By Victor Ernest with agency report
Nigerian stocks rose to a more than six-month high on Wednesday, lifted by gains in the banking, cement and oil sectors as dollar liquidity continued to improve on the currency market.
The main index marked its third consecutive day of gains, closing up 2.95 percent at 27,546 points, a level last seen in October 2016.
One factor behind the market rise was news that Moody’s had maintained a stable outlook for Nigeria’s banking sector, with the ratings agency noting that acute foreign-currency shortages were set to ease.
Analysts also pointed to first-quarter company results, which have come in better than market expectations, as a signal that Nigeria’s economy may be starting to recover and that some foreign investors have begun to return.
Overseas money flowed out of Nigeria in mid-2014 when oil prices started to collapse. That fall tipped the country into its first recession in more than two decades, slashed government revenues and weakened its currency and financial markets.
Shares in oil firm Oando, which hit an 18-month high on Monday, surged for a second day and were up 10.13 percent, while Diamond Bank rose 9.52 percent and FCMB up 9 percent.
Dangote Cement stock, which accounts for a third of the market capitalisation on the Nigerian exchange, rose by 2.48 percent.
The market capitalisation, which opened at N9.249 trillion, rose by N273 billion or 2.95 per cent to close at N9.522 trillion due to huge gains posted by some blue chips.
Nestle recorded the highest price gain with N38 to close at N798 per share.
Total followed with a gain of N6 to close at N255, while Dangote Cement appreciated by N4.01 to close at N166.01 per share.
Nigerian Breweries gained N4.01 to close at N136.01 kobo; 7UP added N3 to close at N105 per share.
On the other hand, Lafarge Africa recorded the highest price loss of N3.42 to close at N46.18 per share.
Air Service trailed with a loss of 24k to close at N4.73, while CCNN depreciated by 7k to close at N4.66 per share.
NPF Micro Finance Bank was down by 5k to close at N1.33, while Jaiz Bank also lost 5k to close at N1 per share.
UBA emerged investors’ delight with 104.12 million shares worth N669.85 million.
Diamond Bank followed with 53.93 million shares valued at N48.78 million, Zenith Bank traded 50.01 million shares worth N841.22 million.
Flour Mills sold 46.69 million shares worth N842.52 million, while Access Bank traded 45.81 million shares valued at N341.13 million.
In all, investors staked N5.65 billion on 584.12 million shares in 5,121 deals compared with 539.23 million shares worth N2.82 billion exchanged in 4,519 deals on Tuesday.