(Adds index close, analyst comment)
By Chijioke Ohuocha
LAGOS, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Nigerian stocks climbed to a nine-year high on Friday before edging down as some investors chose to lock in their profits.
The equity market gained more than 1 percent during the day, but was down 0.33 percent at the close, below 43,000 points.
Stocks have gained strongly in January, extending 2017’s 43 percent rise. The rally has taken the index up 12.55 percent since the start of the year.
Some see Friday’s late fall as temporary.
“I expect the market to remain net positive from now till March when earnings seasons begin as investors position for dividend yield and capital appreciation,” said an Africa equity sales analyst at a Nigerian stockbroker.
Twenty-nine companies were up at the close of trade, down from 46 that were ahead mid-session, as investor sentiment waned.
Banks led the decline. The index of Nigeria’s top 10 lenders shed 2.23 percent.
Flour Mills of Nigeria, which plans to start marketing from Jan. 15 to raise 39.86 billion naira in fresh equity, fell 5 percent, while Zenith Bank declined the most, sliding 5.3 percent. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Toby Chopra and Hugh Lawson)