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Nigerian Stocks Target Month-High as Asset Law Drives Purchases

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Nigerian stocks gained a fourth day and headed for a month-high as institutional investors buy stocks to comply with asset holding laws in the country, Compass Investments and Securities Limited said.

The All-Share Index gained 1.5 percent to 20,416.76, the highest since Nov. 14, reducing its loss this year to 18 percent.

“Institutional investors such as pension fund administrators and insurance companies want to ensure that their portfolios meet their year-end requirements,” Emeka Madubuike, managing director of Lagos-based Compass, said by phone today. These investors are required by the Nigerian law to invest a certain minimum amount of their assets in equities, “and this must affect the demand side,” he said.

Fidelity Bank Plc, a Nigerian lender that sought to buy Afribank Plc, one of the lenders taken over by government in August, led the gainers. The stock rose by the maximum daily limit of 5 percent, its biggest daily increase since Aug. 15, to 1.47 naira. Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc, a Nigerian insurer, increased by the maximum daily limit of 5 percent, the highest daily jump since May 3. Nestle Foods Nigeria Plc, the biggest food company by market value, surged 5 percent to 445.66 naira, the most since Jan. 25, 2002, while Access Bank Plc, which acquired Intercontinental Bank Plc, one of the eight lenders bailed out by the central bank two years ago, rallied 5 percent to 4.66 naira.

First Bank of Nigeria Plc, the country’s third-biggest lender by market value, advanced a fifth day, its longest winning streak since Oct. 31, gaining 5 percent to 9.32 naira, while Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Nigeria’s biggest producer of the sweetener by market value, climbed a third day, soaring 4.9 percent to 4.5 naira.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vincent Nwanma in Lagos at vnwanma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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