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Wall Street Opens Flat on Looming Jobs Data

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Wall Street Opens Flat on Looming Jobs Data

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a roughly flat opening on Thursday, with stocks likely to show a lack of direction after moving sharply higher over the two previous sessions.

The markets could continue to benefit from continued optimism about a potential interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, although lingering trade concerns are likely to keep any buying interest somewhat subdued.

Overall trading activity may also remain light as some traders may stay on the sidelines ahead of the release of the Labor Department?s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Employment is expected to climb by 185,000 jobs in May after surging up by 263,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.6 percent.

The strength of the jobs data could have a notable impact on the perceived prospects for a near-term interest rate cut by the Fed.

After fluctuating early in the session, stocks moved notably higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. With the upward move on the day, the major averages extended the substantial rally seen in the previous session.

The major averages reached new highs for the session going into the close of trading. The Dow jumped 207.39 points or 0.8 percent to 25,539.57, the Nasdaq climbed 48.36 points or 0.6 percent to 7,575.48 and the S&P 500 advanced 22.88 points or 0.8 percent to 2,826.15.

Stocks continued to benefit from optimism about a potential interest rate cut after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s pledged to sustain the U.S. economic expansion.

Citing uncertainty surrounding trade negotiations and other matters, Powell said in a speech on Tuesday that the central bank will act “as appropriate” to support the economy.

Powell’s comments were widely seen as an indication the Fed is prepared to discuss lowering interest rates if escalating global trade disputes weigh down economic growth.

A report from payroll processor ADP showing much weaker than expected private sector job growth in May initially generated some negative sentiment but was subsequently seen as adding to the case for a rate cut.

ADP said private sector employment edged up by 27,000 jobs in May after spiking by a downwardly revised 271,000 jobs in April.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 180,000 jobs compared to the jump of 275,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

“Job growth is moderating,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Labor shortages are impeding job growth, particularly at small companies, and layoffs at brick-and-mortar retailers are hurting.”

Later in the day, traders largely shrugged off the Fed’s Beige Book, which said economic activity in the U.S. expanded at a modest pace overall from April through mid-May.

The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, noted the assessment of the overall economy reflected a slight improvement over the slight-to-moderate growth indicated in the previous report.

Interest rate-sensitive utilities and commercial real estate stocks turned in some of the market’s best performances amid optimism about a future rate cut.

Reflecting the strength in the sectors, the Dow Jones Utility Average and the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index both surged up by 2.1 percent.

Software and networking stocks also extended the rebound seen in the previous session, driving the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index and the NYSE Arca Networking Index up by 1.9 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, energy stocks saw significant weakness on the day, with a steep drop by the price of crude oil weighing on the sector.

Crude for July delivery tumbled following the release of a report showing a weekly jump in U.S. crude oil inventories.

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

Unlisted Stocks Languish in Red Zone after 0.25% Fall Wednesday

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unlisted stocks

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange extended its stay in the bearish zone on Wednesday, December 8 as the trio of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, NASD Plc, and Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc compounded its woes by 0.25 per cent.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc depreciated by N1 or 0.9 per cent at the midweek session to settle at N110.80 per share in contrast to the preceding day’s value of N111.80 per share.

It was followed by NASD Plc, which closed at N27.00 per unit compared with the previous day’s N27.15 per unit, indicating a decline of 15 kobo or 0.6 per cent.

On its part, CSCS Plc declined yesterday by 9 kobo or 0.5 per cent to close the session at N16.91 per share in contrast to N17 per share of the previous session.

The losses posted by these unlisted stocks chopped off N1.49 billion from the market capitalisation of the bourse during the session to close the day at N602.96 billion versus N604.45 billion it ended on Tuesday.

In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Security Index (NSI) closed lower by 1.8 points to wrap the session at 729.82 points compared with 731.62 points of the previous session.

At the market on Wednesday, there was an increase in the volume of securities traded by investors and this was by 168.9 per cent as 1.9 million units of stocks exchanged hands compared with the earlier day’s 694,849 units of securities.

In the same vein, the value of shares traded at the midweek amounted to N37.9 million, which by evaluation is 72.5 per cent higher than the N22.0 million posted on Tuesday.

All these transactions were executed in 14 deals, according to data from the exchange, 12.5 per cent lower than the 16 deals carried out at the preceding day.

Food Concepts Plc closed the day as the most active stock by volume (year-to-date) for selling 11.4 billion units for N14.4 billion, Lighthouse Financial Services Plc has traded 1.1 billion for N546.2 million, while Geo Fluids Plc has sold 1.0 billion units for N700.1 million.

Also, Food Concepts Plc finished the day as the most active stock by value (year-to-date) with a turnover of 11.4 billion units worth N14.4 billion, Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc, which is no longer on the platform maintained its second spot with 456.5 million units worth N9.2 billion, while the third spot was taken by VFD Group Plc with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.

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Economy

Naira Trades Flat at I&E as Bitcoin, Ethereum Fall at Crypto Market

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Ethereum

By Adedapo Adesanya

It was a stalemate between the Naira and the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Wednesday, December 8.

This was because, at the specialised window where investors source FX for approved needs, the local currency closed against the greenback at N415.07/$1, the same value it was sold at the previous session.

This happened despite a 51.7 per cent or $76.98 million rise in the demand for forex at the market window, as data obtained by Business Post from FMDQ Securities Exchange showed that yesterday, the turnover rose to $225.99 million from the previous day’s turnover of $149.01 million.

Also, the Naira recorded the same outcome at the interbank window of the forex market as the exchange rate of the domestic currency compared with its American counterpart remained unchanged at N411.74/$1 at the close of transactions at the midweek session.

However, the Nigerian Naira appreciated against the British Pound Sterling during the session by N2.68 to settle at N543.04/£1 versus Tuesday’s closing rate of N545.72/£1 and against the Euro, the local currency performed badly as it lost 53 kobo to trade at N474.07/€1 compared with N463.54/€1 it closed a day earlier.

Meanwhile, the scales tilted to the bullish side on aggregate at the crypto market yesterday as six of the 10 cryptocurrencies tracked by this newspaper closed on the green side.

The highest gainer was Tron (TRX) as it appreciated by 9.1 per cent to sell for N52.50, just as Dash (DASH) rose by 6.6 per cent to sell at N85,000.00, with Ripple (XRP) appreciating by 5.9 per cent to N487.19.

In addition, Binance Coin (BNB) gained 5.3 per cent to trade at N249,686.22, Litecoin (LTC) rose by 1.5 per cent to sell at N96,110.37, while Cardano (ADA) pointed north by making a 0.9 per cent gain to quote at N815.96.

On the losers’ side, Ethereum (ETH) made a 3.4 per cent slump to trade at N2,300,500.02, Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 0.9 per cent to trade at N28,330,347.37, Dogecoin (DOGE) retreated by 0.6 per cent to sell at N103.74, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) depreciated by 0.5 per cent to sell for N571.85.

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Economy

Crude Oil Prices Rise on Small US Inventory Draw

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crude oil prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crude oil prices continued to rise on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an inventory draw of 0.2 million barrels for the week to December 3.

This came a day after the American Petroleum Institute surprised markets with an estimated crude oil inventory draw of over 3 million barrels that helped push prices higher.

In EIA estimates, last week’s draw was in comparison with a modest decline of 900,000 barrels for the first week of December and at 432.9 million barrels, US crude oil inventories remain below the five-year seasonal average.

Consequently, the price of the Brent crude appreciated yesterday by 1.02 per cent or 77 cents to settle at $76.59 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 1.17 per cent or 85 cents to sell for $73.26 per barrel.

Prices have been on the rise since the start of the week as the initial fear that the new Omicron variant could prompt new lockdowns began to subside amid reports of mild symptoms that don’t require hospitalization.

According to reports, early studies suggest two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot may protect only partially against Omicron, but a third dose may improve that protection.

Market analysts also warned that some of the Omicron oil demand-related concerns might have been too pessimistic, and following some positive news related to the variant being released in recent days, oil prices recovered.

However, prices are still far below their October highs but have rebounded from below the $70 mark that they fell towards the end of November.

The outlook remains uncertain as researchers caution it is early days for Omicron and more data will become available as time passes.

Meanwhile, the market expects that supply will exceed demand by early 2022, due to rising US production and ongoing supply additions from the Middle East.

Also posing a bullish outlook was members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raising oil prices for Asian and US buyers, and Iraq’s oil minister noted that would oil reach $75 a barrel.

On the geopolitical front, tensions between Western powers and Russia over Ukraine also remained high after American President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the West would impose strong economic and other measures on Russia if it invades Ukraine.

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