18 August 2008

GENERAL

1)In consonance with India’s ‘Look East’ policy, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major left for Malaysia on Saturday night to discuss bilateral defence cooperation, which recently received a big boost with IAF beginning to train Malaysian pilots to fly Russian-origin Sukhoi fighters.

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CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

2)ENGINEERING and construction major, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), has set a goal of achieving a 25% revenue from its international business over the next few years from the present 16% in FY08, a top company official said. The company’s focus areas would contitute the Middle- East and China in view of the booming infrastructure market there.

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3)AUTO-Component maker Minda Industries(MIL) is bidding for Vimercati SpA, an Italian full-service switch products supplier, which supplies automotive switches to automobile majors like BMW, General Motors and Fiat in the European market. The transaction is being valued at around $50-55 million, sources said.

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MONEY & BANKING

4)Bank of Maharashtra has realigned its interest rates on domestic term deposits to suit the present interest rate environment. The  revised interest rates are applicable from August 18. Depositors will now get interest at 10 per cent per annum on deposits for a  year.

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5)Corporation Bank has launched a new term deposit for a period of 330 days. A press release said on Saturday that the bank has launched a new term deposit under ‘New Corp Gain’ scheme for a fixed period of 330 days with an interest rate of 10 per cent per annum (senior citizens 10.50 per cent).
 
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INSURANCE
 
6)VALUATION of insurance companies is back on the regulator’s radar. The insurance regulator Irda is on course to develop commonly-accepted benchmarks and disclosures to value insurance companies as this would be crucial when Indian partners dilute their shareholding from 74% to 26%. The present regulation requires Indian promoters with a majority shareholding to dilute their stakes through an initial public offering (IPO) at the end of the tenth year of operations.

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MARKETS

7)INVESTORS are likely to keep fresh purchases to the minimum and  book profits at every opportunity this week, as sentiment remains fra- gile on indications of further weakness in India’s economy. With in- flation rising to a 16-year high and expected to move up further, in- vestors fear the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may soon announce more measures to suck out more money from the banking system, which may push up interest rates. As a result, rate-sensitive sectors such as banks and real estate may remain under pressure on bourses this week too.

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8)The National Stock Exchange(NSE) will start holding mock trading in currency futures from later this week. The exchange was given an in-principal approval by the market regulator Sebi to set up a separate segment for currency futures on August 12. The NSE would hold mock trading for about a week.

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9)With crude oil prices softening, global investors are again gradually turning their attention towards emerging economies, including India, the only market among the three other Bric nations, to give  positive returns so far this month. According to an analysis of  MSCI Barra indices, a measure of returns from various stock markets across the world of foreign investors, Indian stocks are the only ones to give positive returns among the four Bric countries till August 15.

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MUTUAL FUNDS
 
10)A volatile equity market has compelled mutual funds to file applications with Sebi to introduce emerging market funds. Kotak MF and Templeton India plan to introduce Kotak Emerging Economies Fund and Templeton India Emerging Markets Fund. The fund houses can invest more than 65% of the corpus in the emerging markets to provide a better return to the investors.

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COMMODITIES
 
11)All the major base metals, energy and bullion futures on the national bourses continued to rule weak on the week ended on Thursday, as futures and spot markets were closed on Friday on account of In- dependence Day. In the overseas markets, gold plunged below $800  an ounce and quoted at $782.27, while silver dropped nearly 11% to  trade at $12.90 an ounce over the last week level of $15.41, prompting more investors to unwind their positions against the dollar, while prices on the Indian bourse remained down by 3% and copper declined as the dollar’s rebound reduced the appeal of commodities after a  six-year boom.

FE

12)Nickel futures prices may continue to rule weak over the next few days mainly on a higher inventory level and poor demand from stainless steel mills. MCX August 2008 contracts were down by 26% to  trade at Rs 789.30 per kg on Thursday over the past two months.

FE

13)Demand for pepper in the world market is expected to pick up from next month once the buyers come back from the summer holidays. Besides, the grinding industry will also start buying for the winter demand and the festival season is already around the corner. Hence the  domestic demand in the coming days is set to increase.

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14)IN LINE with the sharp fall in price in global markets, gold price in India is expected to fall below the Rs 11,000 mark per 10 gram by September, a top industry official said. “Gold prices have witnessed a steep fall in line with the global markets and are likely to drop further and may touch the Rs 10,400 to Rs 10,600 per 10g-mark by September-end,” said Bombay Bullion Association(BBA) president Suresh Hundia on Sunday.

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15)The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), has decided to accept Gold Exchange Traded Funds(ETF) units as collateral from August 18. NCDEX would accept the gold ETF of Benchmark Mutual Fund- Gold Benchmark Exchange Traded Scheme, UTI Mutual Fund – UTI Gold Exchange Traded Fund, Kotak Mutual Fund – Gold Exchange Traded Fund and Reliance Mutual Fund – Gold Exchange Traded Fund, an exchange circular said.

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16)Imposition of commodity transaction tax(CTT) may lower the volume of futures trading in the range of 18-59 per cent depending up on the commodity within a short span of seven days, a study by the confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said. The study said that gold volume will decline 59 per cent, crude may fall by 57 per cent, chana by 56 per cent, copper by 53 per cent, and refined soybean oil may decline by 18 per cent within the specified period of one week since levy.

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REAL ESTATE

17)The Transport Corporation of India(TCI), so far engaged in movement of cargo over land and sea, is planning to venture into the real  estate sector with pan-India presence. “We plan to get into the real estate sector as we have land bank all over the country,” its Executive Director, Mr Vineet Agarwal, told PTI.

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18)Real estate developer and promoter Dimple Chadha Group has announced an ultra-modern township, The canton Greens, with a project costing Rs 200 crore, in Amritsar. Talking to the media, the Vice-President of the company, Mr Sudhir Gulati, said Canton Greens is spread over 100 acres and represents the best township development capabilities. Talking about the project, he said the company has planned 350 residential plots, 52 commercial plots, five parks and one community club approved by the Government.

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COMMUNICATIONS

19)Bharti Airtel, India’s largest private telco, on Sunday said that its customer base had crossed the 75-million mark. The subscriber figure includes customers from all business units of the company- mobile services, telemedia services and enterprise services. With this, Bharti Airtel has further cemented in position as the fourth largest in-country mobile operator in the world behind China Mobile, China Unicom and AT&T, the company said in a statement.

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BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING
 
20)After making a recent strategic BPO acquisition in the UK, India’s fifth largest IT services company HCL Technologies is all set to tap the Asian market to service its US and European clients. The company is expected to set up a delivery centre for its BPO operations in Asia, either way of an acquisition or on its own, an official source close to the development told FE. In Asia, besides 11 delivery centres in India, HCL Technologies has only one delivery centre in Malaysia.

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

21)EUROPE has been heralded as the next big stop for the Indian IT outsourcing industry. However, there has been a visible slowdown from this continent for majority of the Indian IT services majors with incremental revenue steadily declining in the last four quarters.

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INTERNATIONAL
 
22)AS THE US economy appears more than ever linked to the health of  the housing market, analysts see no end to falling prices or recovery  in the sector before 2009. After several years of a sizzling boom, housing prices in the US have fallen for the past year-and-a-half, according to the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller index. In May, prices fell a record 16% from a year ago.
 
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23)SWITZERLAND’S biggest bank UBS, which has lost billions in the US subprime crisis, would return to profitability next year, its chairman Peter Kurer said in remarks published on Sunday,” Kurer said in  an interview with Swiss Sunday newspaper. One of the worst-hit banks by the subprime crisis, UBS has written down some $42.5 billion on its subprime-related assets.

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