January 10, 2018 / 2:37 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Nigerian stocks record biggest daily rise in seven months

(Releads with closing index move, traders comment)

LAGOS, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Nigerian stocks posted their biggest daily gain in seven months on Wednesday, extending the 2017 rally into the new year with the main share index rising 3.6 percent in late trades.

Stocks extended gains for a fifth session to a new three-year high.

The index which has gained 5.5 percent after seven trading days this year, closed at 41,816 points, a level last seen in August 2014.

Last year it jumped 42 percent, its biggest gain since 2013, and traders had said they expected further advances fuelled by hopes of lower interest rates and a more stable currency.

Investors have been snapping up consumer goods and banking shares this year with year-end results due in March, especially after data showed that Nigeria’s forex reserve had started to increase after a currency crisis, a sign of support for the naira, traders said.

The central bank on Monday said Nigeria’s dollar reserves rose by nearly $1 billion from December to $40.4 billion as of Jan. 5. Though they remain shy of $64 billion peak reached in August 2008.

The index of Nigeria’s top 10 lenders led the charge, rallying 5.3 percent. Diamond Bank, Wema Bank and Sterling Bank each rose more than 9 percent.

Fuel retailer Conoil, Eterna Oil and Champion Brewery gained the maximum 10 percent allowed. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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