By Investors Hub
The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday, with stocks likely to rebound following the modest pullback seen over the two previous sessions.
A report from the Labor Department showing bigger than expected decreases in U.S. import and export prices may add to recent optimism that tame inflation will lead the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in the near future.
After helping to lead the markets lower in the previous sessions, energy stocks may rebound along with the price of crude oil.
Crude for July delivery is jumping by more than $2 a barrel amid reports of a possible terrorist attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the Iranian coastline.
Stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday before ending the session modestly lower. The major averages added to the slim losses posted on Tuesday, although selling pressure remained subdued.
After snapping a six-day winning streak on Tuesday, the Dow edged down 43.68 points or 0.2 percent to 26,004.83. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 29.85 points or 0.4 percent to 7,792.72 and the S&P 500 dipped 5.88 points or 0.2 percent to 2,879.84.
The modest weakness on Wall Street came as traders weighed lingering trade concerns against optimism about an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.
The U.S.-China trade conflict largely took a back seat to President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexico but has moved back into the spotlight ahead of the G20 summit later this month.
In remarks to reporters on Tuesday, Trump suggested he has “no interest” in negotiating unless China agrees to come back to the table to discuss previous terms of a deal he has claimed was nearly complete.
Trump said he expects to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit and has warned that he will impose new tariffs on Chinese goods if his counterpart does not attend.
Partly offsetting the negative sentiment about trade, another report showing tame inflation has further fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in the near future.
The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in May after rising by 0.3 percent in April. The uptick in prices matched economist estimates.
Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices also edged up by 0.1 percent for the fourth consecutive month. Economists had expected core prices to rise by 0.2 percent.
The report also showed a slowdown in the annual rate of consumer price growth, with the headline index up by 1.8 percent year-over-year in May compared to the 2.0 percent increase in April.
The annual rate of core consumer price growth also slowed to 2.0 percent in May from 2.1 percent in the previous month.
“Tariff changes may eventually push up some goods prices, while apparel prices should soon rebound,” said ING Chief International Economist James Knightley. “But for now, inflation pressures in aggregate remain benign.”
He added, “As such, financial markets will see little reason for the Federal Reserve to hold back from rate cuts in coming months to combat the perceived threat of a slowdown caused by intensifying trade tensions.”
Energy stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragged down by a steep drop by the price of crude oil.
Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index plummeted by 5.1 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index tumbled by 3 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index slumped by 1.4 percent.
Considerable weakness also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent nosedive by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
Financial, tobacco, and computer hardware stocks also saw notable weakness on the day, while significant strength was visible among gold, utilities and pharmaceutical stocks.
Investors Gain N1.09bn as NASD Share Price Rises 9.1%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The unlisted securities market closed the last trading session of the week on a positive note after it appreciated by 0.18 per cent on the back of growth in the share price of NASD Plc.
Business Post reports that the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the bulls’ territory on Friday after it closed flat on Thursday.
NASD Plc was the major driver of the return of the bourse to the green region as its value went up during the session by N2.45 or 9.1 per cent to close at N26.99 per unit in contrast to N24.54 per unit it closed at the previous session.
As a result of this, the NASD unlisted security index (NSI) moved up by 1.32 points to 745.44 points from 744.12 points, while the market capitalisation gained N1.09 billion to wrap the day at N615.86 billion in contrast to the previous day’s N614.77 billion.
On the activity chart, there was an improvement as the trading volume surged by 34,985.6 per cent because of the 2.3 million units of shares exchanged by market participants compared with the 6,688 units transacted at the previous session.
In the same vein, the trading value rose by 17,680.6 per cent to N63.4 million from the previous day’s N356,563.60, while the number of deals witnessed a 100 per cent rise as investors carried out 12 deals compared to the six deals executed at the previous session.
At the close of trades, Food Concepts Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 11.4 billion units of its shares worth N14.4 billion, Lighthouse Financial Service Plc followed with 1.1 billion units valued at N546.2 million, while Geo Fluids Plc was in third place with 1.0 billion units worth N700.1 million.
Food Concepts Plc was also the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 11.4 billion units worth N14.4 billion, trailed by Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc with 456.4 million units valued at N9.2 billion, VFD Group Plc with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.
Naira Trades N414.73/$1 as Cryptos Bleed Heavily
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (forex) market by 0.02 per cent or 7 kobo on Friday, December 4.
Data showed that the local currency was sold for N414.73/$1 at the investors’ window yesterday compared with the N414.80/$1 it traded on Thursday.
At the final trading session of the week, the turnover was $103.01 million as against $139.67 million achieved at the preceding session, indicating a $36.66 million or 26.62 per cent decline.
Also, the exchange rate of the Naira to the United States currency recorded a movement on Friday, though downward as the Nigerian currency depreciated by 4 kobo as it closed at N411.74/$1 versus the preceding day’s N411.70/$1.
The local currency, however, appreciated by N2.17 against the British Pound Sterling to settle at N546.26/£1 compared to N548.43/£1 it traded at the previous trading session and 57 kobo against the Euro to trade at N465.68/€1 compared to the preceding day’s N466.25/€1.
At the cryptocurrency market, investors counted a heavy loss as the new variant of the coronavirus called Omicron and hawkish comments by the US Federal Reserve that it could raise interest rates have raised serious concerns, causing cryptos to bleed heavily.
The heaviest loss was suffered by Dash (DASH), which plunged by 35.3 per cent to sell for N66,595.85. Ripple (XRP) depreciated 30.6 per cent to trade at N381.85, while Litecoin (LTC) sold for N66,595.85 after declining by 24.1 per cent.
Dogecoin (DOGE) went down by 22.7 per cent to sell at N90.29, Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 20.8 per cent to N652.82, Bitcoin (BTC) depleted by 16.9 per cent to quote at N26,800,504.20, Ethereum (ETH) equally saw a 16.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N2,100,100.39, Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 12.9 per cent depreciation to trade at N218,577.24, Tron (TRX) went down by 12.7 per cent to trade at N48.00, while the US Dollar Tether (USDT) recorded a 0.1 per cent marginal loss to sell for N554.76.
Crude Mixed as Market Remains Unsettled by Omicron Jitters
By Adedapo Adesanya
Crude prices closed mixed on Friday, December 3 after erasing earlier big gains on growing worries that rising coronavirus cases and a new variant could reduce global oil demand.
Brent crude gained 21 cents or 0.3 per cent to trade at $69.88 per barrel while on the other hand, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost 24 cents or 0.36 per cent to sell at $66.26 per barrel.
Both benchmarks declined for a sixth week in a row for the first time since November 2018.
Oil prices had witnessed one of the most troubled weeks as the market reeled from the fear brought about by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus with speculations that it could spark new lockdowns and dent fuel demand.
The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to vaccinate their people to fight the virus, saying travel curbs were not the answer.
Even with this, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) surprised the market on Thursday when it stuck to its plans to add 400,000 barrels per day supply in January.
However, it said it will continue to monitor the market and this could make it change course if demand suffered from measures to contain the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The alliance said they could meet again before their next scheduled meeting on January 4.
Analysts noted that with the coronavirus cases rising, the US jobs report for November also didn’t help demand outlook even as the unemployment rate plunged to a 21-month low of 4.2 per cent, suggesting the country’s labour market was rapidly tightening.
US employment growth slowed considerably in November amid job losses at retailers and in local government education.
Meanwhile, in Vienna, diplomats attempting to restore the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers face substantial challenges that need urgent solutions, the top European envoy said Friday. Talks are set to resume next week.
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