1)Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee and AEC chairman Anil Kakodkar on Friday reiterated that India would accept nothing short of a clean waiver at next week’s NSG meet. The fresh NSG draft, which the US has been diligently working on for the past few days, has not been circulated among the NSG countries. But India has maintained that the substance should remain the same.
2)THE INDIAN economy grew by 7.9% in the first quarter (April-June) of the current fiscal, the slowest in the past three-and-half years. This tallies with the prime minister’s Economic Advisory Council’s growth forecast for this fiscal at 7.7%.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
3)The government on Friday approved a total overhaul of the Omnibus Companies Act, 1956, making it far easier for boards of Indian companies to change their corporate structures without having to seek government approval. The Cabinet on Friday approved the Companies Bill, 2008, which proposes to limit the government’s role in India Inc. The Bill will now be introduced in the upcoming session of Parliament in October.
4)Larsen & Toubro Ltd’s(L&T) order book as on March 31, 2008 stood at a healthy Rs 52,683 crore, of which Rs 8,736 crore was contributed by international business. This was stated by AM Naik, chairman, L&T at the company’s 63 rd AGM held in Mumbai. Despite large spending on capability building, L&T has been able to maintain a return on capital employed (ROCE) at 20.6%. Its EVA has grown by over 51% to Rs 834 crore in FY 2007-08. The company has also proposed an issue of bonus shares in the ratio of 1:1.
5)Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd(BHEL) on Friday said it has bagged a Rs 1,155 crore order from GVK Power for supplying and installing equipments at a power project in Punjab. “BHEL has won a Rs 1,555 crore contract from GVK Power Ltd for setting up 2×270 MW electri city generating units at Goindwal Sahib thermal power project in Punjab,” a company release said.
6)Steel-pipe maker PSL Ltd is all set to diversify into development of Special Economic Zones(SEZ), with the company getting the stage-1 approval from the Centre to set up an exclusive SEZ for alternative energy and energy ancillaries at Pipavav in Gujarat.
MONEY & BANKING
7)INDIA’S first-ever exchange-traded currency futures market got off to an impressive start on Friday, as active participation from companies, proprietary books of brokers and some retail investors ensured higher-than-expected volumes. Though the market was largely divided over the direction of the two currencies, with some punting on a stronger dollar against the rupee in the near-term, most bets were slightly biased towards a weaker US currency in the coming weeks. Dealers attribute this positive outlook on the rupee to RBI’s intervention in the currency market, when the rupee fell to 44.15 a dollar. The Indian currency finally ended the day at 43.94 to the dollar. Participants are also keeping a close watch on crude oil prices, as movement in this commodity is inversely correlated to the dollar, which means when oil falls, dollar rises and vice-versa.
8)INDIA’S pension sector has been opened up a notch wider with the New Pension Scheme(NPS) now restricted to government employees set to be extended to individuals outside the government. Finance minister P Chidambaram on Friday announced that the finance ministry had advised the pensions regulator – Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) – to open up the scheme to private citizens also. The PFRDA will soon put in place the enabling frame- work to facilitate those working in the unorganised sector to parti- cipate in the scheme. The plan is to allow pension fund managers licensed by the PFRDA to offer schemes to individuals across the country using network of banks and other agencies to collect the subscriptions.
9)Benchmark indices surged over 3% on Friday as bulls chose to look at the brighter side of a slowing economy. According to a government release, India’s GDP grew 7.9% in the June quarter, the slowest in three-and-a-half years, and much below the 8.8% growth rate clocked in the April quarter. This, and the slight drop in inflation to 12.4%, has raised hopes that RBI may not hve to raise interest rates soon. Still, brokers fell it is too early to say if the market is now poised for a sustained upswing. The finance minister himself said on Friday that no conclusion can be drawn from one week’s inflation numbers. Despite the 500-plus point rally in the Sensex, traded turnover on both exchanges combined was under Rs 60,000 crore, indicating the cautious mood among investors. “I don’t think inflation is fully be- hind us; the market is likely to trade in a 2000-point range on either sides for some time,” says BSE broker Ramesh S Damani. The Sensex gained 516.19 points to end the day at 14,564.53, while the broader 50-share Nifty gained 146 points to close at 4,360.
10)Companies making public or rights issues now have to obtain final letters of sanction of loans for the projects or plans for which they are raising funds, going by SEBI’s clarification on its Disclosure and Investor Protection Guidelines. In the case of mega projects involving high debt component, SEBI has made an exception.
11)Reforms in the primary market may witness a further thrust as capital market intermediaries get ready to implement Application Supported by Blocked Amount(ASBA) in the initial public offers(IPOs), an alternative mode of payment proposed by the Sebi. The pilot project to implement ASBA is likely to kick off from September 8 with the IPO of Gujarat-based 20 Microns, a manufacturer of white minerals, said a banker familiar with the process. 20 Microns will tap the primary markets with an IPO of 43,50,632 equity shares of Rs 10 each. The issue is slated to close on September 11.
12)Allied Computers International(Asia) today said it will split its shares in the ratio of 1:10. The board at its meeting has approved the subdivision of one equity share of Rs 10 each into 10 equity share of Rs 1 each, Allied Computers said in a filing to the BSE.
13)Motilal Oswal group on Friday said that it has received Sebi’s inprinciple approval for its mutual fund business. Its group company, Passionate Investment Management Pvt Ltd, has been granted an in- principle approval by market regulator Sebi, to set up a mutual fund business, a release said.
14)Gold rose on the back of a soft dollar and firmer oil prices on Friday, hovering near its highest level in more than two weeks, with investors expecting US economic data to shed more light on the world economy. Gold firmed to $836.75/837.75 an ounce by 0954 GMT from $831.45/832.65 late in New York on Thursday.
15)Pepper futures market fell on Friday on bearish operations and the September contract fell below the spot prices. September contract dropped by Rs 115 a quintal to close at Rs 13,943, much below the spot price of Rs 14,200 of MG 1. The fall in other contracts was from Rs 38 to 117 a quintal on NCDEX.
16)Online real estate portals such as People Group’s makaan.com and 99acres.com have started witnessing 6% to 12% drop in online purchases of real estate properties since July 2008. Aditya Verma, VP and business head, makaan.com told FE, “Between January to June this year, makaan.com witnessed 22% growth in online purchases. But since July, online purchases have started degrowing at the rate of 18%. This is due to a demand-supply gap for properties, apart from delays in real estate projects.” Currently, 26 million people are looking for properties. 12% of such prospective customers look for properties online. According to Verma, “In the next three years, those looking for properties online will increase to 50%. We have set aside a budget of Rs 40 crore, to be spent during the next three years, for expanding our presence online in Tier II and III cities.” There are about 3 lakh property brokers in India, of which 60,000 were booked through news- papers.
HUMAN RESOURCES OUTSOURCING
17)AN INCREASING number of mid-market companies, with about 3,000-15,000 employees, are expected to adopt human resources outsourcing (HRO) in the coming years in an attempt to bring down costs and reap gains from latest technologies, says a study. Moreover, in terms of adopting HRO, these firms are projected to surpass larger corporations having 15,000 or more employees in the next few years, reveals the study conducted by Everest Research Institute, the research arm of global consulting firm Everest Group.
18)Stung by the apparent anti-outsourcing overtone of Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance speech where the Democrats’ Presidential nominee pledged to halt tax sops to companies that ship jobs outside the US, the Indian IT industry on Friday said that globalisation of services was “irreversible” and argued that outsourcing had enabled US firms to stay competitive. While industry captains reacted with caution trying to decipher the underlying implications, some sought to play down the reference to outsourcing terming it as an “election rhetoric.”
19)The country’s fourth largest software exporter Satyam Computer Services is on the prowl again. The Hyderabad based company has identified about four potential targets for acquisition, Satyams Chief Strategy Officer, Mr Shailesh F. Shah, said on Friday.
20)Crude oil futures rose more than $3 a barrel Friday ahead of a holiday weekend expected to conclude with a major hurricane reaching a key US energy-producing region. Light, sweet crude for October delivery was up $2.85, or 2.5 per cent, at $118.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after reaching $118.76.
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