United States stocks posted solid weekly gains as investors were assessing economic recovery amid COVID-19 lockdown easing.
The S&P United States Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on United States exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly gain of 7.9 percent.
“While consumer demand picked up somewhat, states found offices, bars, and restaurants continued to operate well below new capacity guidelines. People remain cautious about returning to normal,” economists at FHN Financial, said in a research note on Friday.
“Now, as the United States economy endures the recession in real time, the stock market may be looking ahead again — pricing-in an economic recovery that could take hold in the second half of this year, or later,” said Mitch Zacks, CEO at Zacks Investment Management, while commenting on the recent market rally amid the COVID-19 shock.
Wall Street’s three major averages ended considerably higher on Friday with the Dow up more than 800 points, fueled by better-than-anticipated May employment data.
United States employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 13.3 percent, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a drop of more than 8 million jobs and the unemployment rate to nearly 20 percent.
The improvements reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said the bureau. The unemployment rate previously soared to a record 14.7 percent in April.
Since lockdowns started, 42.6 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance, which takes the implied national unemployment rate to 27.3 percent, according to analysts at FHN Financial.
On other data front, economic activity in the United States non-manufacturing sector contracted in May for the second consecutive month, said the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM non-manufacturing index registered 45.4 percent in May, following the April reading of 41.8 percent.
The ISM United States manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) registered 43.1 percent in May, up 1.6 percentage points from the April reading of 41.5 percent. Any reading below 50 percent indicates the sector is generally contracting.
Investors also closely monitored nationwide unrest over the death of African-American George Floyd as riots on top of the pandemic could cause lasting economic scars.
Pirlo says Suarez unlikely to join Juventus after all
Juventus are unlikely to sign FC Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez afterall, coach Andrea Pirlo said on Saturday as he prepared for the start of the new Serie A season.
Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri last month in spite of having no senior coaching experience, will make his debut at home to Sampdoria on Sunday.
He said Juventus needed a centre-forward but that there was not enough time for Suarez to obtain an Italian passport.
Juventus have already used up their limit of two non-EU signings following the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Arthur and United States international Weston McKinnie.
They will only be able to add Suarez if he can obtain an EU passport.
“We’re all waiting for a centre-forward. There is still a long way to go in the transfer window. So, we’re calm and happy, we’re not in a hurry,” said Pirlo.
“Suarez is difficult because it takes a long time to get the passport. So, it’s unlikely that it could be him”.
Although Suarez is eligible for Italian naturalisation as his wife is a citizen of the country, the process usually takes several years.
This is a detail overlooked in much of the speculation linking him to the Serie A champions over the last month.
Pirlo said Cristiano Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski would share the role against Sampdoria.
“Neither Kulusevski nor Ronaldo will start in the classic centre-forward position. They will try to move according to what the other does,” said Pirlo.
“There will be rotations to allow as many people as possible to arrive in the area.”
The 41-year-old said he was relaxed ahead of the new season where he would be expected, at the minimum, to bring Juventus a tenth successive Serie A title.
“After a month of Juve I have no doubts, but many certainties,” he said. “I have fitted in well, now the pitch will do the talking.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Reed grabs halfway lead, as Tiger misses cut at United States Open
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed put his sterling short game on display to grab the United States Open halfway lead on Friday.
Tiger Woods finished well outside the cut in windy conditions which humbled many of the game’s top golfers.
Reed only hit five fairways on a tough scoring day at Winged Foot but made a slew of stunning recoveries.
He then needed only 25 putts en route to an even-par 70 that left him at four under on the week and one shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau (68).
“I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good,” said world number 10 Reed. “I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that’s what you need.”
Reed, who started the day one shot back of overnight leader Justin Thomas, grabbed the outright lead with a birdie on his final hole, the par-five ninth.
That was where his shot from a greenside bunker settled five feet from the cup.
Unlike the first round when 21 players finished under par in soft conditions, Winged Foot proved a much sterner test on Friday.
DeChambeau, Bubba Watson (69) and Hideki Matsuyama (69) were the only players from a 144-player field to break par.
DeChambeau, who has turned heads this year with his new physique and prodigious length off the tee, went out in the morning wave.
He muscled his way around a scorecard-shredding Winged Foot course like few others can.
The world number nine finished his round with a monstrous eagle at the par-five ninth hole where, after a 380-yard drive, he stuffed a pitching wedge to six feet.
“Confidence is at an all-time high right now, driving it well, iron play is fantastic, wedging is getting better each and every day, and I’m putting it like I know I can,” said DeChambeau, whose best major finish was a share of fourth place at this year’s PGA Championship.
Thomas (73), Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello (70) and Harris English (70) were all two shots off the pace heading into the weekend.
This was a tournament that was originally scheduled for mid-June but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masters champion Woods (77) missed the cut for the eighth time in his last 15 majors after a round during which he made five bogeys and two double-bogeys over a miserable 11-hole run.
“Physically it was frustrating that I didn’t drive the ball as well as I needed to,” said Woods.
“Iron play was pretty much the way it has been. It’s been good, and I finally putted well. But on this golf course it’s imperative that you hit fairways, and I did not do that.”
Phil Mickelson’s latest bid to complete the career Grand Slam of golf’s four majors fell apart as the six-times runner-up carded a 74
He missed the cut after posting one of the worst 36-hole scores of his major career.
Among the others to miss the cut were defending champion Gary Woodland, PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, and top-20 players Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Visa Ban: FG says sanctioning electoral offenders disrespectful to Nigeria’s sovereignty
The Nigerian government has said it considers it disrespectful to the Sovereignty of the country for any outside country to apply punitive measures such as visas restriction on its citizens.
The Nigerian government made this known in a statement issued by Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that this comes as a response to the recent announcement of the United States and the United Kingdom to impose visa restrictions on those who undermine electoral processes.
The Nigerian Government said it was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, especially the United States and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“They have also expressed their intentions to take punitive measures against those who decide to, in what they termed as, undermine democracy.
“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.
“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and United States to cooperate with our relevant agencies,” the government said.
The government called on the partners to support security agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.
The Nigerian government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the United States as regards their forthcoming election, which it hoped would be free from interference and violence.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Osinbajo inaugurates fashion cluster shared facility for MSMEs in Lagos
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday performed the virtual inauguration of the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), the Eko Fashion Hub 1, in Lagos State.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government remained deeply committed to creating a more business friendly environment for MSMEs to thrive, as they were the engine room of the Nigerian economy.
According to the Vice President, the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), has in it, a Survival Fund for MSMEs.
“Under the Survival Fund is a Payroll Support Scheme, which will provide up to N50,000 in monthly salaries for up to 10 staff of a qualifying business, for a period of three months.
“There is also a N50,000 grant for 100,000 small and medium-scale businesses, while 333,000 self-employed persons working as artisans and transporters will benefit from a one-off grant of N30,000.
“The President has also approved that the Federal Government bear the full cost of business name registration for 250,000 new businesses nationwide.
“We are doing all these to support MSMEs across the country to maintain their staffing levels and keep their businesses afloat through these very challenging times.”
The Vice President said the Buhari administration’s commitment to the success of small businesses was evident in its MSMEs Clinics initiative.
Osinbajo said that the clinics extended business support services to small businesses across the country, of which the MSMEs Shared Facility Scheme was a core component.
“The Eko facility, which was developed through collaboration between the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government, and the Organised Private Sector, is an end-to-end fashion production centre equipped with needed machinery and will be made available to the public under a shared facility style structure.
“When MSMEs thrive the economy thrives, when they struggle, the economy struggles.
“MSMEs’ Shared Facility Scheme being implemented by the Federal Government under the National MSMEs Clinics seeks to provide high-quality operating equipment, which small businesses can access at a reasonable cost, within a conducive space,’’ he said.
According to the Vice President, the facilities will help to reduce operating costs for users, allowing them to invest the savings in expanding their businesses and hiring more staff.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was physically present at the event in Ikeja, commended the President and Vice President for supporting the scheme.
He said that there were plans to replicate the same in other parts of the state.
There are 161 machines at the EKO facility, including 74 industrial straight sewing machines, 10 industrial steam pressing irons, four monogramming machines, eight industrial button-hole and five industrial button tacking machines.
It also has Tinko and Coil machines, heming and industrial weaving machines, among others.
The Facility has a 100kva standby generator and a 2kva solar power system.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe and the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Tola Johnson joined the event.
Others were the CEO, Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan, Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar and Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Abba Bello.
Dr Lola Akande, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives among other government functionaries also attended the event.
Osinbajo had in June, virtually inaugurated and handed over the 200,000-capacity Yam Storage Facility at the Zaki Biam International Yam Market in Benue State.
He had said there were also plans to establish similar facilities in other parts of the country, including in Kaduna, Anambra and the FCT.
Edited By: Felix Ajide