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Nigerian stocks hit 2-year high on earnings hopes

LAGOS, July 24 (Reuters) - Nigerian stocks climbed to more than two year highs on Monday, lifted by gains in Dangote Cement as investors piled into the shares in anticipation of its half-year earnings.

Dangote Cement, which accounts for a third of total market capitalisation, rose 2.44 percent to lift the main share index 1.86 percent to a level last seen in May 2015.

Traders said investors were expecting strong a half-year performance from listed firms as results start pouring in this month.

Sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest stock market had put in a lackluster performance after a sharp fall in crude prices from mid-2014 led foreign investors to flee its financial markets.

The drop in oil prices also pushed the economy into recession, triggered a currency crisis and forcing the central bank to introduce controls.

In April, the banking regulator partly lifted some restrictions to allow foreign players to bring in their hard currency at market-determined rates. The move has spurred equities by more than doubling trading volumes.

Analysts say average daily turnover stood at over $16 million from April compared with $6 million daily from January.

Other gainers included conglomerate Transcorp, up 8.05 percent, Julius Berger, up 4.96 percent, and Access bank up 4.46 percent. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Editing by Chijioke Ohuocha and Mark Potter)