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Optimism About More Dovish Fed May Generate Buying Interest

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Optimism About More Dovish Fed May Generate Buying Interest

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Wednesday, with stocks likely to add to the gains posted in yesterday?s volatile session.

Traders may once again look to pick up stocks at reduced levels after the markets were unable to sustain the initial upward move in the previous session.

The major averages managed to end Tuesday?s trading in positive territory, although many sectors extended recent sell-offs.

The markets may also benefit from optimism the Federal Reserve will strike a more dovish tone in its announcement of its latest monetary policy decision this afternoon.

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

Ahead of the announcement, President Donald Trump has been urging the Fed to refrain from its gradual pace of raising rates.

?Don?t let the market become any more illiquid than it already is,? Trump told the Fed in a post on Twitter on Tuesday. ?Stop with the 50 B’s. Feel the market, don’t just go by meaningless numbers. Good luck!?

While the Fed will not want to be seen as bowing to political pressure, the central bank may still signal a slower pace of rate hikes due to recent disappointing economic data, low inflation, and concerns about the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

After failing to sustain an early move to the upside, stocks continued to experience substantial volatility over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. The major averages fluctuated wildly as the day progressed before closing in positive territory.

The S&P 500 hit its lowest intraday level in over a year but ended the up just 0.22 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 2,546.16. The Dow rose 82.66 points or 0.4 percent to 23,675.64 and the Nasdaq climbed 30.18 points or 0.5 percent to 6,783.91.

The initial strength on Wall Street was partly due to bargain hunting, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels on the heels of the sharp drop seen over the two previous sessions.

The pullback seen Monday afternoon pulled the Dow down to its lowest closing level in over eight months, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 dropped to their lowest closing levels in over a year.

The subsequent volatility came as traders remained on edge ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial increase in U.S. housing starts in November, as a spike in multi-family starts more than offset a continued drop in single-family starts.

The Commerce Department said housing starts jumped by 3.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.256 million in November from the revised October estimate of 1.217 million.

Economists had expected housing starts to edge down to a rate of 1.225 million from the 1.228 million originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said building permits surged up by 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.328 million in November from the revised October rate of 1.265 million.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to dip to a rate of 1.259 million from the 1.263 million originally reported for October.

Gold stocks showed a substantial move to the upside over the course of the session, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 2.3 percent. With the jump, the index reached a four-month closing high.

The rally by gold stocks came amid a modest increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for February delivery rising $1.80 to $1,253.60 an ounce.

Housing stocks also saw considerable strength on the heels of the housing starts data, moving notably higher along with computer hardware and semiconductor stocks.

On the other hand, energy stocks moved sharply lower amid a steep drop by the price of crude oil. Crude for January delivery plunged $3.64 to a fifteen-month closing low of $46.24 a barrel amid concerns about oversupply.

Oil service stocks turned in some of the energy sector’s worst performances, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 2.7 percent to its lowest closing level in fifteen years.

Tobacco stocks also extended a recent sell-off, while considerable weakness also emerged among biotechnology and banking stocks.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Group Launches Institute to Empower Startups, Entrepreneurs

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Encourage Entrepreneurship

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Association of African Startups, a leading Pan-African organization focused on equipping African Entrepreneurs with the required skills to create a sustainable business, has launched its Business Institute tailored to empowering African entrepreneurs.

The unveiling took place at the Association of African Startups Tech summit that occurred on June 18, 2022.

The Association of African Startups Business Institute (TAAS Business Institute) is a seamless tech platform that allows African entrepreneurs and the diaspora to gain access to 50 courses bathed in bundles for ease of learning and that would aid in business transformation.

These courses have been designed to help both existing entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs to scale their businesses and enter new markets within the continents and in the diaspora.

The institution allows entrepreneurs to gain access to 12-week intensive learning and development sessions with academia with over 30 years of experience.

Commenting on the development, Mrs Just Omomo Ibe, the founder and President of the Association of African Startups said the launch was a step towards uniting Africa’s five regions.

“We are pleased to finally launch the Association of African Startups Business Institute. This is a huge feat for us to bring to life a one-of-a-kind virtual training institute relevant to the regions of Africa and the diaspora. The goal is to train and equip and 10,000 entrepreneurs across the 5 regions.

“The Association of African Startups business Institute was designed for each of these entrepreneurs having access to 12 weeks of intensive learning and development sessions.

“Over the years, there has been a growing gap in which entrepreneurs lack the requisite skills and resources needed to grow their business.

“Therefore, I believe there is a need to bridge the gap which would aid in improving the ease of doing business. The Business institute was created to equip and empowers entrepreneurs with the requisite resources needed to compete comparatively within their market and globally.

“We believe with this new feat; we are strategically and deliberately creating a pool of entrepreneurs whose businesses will stand and surpass the 5 years mark of entrepreneurs within the continent,” she said.

She added, “Join us to make our strategic objective achievable by partnering with us to reach 10,000 entrepreneurs across the 5 regions.”

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Economy

NUPRC to License Successful Marginal Oilfield Bids June 28

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Marginal Oilfields

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has confirmed that it will issue Petroleum Prospecting Licences (PPL) to successful awardees of Marginal Fields in the 2020 Bid Round on Tuesday, June 28.

The disclosure came from Mr Gbenga Komolafe, the Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC in a statement issued over the weekend, saying that the licencing would be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021.

The PPL is expected to ensure that the awardees contribute to the country’s increased crude oil production capacity which currently stood around 1.4 million barrels per day.

Nigeria has been bedevilled by a lack of capacity to meet the 1.799 million barrels per day capacity allocated to it by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other allies known as OPEC+ under a record deal signed in 2020.

With this new development, it hopes to exceed that allotted capacity soon.

Mr Komolafe said that the commission had in March informed all participants in the 2020 marginal oilfield bids round programme that it had put all necessary machinery in place to conclude the bid round exercise in line with the PIA 2021.

He also said that the agency would unveil the implementation template for the Host Communities Development Trust for commencement of the provisions under Section 235 of the PIA.

This, he said, was to positively impact restiveness in the host communities, and in the process guarantee seamless operations, boost investors’ confidence and provide enabling environment for sustainable development of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.

“These will mark the conclusion of some of the most urgent and critical tasks inherited by the Commission when it was inaugurated in October 2021, after the signing into law of the PIA 2021,” he said.

He added that the Commission constituted an in-house team to distil and address the concerns of awardees with a view to settling issues affecting multiple awardees per asset and formation of Special Purpose Vehicles by awardees, in line with the respective letters of award.

Mr Komolafe, therefore, urged awardees to avail themselves of the resolution mechanism provided by the Commission in the overriding national interest.

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Economy

NOSDRA Blames Vandals for OML 18 Oil Leaks in Rivers

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OML 118 contract renewal

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has confirmed an oil wellhead leak at the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 due to activities of vandals.

The well is operated by an indigenous operator, Eroton Exploration and Production Limited.

OML 18, which produces and exports crude through the 97-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL), is located near the corridors of the export line in Rivers.

It was revealed that residents said the facility had been discharging oil and gas into the coastal environment for the past week.

Mr Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA, who confirmed the leak, said NOSDRA had received reports on the incident and efforts were being made to plug the leaking oil well.

“The company reported and oil recovery is underway. Efforts are on to stop the source which is a wellhead,” Mr Musa said.

Also, a notification report by Mr Odianosen Massade, Corporate Communications Lead of Eroton indicated that the incident occurred on June 15, while a site assessment visit was carried out on June 23.

The oil firm said that preliminary findings indicated that the incident was due to suspected vandalism.

“This is to bring to your attention the loss of control of Cawthorne Channel well 15 resulting to an oil spill,” the company said.

CAWC015L/S is a dual string well which started production in May 1977. The shorts string was shut-in in 1988 due to the high gas oil ratio (HGOR), while the long string watered out and well quit in 1991.

“The spill started on the 15th of June 2022 and immediately an emergency response procedure was activated.

“The operations team quickly visited the site for preliminary investigation and discovered that the wellhead was vandalised.

“It was also observed that the wellhead platform was removed, and this will compound the difficulties in gaining access to the wellhead.

“Our team of Well Engineers are working with contractors and evaluating the safest procedure that will be required to bring the well under control.

“We have activated our oil spill emergency response plan and booms have been deployed for mitigation in the area as a preliminary containment procedure.

“Notifications have also been sent to all the relevant Regulators (NOSDRA, NUPRC & RSMENV).

“A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) by all stakeholders is planned for this week although this is subject to the readiness and availability of the critical stakeholders.

“Our operations team is monitoring the site, commenced oil recovery and are prepared to respond to any escalation,” Eroton stated.

This is one in a series of leaks with one of the most recent happening on November 5, 2021, at nearby OML 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production discharged more than 8,000 barrels of crude oil for some 32 days before the leak was plugged.

Eroton and Aiteo acquired their assets following the 2015 divestment by Shell Petroleum Development Company from some of its onshore assets.

The two Nigerian companies assumed operator status in the joint venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

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