Analysts attribute Nigeria’s Zenith Bank shares fall to profit talking

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LAGOS, Aug 11 – Vetiva Capital analysts attribute Nigeria’s Zenith Bank shares fall to profit talking.

The top tier Nigerian lender said late on Thursday its pretax profit in the first six months jumped 71 percent to 92.2 billion naira ($264 million) and it declared 0.25 naira interim dividend.

Meanwhile shares in Nigeria’s Zenith Bank fell for a second session in a row on Friday after the lender declared a lower than expected interim dividend, despite a sharp rise in first-half earnings.

The stock fell 1 percent to 23.75 naira on Friday, the lowest since July 26.

Stanbic Stockbrokers upgraded its target price to 28.60 naira from 25 naira and forecast the bank’s full-year pretax profit would come in at 184 billion naira, up 18 percent.

Zenith raised $500 million Eurobond in May which could increase its funding costs, Stanbic said.

Dollars have been in short supply in Nigeria since the price of oil, the country’s main source of hard currency, plunged in 2014, triggering a currency crisis, an exodus of foreign investors and the first recession in 25 years. ($1 = 364.90 naira)