Saturday , December 7 2019

Nigeria stocks fall on policy delays


Nigeria’s benchmark stock index fell for a fifth day, a slump that underscores foreign investor frustration over a lack of policy progress since President Muhammadu Buhari won re-election in February.
The index dropped 0.5 percent by earlier close to the lowest since May 2017. It has declined 13 percent in the five months since Buhari, who is still to announce his cabinet, was declared the winner of the national vote.
“We are yet to see any major policy direction and foreign investors are not comfortable with that,” said Ayo Akinyele, an analyst at CSL Stockbrokers.
“We don’t have a new minister of finance — this is very critical to investors.”
The Nigeria Stock Exchange All Share Index has dropped 10 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent gain in an index of frontier markets.
The latest declines have pushed the 14-day relative strength index for the main stocks gauge below 30, a level that suggests the stocks may be poised for a recovery.
Recent central bank steps to push Nigerian banks to increase lending in a bid to boost the economy is weighing further on sentiment.
An index of local banking stocks has dropped 23 percent from its 2019 high reached in February.
“The circular from thecentral bank actually contributed — we saw significant sell-offs in some of the top banks,” said Ayodeji Ebo, managing director at Afrinvest Securities in Lagos.

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