1)The Indian safeguards agreement, which the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) is set to approve on Friday, will mark the first time a United Nations body recognises the reality, if not the legitimacy, of India possessing nuclear weapons.
2)THE wholesale price index-based annual rate of inflation has inched towards the 12% mark. Increase in the prices of some food articles and manufactured products pushed inflation to a 13-year high of 11.98% for the week ended July 19. The rise prompted economists to predict another 25-basis-point hike in the central bank’s short-term lending rates. But going by the recent trend in revised numbers, inflation may have crossed the 12% mark.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
3)Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd(CCCL), an integrated construction service provider with an interest in industrial, commercial, residential, and infrastructure space, has bagged two prestigious civil works order worth Rs 240 crore. The orders are of Renault-Nissan automobile plant as well as the global automotive centre for the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP) in Chennai.
MONEY & BANKING
4)The rupee depreciated against the greenback on month-end related dollar demand. The currency opened at 42.46/48 and touched an intraday low of 42.57. It finally ended the day at 42.5750, against the previous close at 42.36/37.
5)HOME loans rates are back to where they were in ’99-’00, long before the start of the great retail boom. A month after increasing their lending rates, two of the largest providers of housing finance in the country – HDFC and ICICI Bank – once again hiked interest rates on floating loans by 75 basis points. On Thursday, the coun- try’s largest housing finance company HDFC, increased interest rates on its home loans by 75 basis points to 11.75%. Fixed rate home loans, which raised to 14% earlier this month, have been retained at that level. Hours after HDFC announced the hike, ICICI Bank announced an identical increase in its lending rates. The new rates will be effective from August ’08.
6)Leading rating agency, Crisil anticipates that the ongoing downturn the gross non-performing assets(NPA) in the retail loan portfolio – currently estimated at Rs 1 lakh crore of Indian banks-would rise from around 3% to 4% by the end of the current financial year. The total lending portfolio of the country’s banking sector is currently pegged at Rs 5 lakh crore.
7)The domestic life insurance industry, in the first quarter, has seen some reshuffling in the rankings of top private sector players. While ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, with a total premium mobili- sation of Rs 1,590.27 crore, retained its top slot, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, with premium income of Rs 829.24 crore, has lost its number two position to SBI Life Insurance, subsidiary of the coun- try’s largest bank State Bank of India. SBILife has recorded a 170% jump in its premium income to Rs 1,148 crore during the period.
8)Private sector life insurer, Birla Sun Life Insurance(BSLI), closed FY2007-08 with an outstanding claims ratio of 0.32%(0.41% in 2006- 07, 1.72% in 2005-06, 2.52% in 2004-05, and 3.14% in 2003-04). This effectively means that of every 100 claims intimated to BSLI in FY 2007-08, 99.68 claims stand cleared. However, outstanding claims in each year could not be processed due to non-receipt of basic claim requirements or litigation claims.
9)The stock markets extended their gains for the second straight day on Thursday with the bellwether Sensex closing the day higher by over 68 points in a volatile trade, triggered by the settlement of futures and options(F&O) positions. The 30-share index of the Bom- bay Stock Exchange ended the day at 14,355.75, a gain of 68.54 points, 0.48 per cent, over its previous close. The 50-share Nifty also improved by 19.40 points, or 0.45 per cent, to close at 4,332.95.
10)HEG jumped by 13.29 per cent to Rs 271.55 ahead of its board meeting scheduled for July 31 to discuss the buyback of shares. However, post market hours, the company announced that the board had deferred the decision till the next meeting.
11)UNITY Infraprojects rose 2.45 per cent to close at Rs 411.60 after the company bagged an order worth Rs 92 crore from Flagship Infrastructure, for construction of nine residential buildings at Hinjewadi in Pune.
12)THE downturn in the stock market has been a period of learning for stock broking firms, it appears. After the battering of stocks, some of these brokerage houses have bolstered their risk management systems. They are now paring the stock-exposure limits of investors besides not putting through trades in some illiquid stocks and implementing net- worth criteria for F&O investors to mitigate unforeseen financial risks. This new found resolve shown by brokers comes at a time when the market is experiencing a major bout of volatility, contradictory trends and rapid price movements.
13)The board of directors of Areva T&D India Ltd has approved a stock split. Each share of Rs 10 would be split into five equity shares of Rs 2 each, the company said in a press release. The existing authorised share capital of the company is Rs 125.5 crore divided into 12.55 crore equity shares of Rs 10 each.
14)Mutual funds may still be waiting for approval to invest in commodity futures in India, but that has not stopped fund houses from launching commodity-centric equity funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to get their pie of this booming sector. “Today, the equity markets are facing the challenge of high inflation. Commodities have a strong correlation with inflation and are also good for portfolio diversification,” said Vineet K Vohra, managing director and chief executive officer, ING Investment Management India.
15)Mutual fund debt schemes – both fixed maturity plans and liquid schemes seem to be finding favour among both investors and fund houses as interest rates continue to harden. The number of offer documents for debt schemes filed with Sebi has increased three-fold since May. And, in the past three months, mutual funds have been net buyers of debt for around Rs 25,621 crore. More than 50 draft offer documents for debt schemes were filed with SEBI in July so far, according to the data collated by Value Research.
16)BUOYED by robust volumes and higher prices, India’s largest steel maker Tata Steel has seen its fiscal first-quarter net profit surge 22% to Rs 1,488 crore. The Tata group firm, which last year acquired the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus, posted a 46% rise in net sales in the April-June quarter to Rs 6,165 crore, from Rs 4,197 crore in the same period last year.
17)THE net profit of India’s largest real estate developer DLF has grown by 23% to Rs 1,864 crore for the quarter ended June 30,2008 from Rs 1,515 crore in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue increased 23% to Rs 3,846 crore. The operating margin fell from 68% to 62%.
18)GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd(GVKPIL) recorded a total income of Rs 141.37 crore with profit of Rs 40.55 crore for the first quarter ended June 30,2008 as against an income of Rs 101.83 crore and profit of Rs 13.17 crore for the corresponding quarter last year. This reflects a growth of 39 per cent in revenues and more than three-fold rise in profit over corresponding quarter last year.
19)The National Multi-Commodity Exchange(NMCE) has launched a new series for futures contracts in non-ferrous metals, menthol crys- tal and raw jute. All new contracts will be available for trading on NMCE platforms from Friday.
20)The sharp fall in crude oil prices and a strengthening dollar against euro have pushed down gold prices by Rs 1,015 for 10 grams in the last two weeks. Pure gold has fallen from Rs 13,625 per 10 grams on July 17 to Rs 12,610 per 10 grams on Thursday.
21)Coriander seed futures surged by 2.45 per cent on MCX counter today following a rise in demand in southern region amid supply constraints. At 1230 hrs, the most active September contract rose by 2.45 per cent to Rs 9,992 a quintal, October contract by 2.75 per cent to Rs 10,150 a quintal and November contract by 2.44 per cent to Rs 10,520 a quintal.
22)Red Fort Capital, a PE fund focused on real estate development, is in advance stages of negotiations with six developers for projects worth Rs 4,000 crore in various metros. The PE fund tied up with Godrej Properties to develop an IT park in Kolkata, where Red Fort has picked up a 49 per cent stake.
23)The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has decided to grant two licences to run mobile number portability(MNP) services, which allow subscribers to retain their numbers when they change services. It has, however, delayed the launch of the service for Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Tamil Nadu to February or March 2009 against the original schedule of end-2008.
24)GSS America Infotech has short-listed a US company with revenues of about $100 million for acquisition and is in the process of conducting due diligence. Announcing the company results, the company management said its managing director has been authorised to finalise the deal.
25)Crude oil futures on Thursday failed to hang on to the previous day’s gains, as demand concerns resurfaced following the release of weaker-than-expected US economic growth data. Light, sweet crude for September delivery traded 45 cents lower, or 0.35 per cent, at $126.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
26)Three Indian firms – Aurobindo Pharma, Cipla and Ranbaxy have received a lion’s share of over 85 per cent in the US Government’s latest fiscal funding for AIDs treatment in the poor countries to the generic drugmakers across the world.
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