Dangote Cement Powers Nigerian Stocks to 2-Year High on Earnings Hopes

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LAGOS, July 24 – Nigerian stocks climbed to more than two year highs on Monday, lifted by gains in Dangote Cement as investors piled into the shares in anticipation of its half-year earnings.

Dangote Cement, which accounts for a third of total market capitalisation, rose 2.44 percent to lift the main share index 1.86 percent to a level last seen in May 2015.

Traders said investors were expecting strong a half-year performance from listed firms as results start pouring in this month.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest stock market had put in a lacklustre performance after a sharp fall in crude prices from mid-2014 led foreign investors to flee its financial markets.

The drop in oil prices also pushed the economy into recession, triggered a currency crisis and forcing the central bank to introduce controls.

In April, the banking regulator partly lifted some restrictions to allow foreign players to bring in their hard currency at market-determined rates. The move has spurred equities by more than doubling trading volumes.

Analysts say average daily turnover stood at over $16 million from April compared with $6 million daily from January.

Other gainers included conglomerate Transcorp, up 8.05 percent, Julius Berger, up 4.96 percent, and Access bank up 4.46 percent

The Stock consequently gained 12 kobo and closed the day at N1.61 per share.

Also in anticipation of an impressive half year result, Dangote Cement and Julius Berger rose 5 percent and 4.96 percent respectively to close at N222.60 and N36 per share.

These stocks alongside 17 other gainers led the market to a robust gain of N218 billion or 1.86 percent as market capitalization closed the day at N11.943 trillion from its opening figure of N11.725 trillion.

The day ended with 20 losers led by AIICO Insurance which dropped 5 percent to close at 57 kobo per share while Morison Industries and Vitafoam followed with a loss of 4.85 percent each to close at N1.57 and N2.55 per share.

The volume of shares traded in 3,712 deals however depreciated by 22 per cent as investors moved 293.8 million shares as against 378.2 million shares traded in previous session. Total value also dropped to N3.9 billion compared to N5.11 billion staked in 4,516 deals.

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