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Downward Momentum Persists Amid Lingering Concerns About Economy, Trade

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Downward Momentum Persists Amid Lingering Concerns About Economy, Trade

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a lower opening on Monday, with stocks likely to see further downside following the sell-off seen last Friday.

The downward momentum on Wall Street comes amid lingering concerns about global economic growth as well as continued uncertainty about trade between the U.S. and China.

Traders may also be on edge ahead of the Federal Reserve?s highly anticipated monetary policy announcement scheduled for Wednesday.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by another quarter point, although traders are likely to closely scrutinize the central bank?s accompanying statement and forecasts for clues about future rate hikes.

Negative sentiment may also be generated in reaction to a report from the New York Federal Reserve showing a substantial slowdown in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the month of December.

Stocks have recently seen considerable volatility, however, suggesting an early move to the downside may not be the end of the day?s story for the markets.

Following the lackluster performance in the previous session, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Friday. The Dow and the S&P 500 tumbled to their lowest closing levels in seven and eight months, respectively.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but remained firmly negative. The Dow plunged 496.87 points or 2 percent to 24,100.51, the Nasdaq nosedived 159.67 points or 2.3 percent to 6,910.67 and the S&P 500 plummeted 50.59 points or 1.9 percent to 2,599.95.

With the steep losses on the day, the major averages also moved lower for the week. The Nasdaq slid by 0.8 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 slumped by 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The sell-off on Wall Street came amid renewed concerns about the outlook for global economic growth following the release of data showing disappointing industrial output and retail sales growth in China.

The latest batch of economic data showed Chinese industrial output grew at its slowest pace in nearly three years, increasing by 5.4 percent in November after growing by 5.9 percent a month earlier.

Meanwhile, retail sales in China grew 8.1 percent in November, the weakest growth since 2003. In October, retail sales were up 8.6 percent.

The slower pace of industrial output and retail sales growth was partly due to the impact of the ongoing trade dispute with the U.S.

President Donald Trump appeared to take credit for China’s disappointing economic data in a post on Twitter on Friday.

“China just announced that their economy is growing much slower than anticipated because of our Trade War with them,” Trump tweeted. “U.S. is doing very well. China wants to make a big and very comprehensive deal. It could happen, and rather soon!”

Trump seemed to reference China’s recently confirmed decision to temporarily lower tariffs on vehicles made in the U.S. to 15 percent from 40 percent.

A report showing growth in the eurozone private sector has decelerated to its slowest pace in more than four years in December added to the negative sentiment.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing slightly weaker than expected retail sales growth in November due to a steep drop in sales by gas stations, although underlying retail sales growth remained strong.

The Commerce Department said retail sales edged up by 0.2 percent in November after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.1 percent in October.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the report said closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food services, increased by 0.9 percent in November after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in October.

“Along with the continued strength of the labor market, the boost to real incomes from the recent plunge in gasoline prices appears to be providing a big support to spending growth, which could continue for a few more months,” said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, “Nonetheless, with the earlier boost from tax cuts now fading and rising interest rates likely to become an increasing drag, we still expect consumption growth to slow next year.”

A separate report from the Federal Reserve showed a much bigger than expected increase in industrial production in November, but manufacturing output was unchanged.

Oil service stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, extending a recent sell-off. The Philadelphia Oil Service Index plunged by 4.3 percent to its lowest closing level in fifteen years. The continued weakness among oil service stocks came amid a steep stop by the price of crude oil.

Significant weakness was also visible among pharmaceutical stocks, as reflected by the 3.4 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) posted a steep loss after a report from Reuters said the healthcare giant knew for decades that its talcum baby powder supply contained asbestos.

Natural gas, software, retail and gold stocks also saw considerable weakness on the day amid a broad based sell-off on Wall Street.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

Achieve Greater Control of Your Assets with a Living Trust

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Living Trust

By FBNQuest

Estate Planning is more about gaining control of your assets while you are alive than about one’s passing. A Living Trust (an Estate Planning tool) is one way by which individuals maintain control over their assets whilst alive and also have their wishes carried out when they pass on. It is called a Living Trust because it takes effect during the lifetime of the individual who set it up.

Indeed, the power of a Trust is in the control. A Trust left for a beneficiary will be held and managed by a Trust organisation and the assets could then be distributed to the beneficiary in a predetermined way.

The design of the Trust will ensure that other interested parties are unable to change the instruction of the creator of the Trust. With this arrangement, you are able to achieve greater control over what happens to your assets, providing greater security for the beneficiaries of the Trust.

A Trust also allows you to control how the assets in the Trust are managed, ensuring that only those that you specify can stake a claim to them.

A Living Trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A Revocable Trust can be revoked or amended, but an Irrevocable Trust cannot be changed once it is executed. The assets placed into a properly drafted Irrevocable Trust are permanently removed from the Estate of the individual. They are therefore not considered part of the Estate and will not be subject to estate taxes in the event of the creator’s demise.

In addition to estate tax savings, a Living Trust can offer you tremendous flexibility and efficiency. It can hold the money for your minor children until they are responsible enough to manage the money themselves. If you cannot trust your children or any other beneficiary with the responsibility of managing your assets after your demise, the Trust can address this concern. The trustee can do so by holding the assets in trust for the Settlor’s lifetime and only distribute it to the beneficiary as stated in the Trust.

Placing your assets in the Trust during your lifetime instead of a Will also helps you avoid probate. A Will that is probated as well as other information relating to the assets listed in the Will becomes a public record when you pass on. In contrast, a Living Trust is a private document and the assets listed in it will not be exposed to the general public.

The added benefit of a Living Trust is its usefulness during your lifetime in the event that you become incapacitated. You can arrange for a Trustee to manage the Trust assets on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Does a Living Trust sound like a good fit for you to gain control of your assets while preparing to gift these assets to a beneficiary? If so, consider reaching out to FBNQuest Trustees. We can help you create a Living Trust agreement that outlines how the Trust assets are to be managed and distributed.

Our team will also walk you through the process of transferring assets to the Trust. The process may take less time than you think.

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Economy

C&I Leasing Drops Centurion Registrars Limited

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Centurion Registrars Limited

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Centurion Registrars Limited has been dropped as the registrar of C&I Leasing Plc, a statement from the company has confirmed.

Centurion Registrars was replaced by C&I Leasing with Cordros Registrars Limited, a notice signed by the company secretary, Mbanugo Udenze & Co, stated.

It was disclosed that the appointment of the new registrar became effective from January 1, 2022.

“C&I Leasing Plc hereby notifies Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), its shareholders and the investing public of the appointment of Cordros Registrars Limited as its Registrars, share registration and data management service provider.

“Cordros Registrars Limited replaces Centurion Registrars Limited and takes over the register of members of C & I Leasing Plc effective January 1, 2022,” the disclosure stated.

C&I Leasing is one of the companies trading its shares on the Nigerian stock exchange. It provides both operating and finance leases and other services.

Its principal activities include the extension of structured operating and finance leases to the productive and other sectors of the economy.

The company was established in 1990 as a private organisation but was converted into a public company listed at the Nigerian stock exchange in 1997.

The Ghanaian subsidiary of the group; Leasafric Ghana Plc is the largest provider of fleet management services in Ghana.

The fleet management, which is managed along with the Hertz car rental franchise in Nigeria, is adequately supported by C&I leasing’s own service centre and their Citracks Telematics solutions making the fleet management business a one-stop brand for fleet management services.

Over the weekend, in a chat with newsmen, its chief executive, Mr Ugoji Ugoji, said the firm was planning to explore opportunities in the digital space to grow its revenue on a sustainable basis despite the pandemic.

He also stated that C&I Leasing will retool its fleet business and focus on vehicle fleets due to increased opportunity in the space.

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Economy

Nigeria’s December 2021 Inflation Jumps to 15.63%

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Nigeria's inflation

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in nine months, the inflation rate in Nigeria increased to 15.63 per cent year-on-year in December 2021, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday stated.

In the previous eight months, the inflation rate in Nigeria had slowed, declining to 15.40 per cent in November 2021, according to the stats office.

In the report released today, the NBS said when compared with the corresponding period of 2020, inflation, which is a measure of the consumer price index (CPI), moderated by 0.13 per cent as it stood at 15.75 per cent a year ago.

The stats office further disclosed that increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the headline index and on a month-on-month basis, it rose by 1.82 per cent last month, 0.74 per cent higher than the 1.08 per cent recorded in November 2021.

In addition, the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending December 2021 increased by 16.95 per cent from 16.98 per cent over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period recorded in November 2021 down by 0.03 per cent points.

As for urban inflation, it increased by 16.17 per cent (year-on-year) in December 2021 from 16.33 per cent in December 2020, while rural inflation jumped by 15.11 per cent in December 2021 from 15.20 per cent in December 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.87 per cent in December 2021, up by 0.75 the rate recorded in November 2021, which stood at 1.12 per cent, while the rural index also rose by 1.77 per cent in December 2021, up by 0.73 the rate that was recorded in November 2021, which was 1.04 per cent.

Business Post reports that in the period under review, the composite food sub-index rose by 17.37 per cent compared with 19.56 per cent a year ago, indicating a decline by 2.19 per cent.

The NBS attributed this to moderation in the prices of bread and cereals, food product, meat, fish, potatoes, yam and other tuber, soft drinks and fruit.

On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 2.19 per cent in December 2021, up by 1.12

Per cent from 1.07 per cent recorded in November 2021.

It said the average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12-month period ending December 2021 over the previous twelve-month average was 20.40 per cent, 0.22 per cent lower than the average annual rate of change recorded in November 2021, which stood at 20.62 per cent.

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