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For three years, U.S. President Donald Trump touted a stunning run-up in the stock market as evidence of his success in the White House. In the space of three weeks of coronavirus crisis, most of those gains have evaporated.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads fear of a recession, the stock market’s rise under the Republican president, a major part of his case for reelection in November, is now less than half of the gain of his predecessor and rival Barack Obama at the same point in his presidency.

At its peak on Feb. 19, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 58% from when Trump unexpectedly beat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in November 2016. As of Thursday, Trump’s stock market was up just 17%. The S&P 500 gained 41% in same number of days after Obama was elected president in 2008.

Measuring from Trump’s inauguration on Jan 20, 2017, the S&P 500 is now up less than 10%, compared to a gain of 70% under Obama during the same span of his first term.

Trump, who has repeatedly boasted on Twitter and to reporters of the stock market’s performance in recent years, on Thursday played down the carnage wracking Wall Street.

Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest man with a net worth of $106.7 billion, has stepped down from his executive role at Microsoft after 45 years of building firm.

According to Gates, he will now focus on philanthropy, global health, development, education and tackling climate change.

Gates, 65 who co-founded Microsoft Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, who died in 2018, has now grown the company over the last 30 years to one of the world’s richest companies.

Gates also announced he had left the board of Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Bill Gates was CEO of Microsoft until 2000 when Steve Ballmer took over the role and has held a not too active role since 2008.

“I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change,” Gates said on LinkedIn on Friday.

“The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step.”

Announcing the move, Mr. Gates said the company would “always be an important part of my life’s work” and he would continue to be engaged with its leadership.

“With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company,” Gates said. “Microsoft will always be an important part of my life’s work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company’s ambitious goals. I feel more optimistic than ever about the progress the company is making and how it can continue to benefit the world.”

Apple will shut all of its retail stores outside of China for two weeks to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief executive Tim Cook announced the move in a letter posted to the company’s website, writing that Apple learned lessons from the closures of its stores in “greater China” during the worst of the outbreak there.

“One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimise risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” he wrote.

The measure affects the hundreds of Apple stores across the globe and is set to last until March 27.

This week the iPhone maker reopened all 42 of its locations in China after they began to be shuttered in early February as the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketed there.

China has since seen steep declines in the number of new infections, leading the World Health Organisation to say on Friday that the epicentre of the pandemic had shifted to Europe.

Cook said all affected hourly employees would continue to be paid as if the stores were open and that all sites are undergoing a deep cleaning.

According to him, Apple has donated 15 million dollars to the global response to the pandemic.

The U.S. tech giant, which makes many of its products in China, warned last month it no longer expected to meet its previous quarterly earnings guidance as a result of the virus.

It cited worldwide iPhone supply problems due to factory closures and falling demand in China.

A total of 18 new roads in Ewet Housing Estate Extension constructed by the Akwa Ibom State Government are to be commissioned in May, 2020.
 
The State Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyangeyen,  dropped the hint while on inspection of ongoing road projects, today.
 
The Commissioner who expressed satisfaction on behalf of the State Government for the quality of work done by the company handling the roads, Bulletin Construction Nigeria Limited, said the first batch of 14 roads covers a distance of 5kms, while the other 4 covers1.8 kms.
 
In his words, "I am very impressed by what I have seen here. Out of the first 14 roads, 12 are ready, the 13th one is being asphalted, and drainage for the remaining 5 have been complete, leaving about two weeks for delivery. So roads have opened up the area and by May, 18 new and roads will be commissioned here. I can see new buildings springing  up indicating increase in activities in the area. All credit goes to His Excellency, Gov. Udom Emmanuel, for his sustained interest and funding of these projects to this level. Now His Excellency has created another new part of the Ewet Housing Estate.
 
In separate chats with our reporters on ground, excited residents of the area expressed gratitude to the State Government for bringing a new lease of life for them. They said the roads have further confirmed the Governor's concerns and determination to make everyone feel the impact of good governance.
 
In addition, work on a massive underground drainage system along the Edet Akpan Avenue, otherwise popularly  called, Four Lane, is also expected to be completed in a matter of weeks. 
 
According to the Works' boss, " This is to permanently solve the occasional flood issues around some sections of the main Ewet Housing Estate. This will ensure that whether during rain or sun, runoff water does not obstruct traffic or pose any serious problem to residents". 
 
The Commissioner said the old drainage system for the Edet Akpan Avanue must have collapsed as a result of increase in the volume of water from Ewet Housing and surrounding the areas. 
 
Commissioner Inyangeyen assured that with the new and expanded underground drainage built with the current situation in mind, flooding around this area will be given permanent solution".
Thai media reported on Thursday that thousands of monkeys from three separate tribes commenced on an all-out war in the middle of a Thai city.

Footage of the monkey hordes running around and fighting each other in Lopburi city centre was widely shared on social media and published by Thai media.

The battle was between monkeys from different parts of the province.

One tribe claims the territory of a historic temple, another tribe inhabits a nearby shrine, and another typically roams around a food market down the street.

The report said the monkey fights broke out due to extremely hot weather conditions, which surpassed 40 degrees Celsius.

It added that a lack of food for the apes also aided the fight because of the lack of tourists over the past year and the country’s ongoing drought conditions.

Lopburi province, around 140 km north of Bangkok, is home to thousands of monkeys that typically roam around the city and have become the province’s main tourist attraction.

The Thairath report cited Lopburi local Beaw Aum-in, a 65-year old motorcycle taxi driver who has been hanging out with the monkeys for all his life, as saying that it was the first time he had ever seen such a large fight between them.

Thairath also reported that monkeys from Lopburi have been known to hitch on trains to pick fights with monkeys in Nakhon Sawan province, a further 140 km north of Lopburi.

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has reportedly suffered a huge loss of N240 billion in five hours due to coronavirus on Wednesday March 11, 2020.

The ‘Dangote Group’ suffered huge losses just after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus a pandemic (spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time) which orignated from Wuhan, China.

According to the Nation, Dangote Cement Plc which is Nigeria’s most capitalised quoted company and accounts for more than 20 per cent of the total market capitalization, led the decline with the maximum daily allowable drop of 10 percent or N17, which is equivalent to net depreciation of N289.68 billion.

Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) Plc and NASCON Allied Industries Plc lost N1.8 billion and N3.05 billion. Dangote Cement’s share price dropped by N17 from N170 to close at N153. NASCON Allied Industries declined by N1.15 to close at N3.05 while DSR lost 15 kobo to close at N9.75 per share.

The nation’s spending on importation of petrol plummeted to N1.713 trillion in 2019, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday have shown.

The 2019 figure signals a 42% fall when set beside the figure posted in 2018, which stood at N2.95 trillion.

Similarly, Nigeria’s petrol import spending in 2019 constituted 10.75 per cent of the total amount of goods imported into the country last year.

However, it was lower than what was recorded in 2018 when petrol made up 22.4 per cent of Nigeria’s total imports, standing at N13.16 trillion.

The negative growth partially resulted from the decline in the average price of Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s Bonny Light is benchmarked, in 2019.

Brent Crude averaged $64 per barrel last year relative to the $71 it sold for in 2018.

The N1.713 trillion expended on importing petrol translated to 66.9 per cent of the total N2.56 trillion spent on fuel and lubricants.

According to the NBS report, Nigeria’s imports in 2019 totalled N16.96 trillion, 28.8 per cent more than the N13.17 trillion recorded in 2018.

Europe emerged Nigeria’s principal trading partner in 2019, accounting for N7.62 trillion. Asia came next with N5.42 trillion while Africa came third with N3.92 trillion.

Oceania was responsible for N183 billion.

In 2019, India came top as Nigeria’s highest trading partner with N2.96 trillion; ECOWAS sub-region was second with N2.24 trillion; Spain came third with N1.9 trillion while the US came fourth with N1.01 trillion.

“On an annual basis, the value of total trade in 2019 was recorded at N36.152 trillion, representing a 14.05 per cent increase over 2018. However, this was lower than 36.86 per cent increase recorded in 2018 over 2017.

“The level of imports stood at N16.959 trillion while exports were valued at N19.192 trillion, resulting in a trade balance of N2.232 trillion. Imports rose by 28.8 per cent in 2019 over 2018, exports rose by only 3.6 per cent, while the trade balance was 58.4 per cent less than in 2018,” the report says.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Nigeria’s total trade value was N10.12 trillion, a 10.15 per cent growth over the figure posted in the third quarter and 25.9 per cent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

Panic selling on a large scale not only caused the market capitalisation of the Nigerian equity market to go slimmer today, setting in motion a total loss of N1.081 trillion in two days in what will prove the biggest consecutive loss on the Exchange so far this year.

The market has been at the mercy of the free fall in the global oil prices since the week began particularly the new price war between Saudi and Russia in the aftermath of the refusal of the latter to agree to an oil output cut.

Similarly, there is no getting away from the myriad sweeping effects of Covid-19 on several stock markets across the globe from Dow Jones to Nikkei 225 and the implacable epidemic is having its moment too on the Nigerian bourse.

The market posted a negative breadth as 20 losers emerged against 18 gainers. The All Share Index (ASI) tumbled by 3.35% to end the day at 23,572.75. Market capitalisation cratered to N12.284 trillion at the end of today’s trade. Year to date, the index is down by 12.18%.

TOP 5 GAINERS

Unilever topped the gainers’ chart today, appreciating by 11.65% to close at N9.91. UBA added up 9.73% to end today’s trade at N6.2. Vitafoam went up by 9.34% to N4.45. UACN leapt to N7.5, notching up 4.17% in the process. FCMB completed the top 5, climbing up by 9.93% to N1.66.

TOP 5 LOSERS

Food manufacturing giant, Nesle led losers at Wednesday’s trade, declining by 10% to close at N915.3. Dangote Cement shed 10% to end today’s trade at N153. Conoil fell to N14.6, losing 9.88%. Nascon slumped to N10.55, recording 9.83% depreciation. Zenith closed at N12.05, going down by 7.66%.

TOP 5 TRADES

1.391 billion shares estimated at N17.648 billion were traded today in 7,150 deals.

Zenith led trade with 412.407 million units of its stocks worth N5.056 billion traded in 2,141 deals. 385.181 million units of GTB shares priced at N7.243 billion exchanged hands in 488 transactions. FBN Holdings had 303.032 million shares valued at N1.341 billion traded in 483 deals. UBA traded 59.979 million shares estimated at N370.175 million in 345 transactions. Wapic traded 30.688 million shares valued at N10.115 million in 30 deals.

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