Investors profit taking drags down Nigeria stocks to almost two-week low

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    LAGOS, Aug 15 – Nigerian stocks fell on Tuesday to a near two-week low, dragged down by losses in banking, cement and fast moving consumer good sectors, as some investors took profits from previous gains in the market, traders said.

    The main share index declined 2.25 percent to 37,096 points, bringing it down to a level last seen on Aug 3.

    The market had rallied for eight consecutive weeks and peaked at a 33-month high last week before profit takers took advantage of the gains to sell their holdings.

    “The market was just reflecting global trend in the last few days, which has seen many major stock markets falling,” Rasheed Yussuff, chief executive of Trust Yields Securities, said.

    He said it was normal for the market to experience some bearish moment having been rising for almost two months.

    Low stock valuation and the relative stability in the foreign exchange market over the last few months have helped to draw many offshore investors into the equity market, leading to a surge in the domestic equity market.

    The equity market has benefited from the recovery in liquidity on the currency market with the introduction in April of a new forex window for investors to trade the naira at market-determined rates.

    Equally, most of the gains over the last two weeks were driven by increases in profitability announced by many major listed companies.

    Major decliners on Tuesday included Dangote Cement , which accounts for a third of the market capitalisation. Shares in the cement firm fell 4.26 percent, energy firm Forte Oil was down 4.63 percent while household product maker PZ Cussons declined 5 percent.

    Other losers were First Bank Holdings, down 3.06 percent, Fidelity Bank, which fell 3.82 percent, and Union Bank which was down 3.5 percent

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