Business Moody’s bank outlook, earnings lift Nigerian stocks to 6-month high

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. (REUTERS). DAILYTRUST.M

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