December 31, 2012 / 2:21 PM / 5 years ago

Nigeria stocks up 34 pct in 2012, gains seen continuing

LAGOS, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Nigerian stocks rose to a 32-month high on Monday, ending the year up 34 percent in the index’s best performance since 2007, led by growth in the consumer goods and banking sectors which is expected to continue next year.

Africa’s second biggest economy and top oil producer is growing in popularity as an investment destination, offering the promise of high economic growth and a consumer market of 160 million people. Its sovereign debt has soared since JP Morgan added it to its emerging market bond index this year.

“With continued interest in financials and consumer goods, we expect the market to extend gains into the New Year,” analysts at Vetiva Capital, said in a note, adding that banks will lead the charge in 2013.

Nigeria’s naira currency closed flat at 156.20 to the U.S. dollar but gained 1.8 percent over the year, supported by forex inflows from foreign investment into the local debt market and the central bank’s tight monetary policy.

Stocks rose 0.76 percent on Monday to cross a 28,000 point psychological level and closed the year at 28,079 points, a level last seen in April 2010, to become the second best performing index in sub-Saharan Africa after Uganda.

This year’s performance was supported by a stable naira, a flurry of strong earnings results and a new market-making system, attracting foreign investors and local fund managers back to equities, analysts and stockbrokers say.

The index of Nigeria’s top-10 consumer goods stocks ended up 41.3 percent to become the best performing sector while banking stocks finished up 21 percent.

Nigerian stocks recovered after falling 16 percent last year but the market is still less than half the value it was prior to the 2008 collapse, which wiped off 60 percent of stock values and coincided with a banking crisis. The index rose 70 percent in 2007.

Nigeria trade closed after a half day ahead of the New Year’s holiday. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha and Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Joe Brock, Ron Askew)

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