By Investors Hub
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a modestly lower opening on Friday following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session.
Trading activity on the day may be somewhat subdued, with a lack of major U.S. economic data keeping some traders on the sidelines.
Uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets may also contribute to choppy trading following the recent move to record highs by the major averages.
Earnings news is likely to attract attention, however, with several big-name companies recently releasing the quarterly results.
Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Thursday, with the major averages bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line. Despite the lackluster performance, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a new record closing high.
The major averages finished the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq inched up 4.96 points or 0.1 percent to 6,390.00, the Dow dipped 28.97 points or 0.1 percent to 21,611.78 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.38 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,473.45.
The choppy trading on Wall Street partly reflected uncertainty about the outlook for the markets after the major averages reached new record closing highs on Wednesday.
Traders were also digesting the European Central Bank’s monetary policy decision, with the bank leaving its key interest rates unchanged.
The ECB also reiterated its plan to purchase 60 billion euros worth of government bonds and other assets each month through December, or beyond, if necessary.
Additionally, the ECB noted it stands ready to increase the program in terms of size or duration if the outlook becomes less favorable.
ECB President Mario Draghi indicated in his subsequent press conference that the asset purchase program would continue until there is a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with the bank’s target.
On the U.S. economic front, a report released by the Labor Department showed a much bigger than expected decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended July 15th.
The report said initial jobless claims fell to 233,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 248,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 245,000.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia also released a report showing that regional manufacturing activity grew at a notably slower rate in the month of July.
The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region slumped to 19.5 in July from 27.6 in June.
While a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to show a much more modest drop to 24.0.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose by more than expected in the month of June.
The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.6 percent in June after rising by a revised 0.2 percent in May. Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.4 percent
Telecom stocks showed a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Telecom Index down by 2.1 percent. With the drop, the index fell to its lowest closing level in a year.
Communications chip maker Qualcomm (QCOM) posted a notable loss after reporting third quarter results that beat estimates but providing disappointing guidance.
Considerable weakness was also visible among trucking stocks, as reflected by the 2.1 loss posted by the Dow Jones Trucking Index. C.H. Robinson (CHRW) led the trucking sector lower after reporting second quarter earnings that came in below analyst estimates.
Railroad and oil service stocks also came under pressure on the day, while notable strength was visible among biotechnology and pharmaceutical stocks.
Within the biotech sector, Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) moved sharply higher after the biopharmaceutical company reported a narrower than expected second quarter loss.
Airtel Africa, 17 Others Lift Stock Exchange by 0.46%
By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria’s stock exchange closed positive on Friday by 0.46 per cent following a renewed bargain hunting in Airtel Africa, Guinness Nigeria, Sterling Bank, Ardova and 14 others.
This pushed the All-Share Index (ASI) of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited by 199.52 points to 43,308.29 points from the previous day’s 43,108.77 points and jerked the market capitalisation higher by N104billion to N22.598 trillion from N22.494 trillion.
Royal Exchange and ABC Transport grew by 10.00 per cent each at the trading session to finish at 55 kobo and 33 kobo respectively.
AIICO Insurance gained 9.38 per cent to close at 70 kobo, University Press appreciated by 8.89 per cent to N2.94, while Regency Assurance jumped 7.69 per cent to 42 kobo.
On the other hand, UPDC REIT topped the losers’ table of 24 members with a price depreciation of 9.82 per cent to settle for the day at N5.05.
Champion Breweries retreated by 5.90 per cent to N2.55, UPDC moderated by 5.07 per cent to N1.31, FTN Cocoa eased by 4.76 per cent to 40 kobo, while Veritas Kapital contracted by 4.55 per cent to 21 kobo.
Unlike the preceding day, the level of activity was mixed yesterday with the trading value declining by 15.15 per cent to N3.6 billion from N4.2 billion, while the trading volume rose by 14.73 per cent to 305.3 million units from 266.1 million, with the number of deals rising by 13.96 per cent 4,450 deals from 3,905 deals.
FCMB finished the day as the most active stock with 81.1 million units worth N247.9 million, trailed by GTCO with 29.5 million units valued at N738.3 million.
Further, Access Bank transacted 28.1 million units valued at N253.9 million, Honeywell Flour sold 16.8 million units worth N70.2 million, while Zenith Bank exchanged 13.2 million units for N320.2 million.
At the market on Friday, the insurance sector gained 1.98 per cent, while the quartet of the consumer goods, banking, energy and industrial goods counter lost 0.89 per cent, 0.33 per cent, 0.03 per cent and 0.01 per cent respectively.
Naira Closes Week Flat as Cryptocurrencies Suffer Heavy Loss
By Adedapo Adesanya
The local currency closed flat against the US Dollar at both the Investors and Exporters (I&E) and the interbank segments of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Friday, November 26.
At the I&E segment of the market, the domestic currency retained the preceding session’s rate of N415.07/$1 amid an upshoot in the turnover for the trading session, according to data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange.
At the market window, the turnover achieved at the final session for the week was $215.47 million, 119.7 per cent or $117.4 million higher than the $98.07 million recorded the day before.
At the interbank window, the Naira halted its depreciation against the American currency as it remained unchanged at N411.64/$1 at the close of transactions yesterday.
In the same trend, the local currency was flat against the Pound Sterling to sell for N548.55/£1, while the Nigerian currency stuck to N462.07/€1 as it was sold at the preceding session.
Bears Rampage Cryptocurrencies
Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies witnessed a bearish outcome on Friday as all the 10 cryptos monitored by Business Post weakened and analysts attributed the dip to the rout that gripped global investments following the discovery of a new coronavirus variant.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the new variant known as B.1.1.529 may contain more than 30 mutations. The United Kingdom and other nations have temporarily suspended flights from six African countries in response.
At the market, Bitcoin (BTC) recorded a 6.7 per cent depreciation to sell at N30,862,885.94, Ethereum (ETH) fell by 1.7 per cent to trade at N2,388,999.00, while Ripple (XRP) witnessed a 6.3 per cent fall to N543.44.
Furthermore, (DASH) dropped 5.9 per cent to trade at N109,054.38, Litecoin (LTC) slumped by 7.2 per cent to N111,931.77, Tron (TRX) made a 7.6 per cent loss to close at N52.66, Cardano (ADA) retreated by 5.0 per cent to N918.72, Binance Coin (BNB) witnessed a 4.2 per cent loss to sell at N242,540.63, Dogecoin (DOGE) also followed with a 4.2 per cent slide as it traded at N123.87, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) moved down by 0.7 per cent to sell for N569.90.
Unlisted Stocks Trade Flat Friday Amid Low Investor Appetite
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange closed in the flat territory on Friday as the interest of investors in unlisted stocks waned during the session.
According to data from the exchange, the level of activity declined as there was a 99.9 per cent fall in the volume of securities transacted by market participants as only 288 units exchanged hands compared with the 371,600 units traded at the previous day.
In the same vein, there was a decrease in the total value of shares transacted by traders on Friday and this depleted by 99.0 per cent as securities valued at N65,088 transacted in contrast to the N6.5 million exchanged on Thursday.
Business Post reports that the number of deals executed during the last trading session of the week waned by 50.00 per cent as only two deals were recorded as against the four deals carried out at the preceding trading day.
At the close of transactions, the major performance indicators of the exchange remained unchanged, with the NASD Unlisted Security Index (NSI) flat at 744.90 points as the market capitalisation remained intact at N615.42 billion.
The unlisted securities market was without a price gainer or a price loser as the equity price of all the stocks on the exchange remained unchanged.
Also, the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis remained Food Concepts Plc as it has transacted a total of 11.4 billion units of its shares worth N14.4 billion. Lighthouse Financial Services Plc has traded 1.1 billion units worth N546.32 million to occupy the second spot, while Geo Fluids Plc, which claimed the third place, has traded 1.0 billion units worth N700.1 million.
By value, on a year-to-date basis, Food Concepts Plc was also on top of the chart with the sale of 11.4 billion units worth N14.4 billion, followed by Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc with 456.5 million units valued at N9.2 billion, and VFD Group Plc with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.
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