LAGOS, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s GT Bank traded the largest volume on the Lagos bourse on Thursday in deals worth 2.89 billion naira ($9.2 million) as foreign funds exchanged shares in off-market deals following strong half-year results, traders said.
Guaranty Trust Bank traded 71 million units in mostly cross-deals at an average price of 40.80 naira between some offshore funds and local investors, traders said.
A broker said foreign funds viewed the bank favourably as one of the most profitable and some were taking positions in it.
Last week the top tier lender posted an 18 percent rise in half-year pretax profit to 101.10 billion naira, the highest profit level so far announced by any lender in the West African country.
Shares in GT Bank rose 0.25 percent to close at 40.60 naira, valuing the lender at 1.19 trillion naira. The stock is up 65.2 percent so far this year, adding to 36 percent gains last year.
The equity market in Africa’s biggest economy, which recorded lacklustre performance earlier this year, has benefited from dollar inflows into the currency market after the central bank in April liberalised the market for foreign investors.
That singular reform has pushed the index up 38 percent so far. Though stocks shed 1.3 percent on Thursday on profit taking, particularly in Nigeria’s biggest listed company Dangote Cement.
Traders also said investors were selling off some lenders which had been overbought prior to the release of half-year earnings to book profits.
Top decliners were fuel retailers Conoil, MRS and 11 Plc, formerly known as Mobil Oil each down more than 4.9 percent.
$1 = 314 naira Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha, editing by David Evans