1)China is set to host what could turn out to be the most memorable Olympic Games ever. The Games that will open at the auspicious Chinese time of 8:08.08 on Friday evening should showcase China’s organisational skills and sporting prowess, apart from projecting a vibrant image of the country.
2)Inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in more than 13 years, making more difficult the central bank’s job of containing prices amid slowing growth. Wholesale prices rose 12.01 per cent in the week to July 26, after gaining 11.98 per cent in the previous week, the com- merce ministry said in New Delhi today.
3)EVEN as India’s inflation soared to 12.01% on Thursday, a top government official said it would come back to single-digit levels of 5– 6% in the next 12 months.”The uncertain oil prices make it difficult to make short-term predictions, but in the next 12 months the inflation rate would return to normal levels of 5-6%,” said ministry of finance chief ecnomic advisor Arvind Virmani.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
4)Public sector oil marketing company Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) on Wednesday announced its foray into solar power generation by deciding to set up its first solar photovoltaic power project of 1 MW capacity in Punjab.
5)Hindustan Construction Company-led joint venture has bagged a Rs 1,398.50-crore order for construction of three rows of 38.75 km pipelines from an existing intake on the Godavari river at Ganga- ram village to Bheemghnapur tank in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh. The pipeline will be of three metre diameter.
MONEY & BANKING
6)The rupee was flat against the dollar on Thursday in a highly volatile market. The currency opened higher at 41.98 and closed at 42.07/ 08, the same as the previous day’s close. During the day, the rupee touched an intraday high of 41.86/88.
7)Even as the country’s largest bank State Bank of India(SBI) is yet to hike rates, two other state-run banks, including Canara Bank Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Dena Bank, and Andhra Bank raised their BPLR on Thursday. Bank of India, Canara Bank, Dena Bank, and Andhra Bank have revised their BPLR by 75 basis points. BoI’s BPLR would be 14% with effect from August 10.
8)THE government, which is pushing the legislation to hike the cap in foreign direct investment in insurance from 26% to 49%, is also set to usher in reforms in India’s largest financial institution, Life Insurance Corporation. It is vetting a proposal to bring about changes in the LIC Act to enhance the capital base of the corporation from Rs 5 crore to Rs 100 crore.
9)The private sector life insurer, Max New York Life Insurance, has clocked Rs 2,100 crore in collected premium for the period Jan-July 2008, recording a growth of 81% over the same period last year. Of this, first year premiums contributed Rs 1,195 crore, while earnings from renewal premium stood at Rs 905 crore. The company has acquired around 27 lakh policies since inception and is ranked number 3 amongst private life insurers in terms of number of policies sold(YTD June). The assets under management have also increased to over Rs 4,138 crore on July 31,2008 from Rs 2,271 crore a year ago.
10)Bharti AXA General Insurance Company, a joint venture between Bharti Group and AXA Group of Europe, is expected to see its capital base increase by Rs 645 crore over the next five years, as against an initial capital of Rs 130 crore. The company launched its operations today. The company, which will be headquartered in Bangalore, will sell property, project and engineering, cargo, motor, health, personal accident and travel insurance products. Chief Executive Officer Milind Chalisgaonkar said the general insurer will use the agency force of Bharti Axa Life Insurance to sell its retail products such as health and motor.
11)Alternate bouts of buying and selling put key equity indices on high volatility mode on Thursday. Due to lack of any clear trigger and ahead of announcement of the crucial inflation figures due later in the day, indices ended flat with the 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex closing at 15,117.25 points, up 43.71 points or 0.29%, while the broader Nifty of the National Stock Exchange(NSE) closed the day at 4,523.85 points gaining 6.30 points or 0.14%. Heaving buying in the Consumer Durable(CD) stocks led its sectoral index at the BSE to be the highest gainer surging by 2.86% while some selling pressure was witnessed in the stocks of the Capital Goods(CG), Power, Oil & Gas and PSUs leading their respective sectoral indices to end slightly in the negative zone.
12)Value buying over the last month has lifted the BSE Auto index 12.97 percent during the period. Declining crude prices also gave the index a boost, helping it beat the BSE Sensex, which went up 11.8 per cent. The scrips in the auto index have gone up by between 12 percent and 26 per cent during this period.
13)Petron Engineering Construction was up 6.34 per cent to Rs 256.50 after getting an order worth Rs 100.23 crore from HPCL-Mittal Energy for the Guru Gobind Singh refinery project. A total of 53,315 shares were traded on the BSE counter as against the average daily volumes of 1,651 shares in the past one quarter.
14)Shiv Vani Oil & Gas Exploration Services moved up 5.07 percent to Rs 575.50 after the company secured a contract worth Rs 1,610 crore from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation to deploy eight onshore deep drilling rigs. On the BSE, 215,000 shares of Shiv Vani were traded, against the average daily volumes of 41,727 shares in the last quarter.
15)THE Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) is likely to consider the equity restructuring proposal of Punjab & Sind Bank (PSB) on Friday, paving the way for the proposed initial public offer (IPO) of the Delhi-based bank.
16)Despite opposition from the company’s employees union, the Government seems to be moving ahead on its plans to list State-owned tele- com company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. The Communications Minister, Mr A.Raja, on Thursday said that BSNL may be listed on the bourses in the price range of Rs 300-400 a share. While BNSL’s management said that the listing could happen within the next six months, all efforts are now being made to garner the union’s support.
17)The Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Ltd(Maha-Transco) proposes to enter the capital market with an IPO to raise around Rs 1,500 crore. This will be the first of the three State government power companies going for a public issue.
18)The Securities and Exchange Board of India(Sebi) is likely to clear the long pending application of Taurus Parsoli Ethical Fund to launch a shariah fund by the end of this month. A go-ahead to Taurus would pave the way for other mutual fund houses to launch similar funds.
19)Lotus India Mutual Fund on Thursday launched Lotus India Fixed Maturity Plan – 375 Days – Series XV, subscription to which will close on August 20. The close-ended scheme’s corpus will be invested in fixed-income securities maturing in line with its tenure.
20)Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund will on Friday launch Plan E under Templeton Fixed Horizon Fund Series-IX, a fund house executive said. Subscription to the 18-month income plan will close on August 20. The close-ended scheme will invest its entire corpus in fixed-income securities having a maturity profile similar to the tenure of the plan.
21)LIC Mutual Fund will on Monday launch LIC Fixed Maturity Plan-Series 44, which will remain open until August 25, an executive said on Thursday. The 13-month, close-ended scheme’s corpus will be invested in fixed-income securities maturing in line with duration of the plan.
22)Multi Commodity Exchange, the country’s top commodity exchange, has been approved as an affiliate member of the International Organisation of Securities Commission(IOSCO), the prestigious association of world’s regulatory bodies and exchanges. MCX is the first commodity exchange in India to have gained membership of IOSCO.
23)Weak trend continued on the bullion market in Mumbai on Thursday due to persistent offerings from stockists inspite of marginal rise in the overseas markets. Standard gold (99.9 purity) dropped further by Rs 20 per 10 gram to end at Rs 12,060 from 12,080 on Wednesday and pure gold (99.9 purity) moved down by Rs 25 per 10 gram to Rs 12,125 from Rs 12,150. Silver ready(.999 fineness) slipped by yet another Rs 50 per kilo to Rs 23,940 from Rs 23,990. Gold prices in London edged up to $882.20/883.20 an ounce from $878.70/879.90 late in New York as the dollar softened against the euro.
24)Property developers, consultants and brokers see enquiries from home buyers have gone down by 40 per cent over the last three months. Investors say that while developers are not advertising price cuts, most of them are ready to reduce prices once negotiations start. However, some are expecting prices to revive during the Diwali season. With home-buyers postponing their purchases owing to higher interes rates and increase in equated monthly installments, the slowdown in the real estate market is getting deeper.
25)ETA Star Property Developers Ltd, an offshoot of the Dubai-based $6 billion ETA Star conglomerate, is planning to set a mega integrated township in a sprawling 400 acres of land at Sriperumbudur nea Chennai with an estimated cost of nearly Rs 7,500 crore, said P H M Syed Ismail, managing director, ETA Star Property.
BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING
26)BPO agents can now work from home, fulfilling a long-standing in dustry demand for lowering operating costs and bringing more people, including women and the physically challenged, into the workforce. The government has given a go-ahead to agents working at call cen tres, among other service providers, to work from home.
27)MAJORITY of the sub-$1 billion IT services companies in India will be forced to alter their business models to focus on specialisation in the changed competitive environment, according to technology re search provider Forrester. In its report. “Surviving The Offshor Vendor Polarization Puzzle”, Forrester said that sub-scale, non-specialist IT services providers are struggling to grow their businesss and this is likely to see many of them shedding up to 30% of their non-strategic clients to pursue a more specialised strategy and rebuild competitiveness.
28)Crude recovered from three-month lows to rise by more than $2 on Thursday as supply concerns returned to centre stage in a market that has come under pressure from growing evidence of slower fuel demand. US crude rose $2.18 to $120.76 a barrel by 1134 GMT, after the contract recovered from a three-month-low hit in the previous session.
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