World Markets

Nigerian stocks rise as local funds snap up banking shares

Credit: REUTERS/AFOLABI SOTUNDE

Nigerian stocks rose 1.84% to a five-week high on Thursday, powered by banking shares, as local investors shut out of a treasury auction poured money into shares instead.

By Chijioke Ohuocha

ABUJA, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Nigerian stocks rose 1.84% to a five-week high on Thursday, powered by banking shares, as local investors shut out of a treasury auction poured money into shares instead.

The index, which is down 16% so far this year, rose to a level last seen in October, as Nigeria's top 10 banking shares .NGSEBNK10 jumped 7.04%.

The central bank last month barred local investors from participating in its Treasury bill auctions, in a bid to draw more foreign interest to boost dollar liquidity and prop up the naira.

On Thursday, the central bank auctioned 300 billion naira worth of open market securities, traders said. But with local investors shut out of the sale - the second since the ban was introduced - they had to seek alternative places to park their money.

One fund manager, who said he had been investing in cash and bank deposits since the central bank announcement, said he thought the treasury auction ban could be relaxed soon as excess liquidity affects the markets.

Shares in 31 companies rose on Thursday on the bourse, which has had a mixed performance this year, while just three declined.

Access Bank ACCESS.LG, which completed a takeover of local rival Diamond Bank in April, gained 9.6%. Access is up 43% year to date. FBN Holding FBNH.LG, FCMB FCMB.LG, Wema Bank WEMABAN.LG, each rose more than 9%.

(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Hugh Lawson)

((chijioke.ohuocha@thomsonreuters.com; +234 703 4180 621; Reuters Messaging: chijioke.ohuocha.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))

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