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Trade Talks News Triggers Buying Interest on Wall Street

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Trade Talks News Triggers Buying Interest on Wall Street

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday, with stocks likely to extend the strong upward move seen over the course of the previous session.

Early buying interest is likely to be generated in reaction to news that the U.S. and China plan to hold high level trade talks in early October.

A statement from China?s Commerce Ministry said both sides agreed to the new round of talks during a phone call between Chinese Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

?Both sides agreed they should work together and take practical actions to create favorable conditions for the negotiations,? China?s Commerce Ministry said, according to a CNBC translation.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Trade Representative?s office confirmed the phone call and said the U.S. and China agreed to hold meetings ?in the coming weeks.?

U.S. and Chinese officials will purportedly hold deputy-level talks later this month in preparation for the meeting in October.

A report from payroll processor ADP showing stronger than expected private sector job growth in August may also contribute to the positive sentiment.

?Businesses are holding firm on their payrolls despite the slowing economy,? said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody?s Analytics. ?Hiring has moderated, but layoffs remain low. As long as this continues recession will remain at bay.?

After gapping open notably higher, stocks saw some further upside over the course of the trading session on Wednesday. The rally on the day came on the heels of the sharp pullback seen on Tuesday.

The major averages ended the session near their best levels of the day. The Dow advanced 237.45 points or 0.9 percent to 26,355.47, the Nasdaq soared 102.72 points or 1.3 percent to 7,976.88 and the S&P 500 jumped 31.51 points or 1.1 percent to 2,937.78.

The initial strength on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to developments overseas, including news that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has withdrawn a controversial extradition bill.

The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China, sparked widespread protests across Hong Kong.

Positive sentiment was also generated in reaction to a report showing growth in China’s service sector accelerated in August despite broader economic headwinds.

Back in the U.S., the Commerce Department released a report showing the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in the month of July amid an increase in exports and a modest decrease in imports.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to $54.0 billion in July from a revised $55.5 billion in June.

Economists had expected the deficit to narrow to $53.5 billion from the $55.2 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The narrower trade deficit came as the value of exports climbed by 0.6 percent to $207.4 billion, while the value of imports edged down by 0.1 percent to $261.4 billion.

Stocks reached new highs following the release of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which said the U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace through the end of August.

The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, will be used by Fed officials to make their decision on interest rates at a two-meeting on September 17th and 18th.

The report noted continued concerns regarding tariffs and trade policy uncertainty but said the majority of businesses remain optimistic about the near-term outlook.

After turning in some of the market’s worst performances in the previous session, steel stocks showed a strong move back to the upside on the day.

Reflecting the strength in the sector, the NYSE Arca Steel Index surged up by 3.2 percent after tumbling by 2.6 percent on Tuesday.

Considerable strength was also visible among semiconductors stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent jump by the Semiconductor Index.

Oil service stocks also saw substantial strength on the day, benefiting from a sharp increase by the price of crude oil.

Computer hardware, gold and banking stocks also saw notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

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

NGX Group Targets Private Equity Investments, Mergers, Acquisitions

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NGX Group Shares

By Dipo Olowookere

In order to make shareholders enjoy the benefits of demutualisation and maximize returns, the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc is currently undertaking some financial planning activities.

These steps are being engineered by the Group CEO of the organisation, Mr Oscar Onyema, and they include the possibility of mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, treasury management, capital allocation and fundraising.

According to Mr Onyema, the company is well-positioned to achieve these goals, going by its financial performance in 2020, expressing optimism that these strategies would make the organisation’s shares attract investors when they are eventually listed on the NGX Limited.

“As the group progresses its plans to list on Nigerian Exchange Limited, there are exciting days ahead. The financial performance of the Group in 2020 showed strong resilience and prospects for growth.

“The group ended 2020 in a sound financial position with net asset growth of over 10 per cent to N31.28 billion and income and resulting surplus after tax valued at N6.02 billion and N1.84 billion respectively.

“In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, we maintained tight cost controls, which reduced expenses by 13 per cent despite investments in technology that allowed remote operations with zero downtime,” he had said.

On Thursday, September 9, 2021, the NGX Group held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Abuja. It was the first yearly shareholders’ gathering after the demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

At the meeting, shareholders approved all the resolutions proposed by the board, including the re-election of the non-executive directors who were retiring by rotation; the election of the members of the audit committee; the proposed remuneration for the board and non-executive members of the erstwhile national council of the NSE; and the introduction of equity-based incentives to employees’ remuneration, including an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) and a Performance-Based Long-Term Incentive Plan.

NGX Group, leading by example as a new corporate entity, is committed to the highest governance standards, recognising its role in critical capital markets infrastructure.

Much like leading exchanges in the world today (London Stock Exchange Group, Intercontinental Exchange, Singapore Exchange, Japan Exchange Group) and other African exchanges such as Johannesburg Stock Exchange and FMDQ, the demutualised NSE gave rise to a group structure with attendant benefits.

Today, NGX Group stands as the non-operating holding company with three (3) subsidiaries – the operating Exchange, Nigerian Exchange Limited led by Mr Temi Popoola, as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO); the independent regulatory company, NGX Regulation Limited led by Ms Tinuade Awe as the CEO; and the real estate company, NGX Real Estate with Mr Gabriel Igbeka serving as Acting CEO. Each of these entities is governed by independent boards, the composition of which was not only strategic but in line with acceptable practices.

At an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the then members of NSE in March 2020, a resolution was passed pertaining to the appointment of the inaugural board of NGX Group, post demutualisation.

The process relating to the selection of council (board) members was duly followed and the identified candidates were taken through a rigorous due diligence exercise before passing through the internal governance process, being submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval and thereafter, presented to previous members at the 2020 EGM.

The members agreed to the importance of maintaining continuity and preserving The Exchange’s collective knowledge and learned experience (institutional memory) as well as retaining stakeholder confidence and maintaining market stability.

It was, therefore, agreed that the composition of the Boards would comprise individuals selected from the erstwhile National Council and external candidates. This understanding was contained in the Scheme of Arrangement dated 20 January 2020 between the NSE and the dealing and ordinary members of the NSE in respect of the demutualisation of the exchange (the Scheme).

The scheme was approved at the Court Ordered meeting held on 3 March 2020. The approved Scheme of Arrangement was sanctioned by the court on May 14, 2020, and filed at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on June 1, 2020, and it became effective on the date it was filed at the CAC.

NGX Group’s board currently has 11 members and out of the 11 directors, five have direct or indirect shareholdings in the company providing strong representation for the company’s shareholders.

In addition, going above the statutorily required minimum that a public company shall have at least three independent directors (S.275 (1) CAMA 2020), NGX Group went with four independent directors.

Transition agreements expected to last for 18 months were also agreed and it was recognized that subsequent composition of the Board following this transition period will evolve in line with existing rules and regulations, market standards, competitive realities and succession planning policies.

The composition of the inaugural board – comprising some members of the erstwhile council and new members – was approved at the EGM, on the condition that their appointment would become effective post demutualisation.

The market continues to repose confidence in NGX Group evidenced by the statement from the Chairman, Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria, representing the largest shareholder group in the company, Mr Onyewenchukwu Ezeagu, who stated prior to the recent 60th AGM, “As major shareholders, we were involved in all the processes of demutualisation.

“We are comfortable with the agenda of the meeting as we have been part of the whole process. The proposed resolutions had been made public in the course of the demutualisation. The meeting will bring about a renewed relationship between the NGX Group and its stakeholders.”

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Economy

Buhari Orders Kyari to Incorporate NNPC, Ararume to Chair Board

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NNPC profit 44 years

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, a statement from the presidency on Sunday confirm.

The Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, was asked to see to the success of this directive, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed in the statement issued today.

The President’s spokesman said this order was given by Mr Buhari in his capacity as the Minister of Petroleum Resources “in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.”

The NNPC chief was, therefore, given the mandate to “take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.”

A few weeks ago, the President signed the PIA, giving room for the state-owned oil agency to become a commercial organisation under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.

Before now, the NNPC was operating as a government agency and was solely responsible for the importation of petrol into the country.

But as a part of efforts to make the oil industry more attractive to investors, the government made the sector more transparent by signing the PIA into law.

In the statement issued today, Mr Adesina said President Buhari, by the power also vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, has approved the appointment of the board and management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.

It was disclosed that Mr Ifeanyi Ararume was selected as the chairman of the board, while Mr Kyari and Umar Ajiya are to serve as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively.

“Other board members are Dr Tajudeen Umar (North East), Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North Central), Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North West), Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South South), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West),” the statement said.

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Economy

Interswitch Recruits More Quickteller Paypoint Agents

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Quickteller Paypoint agents

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

More Quickteller Paypoint agents have been recruited in a recent market activation drive targeted at cities across Nigeria to grow the nation’s economy and deepen financial inclusion.

The new agents will be gainfully engaged and empowered to generate income, provide financial services and grow to empower others subsequently.

This is under the Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services (IFIS) and the agent will offer the company’s services in Agege, Alimosho, Ikorodu and Ajah, with some areas in Abuja expected to be reached next week.

They will be expected to easily carry out regular financial transactions such as bill payment, funds transfer, cash deposits, cash withdrawals, account opening, insurance and airtime recharge etc.

“Quickteller Paypoint is designed to empower Nigerians by creating income-generating opportunities for unemployed Nigerians and increase streams of income for employed Nigerians thereby facilitating business in both the rural and urban parts of Nigeria,” the Group Head, Growth Marketing, Merchant and Ecosystem at Interswitch, Mr Olawale Akanbi, stated.

“This activation by Quickteller Paypoint is looking to onboard new agents on the Quickteller Paypoint platform.

“By so doing, we are not only empowering Nigerians to earn income, but we are also providing them a platform with which they are able to provide meaningful services to their communities and eventually grow to employ and empower others,” he added.

The recruited agents and other potential agents are onboarded by registering on the Quickteller Paypoint platform. Required documentations include; passport photograph, recent utility bill (electricity, waste or water bill) that shows the location, a valid ID card (National ID, Voter’s card, driver’s license or international passport) and business registration documents (if the business name is CAC registered).

After registration, the agent is required to fund his/her wallet with at least N1000, this qualifies him/her for a free android POS and starter kit. The starter kit contains free visibility banner, power bank and daily journal to document transactions.

In addition, Quickteller agents enjoy competitive commissions and stimulating incentives such as travel opportunities, trainings, business support etc. helping them grow and scale their businesses faster.

Quickteller Paypoint platform is a service of Interswitch Group enabled to support the financial inclusion agenda of the federal government. Currently, Quickteller Paypoint has over 35,000 agents spread across the country.

Quickteller Paypoint is the trade name for Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services (IFIS) Agent locations. It is a one-stop-shop robust consumer service platform for convenient airtime recharge, funds transfer and bill payment.

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