1)Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagma met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday and formally conveyed his government’s invitation to India to attend the coming SAARC sum- mit in Colombo. The summit, the 15th of the South Asian group- ing, is to held in the beginning of August.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
2)Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo on Monday announced that it will make an open offer to buy 20% stake(92 million shares) in Ranbaxy Laboratories. The offer opens on August 8 and will close on August 27. The last day for submitting a competing bid is July 7. There is unconfirmed speculation that US major Pfizer is exploring the posibility of making a counter-offer to buy the 65% non-promoter stake in the company.
3)JSW Steel, India’s second largest private sector maker of the alloy, will set up a greenfield plant in Georgia (Europe) in partnership with UK’s Geo Steel to produce bars used in building construction, a statement released by the company during its 14th annual general meeting said today.
4)DUBAI-based Al Rostamani group is expected to buy 15% stake from the promoters of GHCL as a part of a larger transaction which could result in the Middle East group owning a little more than one third of the flagship company of the Sanjay Dalmia group. The deal, includ- ing the mandatory open offer will be triggered as part of the transac- tion, which is expected to cost anywhere between Rs 550-690 crore.
MONEY & BANKING
5)The rupee was flat against the dollar on Monday as demand from oil companies were met by inflows into the domestic stock market. The rupee opened at 42.88/89, but fell to close at 42.95/96, almost un- changed from the previous close of 42.94/95.
6)EVEN as banks hesitate to pay a higher rate of interest on retail deposits, they have began offering better rates to bulk depositors after last week’s repo rate hike. Interest rates offered on the cer- tificate of deposits(CD) have gone up in the past 3-4 days. Sources in the banking sector say that most banks are paying in the range of 9.25-9.50% for the one-year bulk deposits against 8.75-9% offered earlier. Most bulk deposits are placed by public sector
companies. As against this, on retail deposits, banks are offering 8.85-9% for 1-3 years.
7)KOLKATA-based Allahabad Bank has decided to offer 35% dividend on equity shares of face value Rs 10 to its shareholders for 2007-08. The bank has raised the dividend percentage from 30% proposed earlier. The dividend percentage was approved on Monday by shareholders at its sixth annual general meeting(AGM).
8)While the bigger players are debating the pros and cons of raising rates, the smaller banks have already set the ball rolling. Atleast two banks – Yes Bank and United Bank of India(UBI)-have announ- ced an increase in deposit rates.
9)A THREE-WAY life insurance joint venture between Canara Bank, HSBC and Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) started operations on Monday with a call by finance minister P Chidambaram to keep life insurance products simple to tap into the growing market in rural areas. Called Canara HSBC Life Insurance Company, it is the 19th life insurer to commence business in the country.
10)LIC has launched its new unit linked deferred pension plan, Market Plus 1. The plan offers four investment options, which include bond, secured, balanced, and growth funds. One of the highlights of the plan is the enhanced limit for investment in the equity market for secured and balanced types of funds. Though primarily a pension product, the plan has many attractive features and options.
11)The private sector life insurer, ICICI Prudential Life, has intro- duced the webchat service for its policyholders that will help them resolve their policy related queries, instantly. To avail this 24×7 webchat service, the only thing the consumer needs to do is log on to the company’s website.
12)Taking cues from global markets, key Indian indices ended the day on a positive note after players resorted to short-covering with some of them mopping up stocks in the realty and banking sectors. The Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) Sensex closed on a positive note at 15,395.82 points, surging 206.20 points or 1.36% while the broader National Stock Exchange(NSE) Nifty gained 55.40 points or 1.23% to end at 4,572.50 points. However, the fag end of the session saw some profit-booking at higher levels, forcing indices to pare early gains.
13)The BSE has revised circuit filters of shares of eight companies with effect from Tuesday. National Fertilisers would attract a circuit filter of 10 per cent. The BSE imposed a 5 per cent circuit filter on stocks such as Punjab Chemicals and Crop Protection, Bharat Bhu- shan Share & Commodities Brokers, Arihant Capital markets, BDH Industries, Fortis Financial Services, Kirti Finvest and Entegra 5 per cent, according a statement from the exchange.
14)Balanced funds and fixed maturity plans (FMPs) offered by mutual fund houses are the flavour of the season as the equity markets are fraught with volatility and price declines, say analysts. The net as- set values (NAVs) of the balanced funds have remained unaffected compared with those of equity oriented funds.
15)DSP Merrill Lynch Mutual Fund on Monday launched DSP Merrill Lynch FMP-3M-Series-10 that will remain open for subscription till Wednes- day, an official from the fund house said. The three-month, close- ended income scheme will deploy its entire assets in fixed income securities having a maturity profile similar to its own
16)Optimix Mutual Fund is likely to launch open-ended fund of funds scheme Optimix Global Commodities Fund in July, a fund house official said. The fund will invest in global commodity related funds and ex- change traded funds that invests in commodities or commodity related securities. It will seek to deploy at least 65 per cent of its corpus primarily in overseas third party commodity related funds. The fund house has capped investment limit under exchange-traded funds to 25 per cent.
17)Industrial metal copper rose more than 1 per cent in London on Mon- day, while the premium for metal for nearby delivery rose ahead of a key trading day. Three-months futures in the metal, often consi- dered a good gauge of underlying economic activity, were up $80 at a quoted $8,060/8,080 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange by 1056 GMT.
18)Gold rose in Europe on Monday as the dollar weakened against the euro and as oil prices steadied after earlier losses, with traders expecting rising fears over inflation to give the precious metal its next leg up. Gold rose to $875.40/876.40 an ounce at 1020 GMT, up from $869/870 an ounce late in New York on Friday.
19)Maize futures and spot prices are expected to remain firm on good export demand as well as good sustained buying from poultry and starch sector supported by lower inflows in Bihar. NCDEX maize futures(August 2008 contracts) on Monday crossed the Rs 1,000- mark and moved up to an all time high of Rs 1,011 a quintal on local buying support.
20)MUMBAI and Delhi no longer figure in the map of ‘the world’s most expensive property markets’. A slow growth in rentals which gripped the country’s commercial property market for the past six months is forcing real estate developers to cut commercial rentals by 10 to 15% across India. A softening of prices is also underway in the resi- dential property market, particularly in the more expensive segment, where developers are willing to offer 20-30% discount to customers who are willing to pay upfront.
21)LEHMAN Brothers Real Estate Partners, the $4-billion global pri- vate equity fund managed by Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers, is investing $700 million in Unitech’s realty projects in Mumbai. It is learnt that Lehman is in the process of striking three separate equi- ty deals with Unitech for a combined investment of $525 million. These deals are over and above Lehman’s $175-million investment in Unitech’s Santacruz project in Mumbai, which was announced on Monday.
22)Emaar MGF Land, one of the leading real estate players, will soon sign a deal with an Indian construction company for Mohali Hills, its up-coming housing project spread over 3,000 acres. The project will be Emaar MGF’s maiden integrated township in India.
23)IT companies may have got a year’s respite on the extension of tax sops for STPI units, but a bigger devil may be lurking in the fine print in the proposed tax exemption from SEZs. Under Section 10AA(7) of the Income Tax Act only a percentage of profits – not all – will be eligible for exemption. Already, TCS, Infosys Tech- nologies and Wipro get some amount of their revenues from SEZs and continue to add new capacities in SEZs. By 2010, most of the leading software companies expect to receive up to 50% of their export revenue from SEZs. Under the SEZ Act, profits earned by the unit are 100% tax exempt in the first five years, and 50% tax exempt for the next five years. The 50% tax exemption can be ex- tended for another five years based on the amount re-invested in the SEZ unit.
24)CRUDE oil futures hit a record close to $140 a barrel on Monday as the dollar weakened against the euro. Light, sweet crude for July delivery rose to $139.89 before retreating to trade up $3.62 at $138.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Many in- vestors buy commodities such as oil as a hedge against inflation when the dollar falls. Also, a weaker dollar makes oil less expen- sive to investors dealing in other currencies.
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