bell ringing (or gong ringing as is the case at the Nigerian Stock Exchange) on the floor at 9:30am, heralding the pre-open session. Note also that the system opens a log on the point of login by the Stockbroker as every broker that has been validated to trade by the Exchange has a unique username and password.

The log captures time of entry, volume, account numbers and automatically assigns ticket numbers to the matched trades. In addition, it also captures the time any order was amended, cancelled and edited and the name of the executor.

This is to facilitate a comprehensive and independent market surveillance process and provide audit trails, for playing back market activities, in order to resolve disputes or provide evidence which may be required in the event of a market infraction to secure a disciplinary conviction.

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The order books are filled by the Stockbrokers in consonance with the mandates of the clients and queued on the system. A valid order must have the following features: Price, Volume and the client’s account number duly verified by the system.

Voting (matching of orders) currently begin at 10:15am, immediately after the opening auction, and the process continues until 2:30pm when the Closing Bell (or Closing Gong in our local setting) sounds, signaling the close of all trading activities for the day. For a trade to occur, the system establishes a price equilibrium on both sides of the order i.e. the bid and offer. It generates a ticket number for that trade with a time stamp. Thus, the trade becomes valid.

An SMS message from the Exchange’s notification infrastructure, known as XAlert, is triggered into the mobile telephone handset of the investor, detailing sales or purchases made and specifying the volume and price of the transaction. In the event that the investor did not authorize the transaction, he can summarily abort the process by placing a call to the NSE.

Reports are also released immediately at the end of the day as brokers communicate the day’s transactions to their clients. In Nigeria, aggrieved clients may seek for redress using the disciplinary process starting from the Nigerian Stock Exchange to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST).

The Stockbrokers could be likened to the Electoral College; a group of professionals licensed by the Exchange and chosen by the people (investors) to vote for the candidate (securities) of their choice. The SEC (the Apex Regulator of the Nigerian Capital Market) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange are the umpires that watch and regulate the entire trading activities just like INEC.

The contestants here are the Bears and the Bulls.

Feeling Bullish or Bearish?

A common colloquial expression in the market is the relation of market sentiments to bears and bulls. The thought of facing a raging bull or a grizzly bear sound all too dangerous – and so are extreme market sentiments – but from a market perspective, a bullish market indicates that investors are confident about the outlook of the securities in the market and express this by increasing their trading activities.

Prices consequently go up and so do the indices. A bearish market is the opposite, with lower confidence levels prevailing and prices falling. Technically, a bear market is defined as one where prices have declined by 20% or more over 20 consecutive trading sessions.

The use of the terms “bull” and “bear” to describe markets came from the way the animals attack their opponents. A bull thrusts its horns up into the air while a bear swipes its paws down.

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The Automated Trading System serves as a polling station where mandates from investors are executed, while the Message Handling System serves as a window where market information, also known as Market Data and other relevant news items including financial reports, price sensitive information, forecasts and corporate actions are relayed to the market and investors in real time as it emanates from the companies and the wider market.

The market reacts to information immediately as evidenced by their orders or mandates. The driving force for various dynamics of price movement is basically the interpretation of these information released by investors. Information could lead to a change of voters position on the polling units, in the same way, investors react to news from companies.

For instance, in a regulatory move in August 18, 2009, the Central Bank Governor sacked the top management of five banks in Nigeria. This news sent shivers down the spine of the investing community, resulting in panic sell offs.

The price drop over a five month period for three of the banks and the All Share Index are represented below and the overall market became bearish for some time.

Fig 1: Oceanic Bank Plc Daily Price Movement (Aug – Dec ’09)

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Fig 2: Intercontinental Bank Plc Daily Price Movement (Aug – Dec ’09)

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Fig 3: Afribank Plc Daily Price Movement (Aug – Dec ’09)

 

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Conversely, good corporate news emanating from companies could influence investors’ decisions over time.

For instance, in July 5, 2012 Livestock feeds Plc was highly on offer (sale) during the pre-open session of the market. However, the order book changed during the continuous trading session when news hit the market that Livestock Feeds Plc notified The Exchange that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UACN Plc, one of the listed blue-chip companies, on plans to make an equity investment in Livestock Feeds Plc .

Within seconds, the order book changed in favor of the buy side. The stocks became the toast of the market as everyone was bidding for it. This kind of information flows seamlessly from the Issuers’ Portal of the Exchange to the Exchange’s website and the trading engine almost at the same time to facilitate equitability in access to information by all investors.

The price movement is shown on the graph below;

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Electorates vote for candidates that they believe will deliver the “dividends of democracy” and would cast the majority of their votes to the candidate they think will deliver these goodies.

Similarly, investors also react positively to companies that deliver on dividend promises or other favourable corporate actions. Recently, in March 6 th 2015, Zenith International Bank Plc announced a dividend of N1.75, the price edged up by 10.21%, which was the maximum for the period as represented below:

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One of the challenging areas to measure or determine is the behavioral pattern of investors. We have activist investors and return seekers.

Activist investors want to effect a change in a company or the company’s corporate governance just like some voters may want a change in government. While, return seekers are investors who look for opportunities in the market to make money. Return seekers seek to find undervalued or overvalued investments and take advantage of it.

They are not necessarily interested in the corporate governance – much the same way some voters may cast their votes for candidates they can obtain instant gratification from. There are also investors classified as long term investors.

These look out for hidden values, are not fazed by short term movements and are concerned with the overall direction of companies they invest in over the medium to long term. Counting and Watching the Voting Trend In the political process in Nigeria, having secured the majority of the total votes cast, the winner must in addition have 25% of the total number of votes in two-thirds of the Nigerian states. In essence, the winner must be popular among the Nigerian populace.

In the same manner, you cannot move the price of a stock in the market without placing a minimum of 50,000 units of the stock for stocks trading below N100 or a minimum of 10,000 units for highly priced stocks trading over N100.

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How does one tell the direction of the market at any point in time during a trading session? Is the market bearish or bullish?

A synonym to the voting system is taking a post voting pool before the close of the pooling booths on how the candidates are faring. Here comes the market indices. The indices mirror changes in prices of individual stocks and work like a summary of the market by tracking all the stocks within the market in their various sectors.

Keep in mind that there are different indices and each represent a pool of stocks. However the All Share Index, as earlier highlighted, represents all equity based securities on a market and so measures the changes in their prices. Thus, the stock market acts as a voting machine, driven by investors’ sentiments.

It is the investors that give value to each stock relying on the underlying information that surrounds it. When people talk about the market going up or down, turning bullish or bearish, they are referring to the market as seen through the lenses of indices while the index represent values of pool of stocks given by investors. Do the Right Thing – Vote!

As a financial barometer, the Stock Market has become an integral and influential part of the financial decision making process for everyone from the common man to the wealthiest businessman. Much in a similar manner to the voting system in a democratic process, allowing people to decide not just their economic destiny but their social and security wellbeing amongst others.

Although voting is a choice, it is a rather important exercise in our national lives as it not only charts the course for the present; but also lays the prosperity foundation for future generations. So also is investment in the stock market if we want to prosper and create enduring wealth.

Choosing not to invest is choosing not to be part of the future. Election transparency is the public ability to see and verify each essential step in elections: who can vote (investor), who did vote (investors’ accounts), counting and releasing of the results (Daily Official List) and the integrity of the votes (audit logs and market surveillance).

Similarly, these steps are entrenched by the Nigerian Stock Exchange in all her operations to safeguard and protect the investor. The facts that the transparency of the process of trading, price discovery/movement and determination at the Exchange is verifiable and reliable have not gone unrecognized by the international community.

Furthermore, her quest for innovation, effective monitoring, supervision, surveillance and strong regulation have continued to improve the confidence of both local and foreign investors, and elevated her to be admitted as a full member at the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).

The statistics and reports released daily from the Exchange after each trading session are transparent and verifiable at each point in time. Thus, promoting the spirit of sportsmanship between the ageless candidates – the Bulls and the Bears.

Finally, to conclude this part of an ongoing article, there is one phrase that is often used, which brings the entire stock market and political system together that all Nigerian investors would pay a premium for – it is for everyone in the country to benefit from the “dividends of democracy”.

That can only be achieved by participating in the market and of course, the elections. And by the way, should you wish to cast your economic vote that will earn you long term enduring wealth and economic dividends, please contact a stockbroker Here

 

 

 

Opinion pieces of this sort published on The SHEET are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of The SHEET.

 


 

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