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MARKETS

Investors are dumping Google, Amazon and Facebook for Caterpillar, Airline Stocks

Stock traders momentarily increased their selling pressures on technology shares that have rallied through COVID-19 and rotated into cyclical stocks.

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Major investors reduced their holding on stocks popularly referred to stay-at-home stocks amid falling COVID-19 caseloads globally.

The stay-at-home stocks which include Facebook, Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft, and Netflix fell in a trend seen for most of the week. Amazon.com, the world’s most valuable online retail company also dropped in value, as investors sold these growth stocks that have done incredibly well since last March.

The global number of new COVID-19 cases has plunged by 16%  over the past week, the World Health Organization recently revealed.

Stock traders momentarily increased their selling pressures on technology shares that have rallied through COVID-19 and rotated into cyclical stocks set to benefit from record demand once the COVID-19 pandemic is curbed to the barest minimum.

  • Industrials led rising sectors in the S&P 500 at the most recent trading session spurred by a 9.9% surge in Deere & Co and Caterpillar 5.0% surge to an all-time peak of $211.40 a share. Financials, materials, and energy, along with industrials, rose more than 1%.
  • The S&P 1500 airlines index jumped 3.5%, with post-pandemic travel in focus.
  • When the world’s largest economy is roaring, usually industrial-based stocks like Caterpillar Deere & Co. do well, but when America’s economy weakens investors get less attracted to them.

Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to our source spoke on macros investors are keying into amid rising inflation.

“US stocks struggled and rebounded into the close, but the reflation rotation has given way to the heated debates around US rates for most of the day.

“Stocks are at the brink of moving from the sweet zone into the danger zone as the US Fed rate hikes start nudging towards 2022 and the taper tantrum drum keeps beating in the distance.

“With large-scale stimulus amid recovery from the Covid-19 shock, investor attention has focused on potential impacts from rising rates and inflation.

Bottom line: Stock traders are reducing their positions in these growth stocks, on COVID-19 caseloads receding, as global investors are fully aware the best offense is a good defense by taking your foot off the gas pedal at these tech stocks as the most straightforward function of damage control.

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COMMODITIES

Gold posts worst monthly decline since 2016, as U.S dollar keeps rising

The precious metal posted its worst monthly decline since 2016 as gold prices broke below the $1,750 support.

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Gold has of late been under immense pressure, as the Dollar Index surged to a one-week high of 90.8. The safe-haven currency is an outright alternative to gold and typically pressures gold when it gains.

The precious metal posted its worst monthly decline since 2016 as gold prices broke below the $1,750 support at the last trading session of the week, following most commodities and global stocks lower for a second straight day as global investors readjusted their portfolios.

With Friday being the last trading session for the month of February, it wrapped up the month with a 6.6% decline, its worst since a 7.2% decline in November 2016.

Gold for April delivery lost about 2.6% to settle at $1,728.80 per ounce. It earlier plunged to $1,715.05, its lowest point since a June 8 bottom of $1,700.10.

For the week, the precious metal contract lost about 2.7% in value, following through with the previous week’s drop of 2.5%.

Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, in a note to our source, spoke on other prevailing macros weighing heavily on gold prices

“The rise in real yields has seen gold under pressure with everyone selling. Although positioning is cleaner, the overall market is still long, and ETF selling negatively affects the market on actual position clean out rather than just speculative sell-off. Which is more worryingly an early sign of a capitulation.”

Bottom Line

Gold traders are not keen on going bullish, at least for the near term, on the bias that rising U.S Treasury yields see investors showing less interest in the yellow metal.

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CURRENCIES

Exchange rate stabilises at N410/$1 as oil price rallies above $65 per barrel

The exchange rate between the Naira and the US Dollar closed at N410/$1 at the Investors and Exporters window on Monday as oil prices hit $65.24 per barrel

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Monday 22nd February 2021: The exchange rate between the Naira and the US Dollar closed at N410/$1 at the Investors and Exporters window, where forex is traded officially.

Naira remained stable on the NAFEX window to stand at N470 to a dollar on Monday, which is the same rate it closed on the previous trading day.

Also, Naira depreciated on the parallel market to close at N480/$1 on Monday, 22nd February 2021. This represents a N2 drop when compared to N478/$1 recorded on Friday, 19th February 2021.

Brent Crude oil price hit a record high as it closed at $65.24 per barrel as Goldman Sach’s projection indicates bullish trades in Q2 2020.

Trading at the official NAFEX window

The exchange rate between the Naira and Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window maintained the same rate as recorded on Friday last week to close at N410/$1 on Monday, 22nd February 2021.

  • The opening indicative rate closed at N408.04 to a dollar on Monday. This represents a 43 kobo drop when compared to N407.61 to a dollar that was recorded the previous trading day on Friday, February 19, 2021.
  • An exchange rate of N412 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N410/$1. It also sold for as low as N389.75/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window declined by 20.8% on Monday, February 22, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Themoneymetrics from FMDQ, forex turnover decreased from $66.41 million recorded on Friday, February 19, 2021, to $52.58 million on Monday, February 22, 2021.

Cryptocurrency Watch

  • The largest cryptocurrency in the world, Bitcoin dipped by 4.76% on Monday to stand $54,753.48 as of 11:10pm.
  • This came after the world’s richest man, Elon Musk disclosed that the price of bitcoin and Ethereum seems to be high.
  • Meanwhile, three days ago, the world’s most demanded crypto-asset breached the $1 trillion market capitalisation to become the sixth most-valuable asset worldwide.
  • It is worth noting that, following the directive of the CBN prohibiting regulated financial institutions from dealing with Cryptos, Nigerians have moved towards peer-to-peer transactions trading directly without a third party.
  • According to a recent study seen by Themoneymetrics , the use of Bitcoin for peer-to-peer lending in Nigeria surged by 16% since the CBN directive took effect about 18 days ago

Crude oil prices top $64 per barrel

Crude oil prices picked up again on Monday as Brent Crude gained an additional $2.33 to close at $65.24 per barrel.

  • The increase represents a 3.7% increase when compared to $62.91 per barrel recorded on the previous trading day.
  • The price increase came shortly after Goldman Sach forecasted that oil prices would climb around $70 per barrel in the second quarter of the year.
  • It could also be attributed to the realization that U.S oil production and refineries will take a bit of time to resume their normal level of output after the Texas Freeze knocked out oil refineries.
  • The oil market rallied despite the news that Saudi Arabia and Russia might be on the verge of a disagreement again over output agreement, which the group will deliberate on in March.
  • Meanwhile, Brent closed at $65.24 (+3.7%), WTI closed at $61.49 (+3.8%), Bonny Light at $62.09 (-1.16%), and Natural Gas closed at $2.946 (-0.24%).

Declining external reserve despite bullish oil prices

Nigeria’s external reserve dipped further on Thursday, 18th February 2021, to stand at $35.47 billion.

  • This represents a decline of 0.15% compared to $35.53 billion recorded as of Wednesday, 17th February 2021.
  • Despite rallying oil prices, Nigeria’s external reserve has recorded a steady decline since the 25th of January 2021, losing a sum of $958.1 million in less than a month.
  • It is worth noting that despite the significant increase recorded earlier in January, the current reserve positive is only $99.9 million more than $35.37 billion recorded as of 31st December 2020.
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COMMODITIES

Gold maintains shine after advancing for two days

The bullion asset regained its lustre after a 2.2% drop recorded in the past week,

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Gold stayed on course at the second trading session of the week after advancing for two days, as metal traders awaited testimony from U.S Fed Chief, Jerome Powell.

At the time of drafting this report, the bullion asset traded at $1,807.24 an ounce after rising 1.9% over two days.

The U.S Fed Chief’s semi-annual report at the U.S congress today and the next day will be monitored by metal traders for further policy guidance, and his assessment of the economic recovery at the world’s largest economy.

The bullion asset regained its lustre after a 2.2% drop recorded in the past week, as traders refocus on rising inflation expectations.

In an explanatory note to Our source, Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, gave valuable insights on how the precious metal managed to stay above the $ 1,800-ounce price level.

“It was a strange world seeing the commodity locomotive racing at full steam, but gold left-back at the station. But correlations are looking more normal today after yesterday morning signal gold was trading slightly higher in delayed response to USD weakness. A weaker US dollar remains one of the primary lift-off balloons.

Gold built on Friday’s modest rally, clearing and holding above the USD1,800/oz level. USD weakness was likely the key factor behind gold’s recovery.”

What to expect: The U.S congress may vote on the US$1.9 trillion stimulus package in the coming days, which should hold gold’s appeal as inflation concerns and reflation appeal suggest gold is a good hedge.

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