Naira Stocks down on profit booking, currency concerns

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Naira Currency play

Naira devalues further against dollar at N372 to $1

(Enconium)
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Nigerian stocks fell almost two percent on Wednesday, hit by a major decline in cement companies' shares, including Dangote Cement, which accounts for the third of local bourse capitalisation.

The local bourse index dropped 1.81 percent to 24,070 points at 1221 GMT as investors took profits from previous gains on the stocks.

"Due to the rapid decline of the naira's value, some offshore investors are booking profit and selling down their holdings," one stock broker said.

Shares in Dangote Cement fell 4.11 percent, Ashaka cement was down 4 percent while Cement Company of Northern Nigeria dropped 8.89 percent to drag the index down.

Currency and stock markets have been hit hard by the persistent fall in crude oil, Nigeria's main export, triggering a fall in government revenues and the exit of foreign investors from the local bourse.

Nigerian currency was trading within a range of 352 and 360 a dollar on the parallel market on Wednesday, down to a new record low from a range 347 to 352 on Tuesday due to persistent dollar shortages amid control by the central bank.

The stock index, which has the second-biggest weighting after Kuwait on the MSCI frontier market index, has declined by around 14.41 percent since January because of concerns over the naira's depreciation and the unwillingness of the West African country to adjust its exchange rate.

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