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By Oludare Mayowa
LAGOS, June 1 Nigeria stocks jumped to a
11-month high on Thursday, driven by gains in banking and cement
shares as investors took advantage of the low valuation for some
commercial bank shares.
The stock market index rose 2.37 percent to
cross 30,197 points, lifted by gains in First Bank Holdings
and Dangote Cement.
The banking index rose 1.61 percent amid
expectations Africa's biggest economy would exit recession soon
as higher oil revenues stabilize the battered naira.
First Bank Holdings, the parent company of Nigeria's oldest
commercial lender, First Bank, rose 10 percent to 5.83 naira
($0.0185), a level last seen in Oct, 2015.
Dangote Cement, which accounts for a third of
the market's entire capitalisation, also gained 5 percent,
trading at 183.75 per share.
Stock brokers said foreign investors who were scared off by
the threat of another currency devaluation were considering
"We are beginning to see the positive impact of the
stability in the foreign exchange market and coupled with the
attractive valuation of most stocks, offshore investors have
started looking toward the stock market," stock broker Austin
Nigeria said last week it was emerging from recession after
data showed its economy shrank 0.52 percent year-on-year in the
first quarter, less than the revised contraction of 1.73 percent
in the preceding quarter.
Nigeria's central bank has since February regularly injected
dollars into the foreign exchange market to improve liquidity
and narrow the spread between official and black market rates.
The local currency has held steady at 382 to the dollar on
the black market after dropping earlier to 520. It is trading
around 305 level on the official market.
"The market is seen rallying further in the coming days as
more investors are attracted to take position," another stock
($1 = 314.50 naira)
(Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Larry King)