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NUPENG, PENGASSAN reject NNPC’s downsizing

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Oil workers under the aegis of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the new Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, to order over the rate of termination of appointments.

The two unions in a statement jointly signed by the President, PENGASSAN, Comrade Francis O. Johnson, President, NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achese, General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Comrade Bayo Olowoshile, and the acting General Secretary, NUPENG, Comrade Joseph Ogbebor, advised Buhari to review the GMD’s action for justice, equity and fairness.

The unions expressed reservations over the ongoing approach of government to the reform programme in the oil and gas industry without carrying the two unions in the sector along in the process. The unions said, “While we are fully in support of the fight against corruption, the fight itself should not be turned against workers whom Government swore to protect.

The ongoing exercise portends a great danger in the oil and sector, if workers are meant to bear the brunt of government current action where the fight of corruption is now used as an act of vindictiveness against workers. “The ongoing exercise does not show any act of fighting corruption and blocking any leakages.

We dare the new GMD of NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to recover the stolen trillions of naira in the sector than retiring and sacking of innocent workers. We see the action as an act of cover up. We are quite sure that the ongoing action is not the idea of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.”

Both unions argue that further to their social partner’s status, they are strategic players in all spheres and areas of the industry’s operation, saying that they had been making persistent effort to reach out to Mr. President on the issue but being kept in the dark by those in charge of protocol.

“However, our commitment to protect and defend job security and welfare is paramount and cannot be sacrificed. We shall approach as it becomes expedient whatever government steps and actions that are viewed as dialectical or capable of suppressing our missions and objectives as a labour movement,” he said.

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BUSINESS

Stock futures fall ahead of a big week of retail earnings

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Stock futures fell early on Monday after a week of steep losses that ended on a high note, and ahead of a big earnings week for retailers.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped by 31 points, or 0.1%, while S&P 500 futures fell 0.47%. Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.71%.

On Friday, the Dow rose 466.36 points, or 1.47%, while the S&P 500 climbed 2.39%. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.82% and posted its strongest one-day gain since November 2020. Still, all three averages posted losing weeks.

The gains came as investors went into relief rally mode to cap off a bad week for stocks in which the S&P 500 nearly descended into bear market territory.

It remains to be seen, however, how long the rally will last or how much further stocks have to fall before this year’s downtrend bottoms.

“Given the history of bear markets, coupled with the fact that the Fed has just begun its rate hike cycle and would like to see financial conditions continue to tighten so that demand pulls back further, this rally will most likely weaken,” said Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial.

Still, some investors and analysts say, whether or not the bottom is in, there are good buying opportunities at the market’s current lows.

“I’m not calling the bottom here, but there’s some opportunity here to dollar cost average,” said Sylvia Jablonski, CEO and chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs, told CNBC. “If you’re sitting on a bunch of cash, you’re locking in losses because of inflation. Investing in equities or asset classes that you believe in… it is the lesser evil. The selling fatigue will wane, the market will reset. It’s unlikely the Dow and the S&P are going to be in correction territory six months to a year from now.”

Retail earnings season kicks off this week with several big-box retailers set to report results for the first quarter, including Walmart, Target and Home Depot. Elsewhere, Deere is also on deck, along with a handful of technology companies.

Investors will also have their eye on retail sales data this week, which could give them insight into how retailers are managing inflation, which remains near 40-year highs.

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Nigeria issues new guidelines on cryptocurrencies 

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The Nigerian government has released new guidelines aimed at protecting investors in digital assets as trades in cryptocurrencies get boost in Africa’s most populous nation.

The rules issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offers more clarity on trading in cryptocurrencies, it was learnt.

The rules cover “issuance, offering platforms and custody of digital assets” for virtual technologies, according to a statement on its website.

This is coming amidst controversy over the acceptability of cryptocurrencies in Nigerian financial ecosystem.

Despite order by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commercial banks to stop transactions in cryptocurrencies, Nigeria is said to account for the largest volume of cryptocurrency transactions outside the U.S., as data from Paxful, a Bitcoin marketplace reveals.

Experts however believe this would go a long way in boosting trading in cryptocurrencies which is gaining global traction.

The new rules cover the issuance of digital assets as securities, the registration of platforms and digital asset custodians, exchanges and virtual assets service providers.

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Apple is no longer the world’s most valuable company

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Oil giant Saudi Aramco on Wednesday surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable firm.

Aramco’s market valuation was just under $2.43 trillion on Wednesday, according to FactSet, which converted its market cap to dollars. Apple, which fell more than 5% during trading in the U.S. on Wednesday, is now worth $2.37 trillion.

Energy stocks and prices have been rising as investors sell off equities in several industries, including technology, on fears of a deteriorating economic environment. Apple has fallen nearly 20% since its $182.94 peak on Jan. 4.

The move is mostly symbolic, but it shows how markets are shifting as the global economy grapples with rising interest rates, inflation, and supply chain problems.

Aramco stock is up over 27% so far in 2022. In March, the oil giant reported that its full-year profit last year more than doubled due to soaring oil prices.

Apple passed Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2020.

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