05 August 2008

GENERAL

1)BUOYED by its success in placing eight nano-satellites in prescribed orbits, the Indian Speace Research Organisation (ISRO) is hoping to stage another feat by launching 100 nano-sats at one go. Scientists at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, are preparing elaborate drawings to make this event happen some two years from now. The ISRO has already intimated universities world wide about the project and has extended an open invite to any varsity to take part in the historic venture.

Indian Express
 
ECONOMY
 
2)Inflation can drop below 8 per cent if confluence of factors like fall in global crude oil followed by a good monsoon work, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan said. “You can get a much lower rate(below 8 per cent) of inflation, if there is confluence of favourable factors such as moderation in  oil prices and so on,”Rangarajan said.

BS

CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

3)Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd(BHEL) on Monday announced it has bagged an order worth Rs 200 crore for a hydro-electric power project in Vietnam.  The contract, which marks the equipment manufacturer’s entry into the Vietnamese market, was awarded by State-owned Nam Chien Hydropower, BHEL said in a press release.

BL

4)INDIA’S biggest power utility firm National Thermal Power Corporation(NTPC) is readying a war chest of $3 billion for global buyout. The company is learnt to be in negotiations to buy at least one coal mine in Indonesia and is taking long lease of another.

ET

5)AMP Capital Finance Mauritius has picked up 29% stake in Gayatri Infra Ventures(GIVL) – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gayatri Projects – for Rs 100 crore.  AMP will also look at a further equity injection of  Rs 100 crore in future.  This is the first investment from AMP’s new fund, Asia Grand Infrastructure Fund, that focuses on Indian and China.

ET

6)INDIA’S top aluminium producer Hindalco Industries is learnt to be considering downsizing its Rs 5,000 crore rights issue by 15% to 20% because of the uncertain state of the capital markets.  Instead the company will generate more funds internally, said a banker with direct knowledge of the rights issue.

ET
 
MONEY & BANKING

7)The rupee closed about 13 paise lower against the dollar on Monday due to dollar buying by oil companies and news of Iran going ahead with its nuclear programme. The rupee opened at 42.45/46 and touched a high of 42.34.  However, following this, the rupee moved down continuously and closed at 42.48/49, lower from the previous close of  42.35/36.

BL

INSURANCE

8)STATE-OWNED non-life insurance companies have lost further market share in the first quarter of 2007-08, as the industry slowly adjusts to a free-pricing market.  The slower growth among state-own-ed companies has resulted in ICICI Lombard displacing public sector Oriental Insurance to become the fourth-largest insurer in India.

ET

9)HDFC Standard Life has launched its unit-linked wealth maximiser plus, a single-premium investment-cum-protection plan with a minimum premium of Rs 1 lakh. It offers flexibility of investing in five funds money plus, bond opportunities, large-cap, mid-cap and manager’s fund.  The fund’s key features include a one-time investment at the start and cover till the age of 99 years, a release stated.

ET

10)Aviva Life Insurance has launched traditional pension plan and money back plan with periodical lumpsum benefits.  Secure pension plan has been designed with the objective to encourage regular savings for policyholders and ensure pension during the retired life.  The money back plan is the only product in the market with policy term options of 12,15,18 and 21 years.  Both policies are endowment with profit plans.

ET

MARKETS

11)After opening on a weak note in view of uncertain crude oil prices and weak cues from the US and Asian markets, key equity indices ended the day almost on a flat note with negative bias. The 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) Sensex lost 78.82 points or 0.54% before closing at 14,577.87 points.  The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) slid 18.20 points or 0.41% before ending at 4,395.35 points.

FE

12)Brokers are readying themselves to enter the exchange-traded currency futures segment in September, even as the Securities and Exchange Board of India(Sebi) is in the process of putting together operational guidelines to kickstart the process.  Several big brokerage houses, including Religare, Motilal Oswal and Karvy, have expressed their intention to offer currency futures broking to the National Stock Exchange(NSE).

BS

13)The BSE mid-cap index has marginally outperformed the Sensex in the past month as investors went bargain hunting.  During this period, the index rose 9 per cent, while the Sensex gained 8.35 per cent. On Monday when the Sensex was down 0.54 per cent, the mid-cap index ended the day up 1.77 per cent from its previous close.

BL

14)THE restrictions imposed on investments in Indian equities through participatory notes(PNs) last year has those foreign investors, who prefer to stay away from the regulator glare to tap other routes for investment in the local market.  In the last few months, these investors, including global hedge funds, have been increasingly using the equity swap – an unregulated over-the-counter(OTC) derivative contract – to take exposure to the Indian market.

ET

IPO

15)State-run NHPC has convened a board meeting on Tuesday to approve the IPO and with 5 per cent disinvestment of government stake and may become the first public sector unit to go public after Left parties withdrew support from the UPA government.

BS

MUTUAL FUNDS

16)Choppy markets and a dent on assets under management (AUM) have forced the mutual fund (MF) industry to look beyond the metro cities. They are now on the prowl to grab a share of the semi-urban and rural markets across the country.  In a bid to expand its reach in the country, UTI Mutual Fund(UTI MF) is going to set up over 650 outlets in the next 6-8 months.  Of these 650 outlets, 200 will be UTI Financial Centres(UTIFCs) and the other 450 will be UTI franchise offices in all major districts of the country.  Also joining the fray are Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund(BSLMF) and Reliance Mutual Fund (RMF)  which are set to open 100 outlets by March 2009 to promote their mutual fund schemes.

FE

17)Banking funds were amongst the best performing funds in July after a long run of reporting declining NAVs.  Banking stocks rose when the UPA Government won the trust vote without the support of the  Left parties, which pushed up expectations of reforms in the financial sector.

BL

COMMODITIES

18)Commodity exchanges, regulators and analysts have expressed fears that the imposition of the commodity Transaction Tax(CTT) would boost the parallel illegal market known as dabba trade.  They opine that the CTT would make transactions at the commodity exchanges expensive  and force traders to use illegal routes.  Dabba trading is done outside the purview of commodity exchanges by brokers who route their clients sales or buy orders.  All the transactions are made in cash.  The brokers match and execute orders, thereby saving official transaction costs.  Dabba trading in equity and commodities have been banned in the country.  “It would make the transaction on the commodity exchanges expensive, BC Khatua, chairman, Forward Markets Commission, told FE. “CTT may put enormous pressure on the viability of the commodity exchanges,” Ashok Mittal, CEO, Karvy Commodities, said.

FE

19)The Centre may not extend the ban on the futures trading of four agricultural commodities beyond September.  For controlling climbing inflation, the government had suspended futures trading in soyoil, potato, rubber and chickpea for a duration of four months in May. “There is no plan to extend the ban on futures trading of agricultural commodities,” B C Khatua, Chairman, Forward Markets Commission told FE.

FE

20)Snapping out its four-day losing spell, gold prices today recovered Rs 75 to Rs 12,750 per 10 gm in New Delhi on emergence of buying o stockists and retailers.  Standard gold and ornaments met with fresh demand and rose by Rs 75 each to Rs 12,750 and Rs 12,600 per 10 gm. Sovereign followed suit and gained Rs 25 at Rs 10,600 per piece of eight gram.

BS
 
BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING

21)IN ITS largest acquisition to date, the Essar Group-owned Aegis Communications has bought Philippines-based BPO PeopleSupport for $250 million.  This is the BPO firm’s eleventh acquisition in the last three years.  Aegis has signed a definitive agreement to buy
the Nasdaq-listed firm, the company’s CEO and MD Aparup Sengupta told reporters on a conference call.  Following the acquisition, PeopleSupport will delist and the Essar group will own 100% of the entity.

ET
 
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

22)Wipro Infotech, the India and Middle-East IT business of Wipro, on Monday said it has bagged an outsourcing contract to provide IT infrastructure support for all the stores, distribution centres, regional and zonal offices of Spencer’s Retail.  The five-year deal also covers future store-roll-outs, a Wipro Infotech statement said, but it did not provide the value of the contract.

ET
 
INTERNATIONAL

23)Crude oil fell on speculation that Tropical Storm Edouard won’t cause significant disruption to offshore oil facilities as it approaches the coast of Texas.  Crude oil for September delivery fell $1.10, or 0.9 per cent, to $124 a barrel at 9:07 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BL

24)The US Federal Reserve is expected to hold interest rates steady on Tuesday, acknowledging financial conditions remain strained, but making clear it is still worried about inflation despite a recent pullback in energy prices.

BS
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE BROWSE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES.
Karvy Consultants Ltd       www.karvy.com
                            www.khojhyderabad.com
                            www.indiacorporateadvisor.com
                            www.karvycomtrade.com (Commodities)
KARVY Global Services Ltd   www.KARVYGlobal.com
KARVY Realty (India) Limited www.karvyrealty.com
Economic Times              www.economictimes.com
The Financial Express       www.financialexpress.com
Business Line               www.businessline.in
Business Standard           www.business-standard.com
The Times of India          www.timesofindia.com
The Hindu                   www.hindu.com
Deccan Chronicle            www.deccan.com
The New Indian Express      www.newindpress.com

04 August 2008

GENERAL

1)The 15th SAARC Summit concluded in Colombo on Sunday, expressing deep concern over the serious threat posed by terrorism to the peace, stability and security of the region and emphasising the need for the “strongest possible cooperation” in fighting terror and trans-national organised crime, especially in the area of information exchange.

Hindu

ECONOMY

2)The slowdown in the industrial growth is a short-term phenomenon and the country is expected to record a 10% growth in industrial production during FY09 as against of 8.3% in the previous fiscal, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy(CMIE) has said.

FE

3)THE government has accorded navratna status to the public sector firm, Shipping Corporation of India(SCI). Two other PSUs, Oil India and Container Corporation of India(Concor), are next in the line to get the status of navratna. The status would provide greater financial autonomy to these PSUs while taking commercial decisions.

ET
      
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

4)India Inc on Sunday lauded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government on securing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approval for a safeguard agreement for implementing the India-nuclear deal. While the apex industry chambers hailed the milestone, they asked the government to move quickly to reap the opportunities coming with recognition of India’s nuclear capabilities. “To reap the benefits of opportunities which are in the offing, India will have to move very quickly and start working in earnest as even absorption of technology requires significant capabilities,” industry body Ficci secretary general Amit Mitra said. Assocham went to the extent of saying that with the signing of the deal, India can anticipate minimum $40 billion of investment from nuclear power countries, including France.

TOI

5)L&T ECC is not unduly worried about reports of a slowdown in the economy. Anticipating no slack in demand in the long-term, the diversified conglomerate feels that there is no slowdown in infrastruc- ture despite the fluctuations. The six-decade-old company has been registering a compounded annual growth rate of 25% to 30%.It clocked a turnover of Rs 30,500 crore last year. “We have an order book of Rs 36,000 crore, equal to two years of average business, although, some hydro power projects would be spread over five years,” said K V Rangaswami, L&T board member and president, ECC division.

ET

6)Power equipment major Areva T&D India Ltd, part of the French nuclear giant Areva, has capex plans of Rs 500 crore for the current financial year. In the next financial year, it would be investing ano- ther Rs 200 crore.  The company is keen to expand its footprint in the rapidly expanding power transmission and distribution sector.

BL

7)Hyderabad-based Suryachakra Power Venture Private Limited has entered into a joint venture with MAN Solar Millennium GmBH of Germany for developing concentrated solar power projects(CSPPs) in India. The joint venture company named Suryachakra MSM solar India Private Limited proposes to set up CSPPs of 5 Mw each in Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh at a total cost of Rs 420 crore over the next two years.

BS

MONEY & BANKING

8)After more than half a dozen banks have hiked their lending rates, at least four banks are likely to raise their rates this week in the face of tight monetary policy announced by Reserve Bank. Leading lenders like Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and Union Bank could be among the public sector banks that are set to hike their rates by 0.5-0.75%.

FE

9)NON-Banking finance companies(NBFCs),which do not accept depo-sits, will now have more time to meet the Reserve Bank of India’s(RBI) requirements on capital adequacy norms. The central bank has extended its earlier deadline for these players to meet CRAR(capital-to-risk-assets ratio) requirements. These companies now need to achieve a 12% CRAR ratio by March 2009 against RBI’s earlier circular, asking them to meet these levels with immediate effect. On similar lines, they need to reach a CRAR level of 15% by March 2010 as against the earlier date of April 1, 2009. The central bank,which had imposed stringent guidelines for deposit-taking NBFCs few years ago, is now bringing even non-deposit taking NBFCs under sufficient control due to underlying systematic risks.

ET

10)Public sector lender Punjab & Sind Bank is set to dilute 25-30 per cent stake through private placement of equity by October for raising Rs 1,000 crore to finance its expansion. The Delhi-head-quartered bank had favoured private placement over an initial public offer due to the stock market’s volatility, a source familiar with the development said.

BS

11)Bank of Rajasthan, will issue bonus shares in the ratio of 1:5 (one share for every five shares held), the bank said in a press release. Shareholders of the bank approved the bonus in the 65th annual general meeting in Udaipur, on August 2. The bank also decleared a dividend of five per cent for the fiscal ended March 31.

BL

PENSION

12)The four Left parties may no longer be allies of the Congress party led United Progressive Alliance, but their concerns on the pension  Bill will still be addressed by the government. Officials said the finance ministry, which is sending the final Bill for law ministry clearance, has decided to bar fund managers from investing overseas. Also, individuals will be allowed the option to invest their entire corpus in debt instruments.

BS

MARKETS

13)With the completion of the first quarter results season last week and in the absence of any major trigger on the home front, domestic markets are expected to look West and at their Asian counterparts for direction next week. Dealers, however, said the crude oil prices and inflation that weighed on the market till recently, will continue to determine the market direction for some more time now. However, the biggest event of the week is the US Fed’s crucial meeting on Tuesday.

FE

COMMODITIES
 
14)Crude oil futures on the national bourse continued to remain weak last week after witnessing more than a $22 fall in prices. Declining levels of demand are still in the forefront of the market. Gold futures prices were range bound last week, as falling crude oil prices weighed on gold prices. The base metals pack traded on a mixed note as a variety of factors influenced the markets. Gold prices fell below $900 an ounce for the first time after a month. In the initial party of the week, firm financial markets and strength in the dollar lead to a heavy sell off in precious metals. A major factor that moved base metal prices was the dollar movement as there was a list of economic data releases in the last week. Copper prices in the international markets have managed to hold strenth around $8,000 levels on the back of news that Group Mexico has not decided a date to re-start its mining operations.

FE

15)The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange(NCDEX) will launch coriander seed futures on August 11 and the contracts will expire in October, December and April, an exchange official said on Saturday. “Our contract is in line with the expectations and needs of coriander traders in spot markets such as Kota and Ramgunj. We hope our exper- tise in farm commodity futures will attract market participants to our contract,” Unupom Kaushik, chief business officer, NCDEX said. The Coriander seed contract’s lot size will be 10 tonnes, and the main delivery centre will be Kota in Rajasthan.

BS             

16)Silver has beaten gold in returns, with the white metal giving returns of 30 per cent against 14 per cent returns from gold in 2007. The white metal is still maintaining a significant lead this year. The average return from investment in silver has grown by about 18 per cent since January this year.

BS

17)Indian pepper futures market moved up at the weekend on strong domestic demand that in turn has made it out-priced in the world market. The fundamentals continued to remain strong. The Indian futures market is negatively affected by the tug of war between the bulls and bears creating uncertainty in the prices. “We were having some good opportunity last month but now we are loosing ground,” market sources told Business Line. On the other hand, the festival season is coming up, increasing the domestic demand.

BL

18)The sharp fall in chilli arrivals in the Guntur spot markets and rising export demand may push up chilli prices in the short-term. According to market estimates, stock with farmers will exhaust within a fortnight. Arrivals from the new crop are expected to hit the market only in February.

BL

REAL ESTATE

19)HDFC Property Ventures is investing $20-25 million in South India’s largest central business district(CBD) mall developed by Nitesh Estates in Bangalore. The move probably marks the $900- million HDFC Property Ventures’ foray into retail infrastructure in a rather tight market environment, sources said. HDFC Property Ven- tures will pick up around 20-25% stake in the 6-lakh sq ft Nitesh Mall, which is being designed by Settle-based Callison. Nitesh Mall, which is the Bangalore-headquartered real estate firm’s first retail play, is estimated to be a Rs 300-crore project.

ET

20)Essar Realty Holdings-the real estate arm of Essar group-has won a bid for building a Rs 500 crore five-star hotel, utility centre and a multiplex at the upcoming Multimodal International Hub Airport at Nagpur. The realty firm has also formed a joint venture with the US-based hospitality group Accor Hospitality to develop and manage the hotel project.

ET

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

21)Indian IT firms have started mining smaller clients with more fervour given that the revenue accruring from their top clients has been declining due to the US slowdown and the sub-prime crisis. Consider this. Revenue accruring from the top clients(top most, top 5 and top 10) for the leading IT firms by revenue – Tata Consultancy Services(TCS), Infosys Technologies, Wipro Technologies, Satyam Computer Services and HCL Technologies – dropped by anywhere between 0.2 per cent and 4 per cent over the last two quarters(January- March ’08 and April-June ’08). The top clients were not able to ramp up their budget since a majority are from the BFSI segment. While the US accounts for 40-60 per cent of their revenues, the BFSI segment( which is bearing the brunt of the sub-prime crisis) accounts for up to 40 per cent of the revenues. However, mining smaller clients requires great attention and management focus. However, managements of the top tier firms tend to focus their bandwidth on clients that can return higher revenues, so the focus is almost always on Fortune 500-type firms, note analysts.
                                  
BS
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE BROWSE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES.

Karvy Consultants Ltd    www.karvy.com
              www.khojhyderabad.com
              www.indiacorporateadvisor.com
              www.karvycomtrade.com (Commodities)
KARVY Global Services Ltd  www.KARVYGlobal.com
KARVY Realty (India) Limited www.karvyrealty.com
Economic Times       www.economictimes.com
The Financial Express    www.financialexpress.com
Business Line        www.businessline.in
Business Standard      www.business-standard.com
The Times of India     www.timesofindia.com
The Hindu          www.hindu.com
Deccan Chronicle      www.deccan.com
The New Indian Express   www.newindpress.com

2 August 2008

GENERAL

1)India took a big stride on Friday to take its place at the nuclear high table.  The India-specific safeguards agreement sailed through the meeting of the IAEA’s 35-member board of governors in Vienna. With this, India is closer to securing nuclear fuel for its reactors and dismantling the technology denial regime against it.

TOI

ECONOMY

2)FINANCE minister P Chidambaram on Friday said he expects interest rates to decline from their current high levels over the next six months to a year. “Interest rates will not remain very high for  ever and for ever.  We will get out of this trough and go back to moderate to normal interest rates in six months to one year,” he said at the inauguration of the 1000th and 1001st branches of Corporation Bank in Bangalore.

ET

3)THE next time you buy an insurance policy or open a post office savings account, you may have to quote your PAN number compulsorily. Taking forward its budget announcement, the government has kicked off inter-ministerial consultations in this regard. In line with the finance minister P Chidambaram’s budget 2008-09 announcement, the finance ministry has sought views of the concerned departments – banking, insurance and postal – on making compulsorily permanent account number(PAN) for these instruments.

ET
 
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

4)FMCG major Emami is eyeing acquisition of companies in the UK and South Africa in personal and healthcare spheres.  On the other hand, the company is also waiting for a notice from Sebi before it can make an open offer of Rs 7,315 a share to Zandu Pharmaceuticals share holders as it recently increased its stake in Zandu Pharmaceutical Works to 27.5 per cent from four per cent earlier.

BS

MONEY & BANKING

5)The rupee gained almost 20 paise against the dollar on Friday thanks to gains in the domestic equity market and lower oil prices.  Rumours that oil bonds may be restored also helped the rupee gain, said a dealer with a private sector bank.  The rupee opened at 42.56/58 and appreciated on constant dollar-selling and closed at 48.35/36, against the previous close of 42.5750.

BL

6)The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has charted a plan to give a major push to the electronics payment system by making it reach a level of 50% by volume and 95% by value of the aggregate payment system transactions by March 2009.

FE

7)FEARING defaults and taking a bet that interest rates would soften in the next one year, some state-owned banks are reluctant to pass on the rate hike to existing customers.  Their objective is to ensure that default risks are minimised and it is also a bet that inflation will ease and interest rates will fall in a year.  Canara Bank is considering a one-year freeze on interest rates for existing home loan and personal borrowers at the prevailing level.  Another large nationalised bank – Bank of India – is also looking at not raising rates on home loans depending on the repayment capacity of borrowers.

ET

8)ING Vysya Bank on Friday raised its benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) by 50 basis points to 16.25% to offset the increase in key short-term lending rate and the reserve requirement announced by the Reserve Bank of India early this week.

FE

9)Tata Capital Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Limited, plans to enter the booming home loan market by March 2009, its Managing Director and CEO, Mr Praveen P Kadle, has said.  “Although we will be a late entrant in this market, we see good business opportunities in offering home loans. We hope to start this by March next year”, Mr Kadle said in New Delhi.

BL     
                                                                 
MARKETS

10)AFTER languishing in early trades, the market sentiment revived on hopes that the Indo-US nuclear deal would go ahead.  Supported by  capital goods and power stocks, benchmark indices rose, as it be- came increasingly evident that the deal will get the IAEA green signal. Significantly, Indian institutional investors bought equities worth Rs 396 crore while foreign portfolio funds, or FIIs were net sellers by Rs 587 crore on Friday.  The market witnessed early morning selling pressure, following weak global markets to gain over 600 points from the day’s low.  While market participants feel there’s a cautious undertone to the rally, they say that if the price of crude softens confidence will be somewhat restored.  Concerns over a slowing economy, high inflation and higher interest rates, receded to the background as the 30-share Sensex ended Friday at 14,656.69, a gain of 300.94 points, or 2.1%, while the NSE Nifty rose 80.6 points, or 1.86%, to close at 4413.55.

ET

11)ESSAR OIL surged  5.89 per cent to Rs 198.70 after announcing a net profit of Rs 29.93 crore in the first quarter.  The company had reported a net loss of Rs 5.67 crore in the first quarter last year. The scrip opened at Rs 189.65, touched a high of Rs 199.90 and a low of Rs 184 during the day.  A total of 3,339,031 shares changed  hands at the BSE.  The stock has risen 7.05 per cent in the last one month.

BS

12)ISPAT Industries surged 4.41 per cent to Rs 27.20 on the back of its first quarter results.  The company witnessed a 243.2 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 28.73 crore.  The scrip opened at Rs 25.75 and touched a high of Rs 27.45 and a low of Rs 25.35 in intra-day trading.  A total of 20,466,466 shares changed hands on the BSE. The stock has risen 19.20 per cent since the last one month.

BS

IPO

13)THE BSNL board has cleared the company’s proposed $10 billion listing, a top department of telecom (DoT) official told ET on Friday. 

ET
 
COMMODITIES

14)Gold slipped in Europe on Friday as weaker oil prices and a slightly firmer dollar dampened buying interest, but trading was cautious ahead of key US non-farm payrolls data later in the session.  Platinum dropped up to 2.5 per cent after US economic data came in weaker than expected on Thursday, fuelling fears slowing growth could dent demand for the industrial metal.  Gold fell to $909.20/910.20 an ounce at 0932 GMT from $913.45/914.65 an ounce late in New York on Thursday, when it posted a volatile session, trading in a wide $20 range.

BL

15)Pepper futures market on Friday moved up on bullish sentiments and tight supply position.  On NCDEX, Aug contract moved up by Rs 102 a   quintal to close at Rs 14,316 on Friday, while on NMCE it went up by Rs 83 a quintal to close at Rs 14,155.  Other contracts on NCDEX increased by Rs 40 to Rs 199 a quintal.

BL

16)Gold fell for the third straight day losing Rs 55 at Rs 12,695 per 10 gm on Friday, triggered by stockists’ sales and a weak global trend.  Precious metal prices dropped following low demand in the domestic market.  A rise in equity markets also led to the decline in gold prices.  Standard gold and ornaments, which lost Rs 250 in the last two trading sessions, fell by Rs 55 to Rs 12,695 and Rs 12,545 per 10 gm respectively.  Sovereign, however, remained flat at Rs 10,600 per piece of eight grams.

BS

COMMUNICATIONS

17)INDIA’S 300-million mobile subscribers have reasons to cheer.  From mid-2009, they will be able to access third-generation(3G) services such as high-speed internet, interactive gaming and instant downloads of movies, video clips and music on their mobile phones.  And that’s not all.  They will also have the option to change their telecom operator without having to change their mobile numbers.  After nearly two years of debate and controversy, the government on Friday finally announced its plans for a global auction of 3G radio frequencies, a move that could fetch it billions of dollars.  The government also announced the introduction of mobile number portability(MNP) as well as a separate auction for broadband wireless access(BWA) services spectrum, popularly called WiMAX.

ET

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

18)COGNIZANT Technology Solutions has reported a 26% growth in its net profit on the back of higher revenues.  At the same time the company lowered its guidance for the second half of the year by at least 5%, taking into account the impact of a slowing economy on  its customers.  For the quarter to June 30,2008, the Nasdaq-listed IT and BPO services provider posted a net profit of $103.9 million from $82.3 million during the same period last year.

ET

19)HCL Technologies, on Friday posted a 58.8% sequential and 71% year-on-year decline in net profit for the quarter ended June 30,2008. Net profit dropped to Rs 141 crore on the back of a forex loss of nearly Rs 300 crore. Consolidated revenue for the quarter grew 11.5% sequentially and 34.5% year-on-year to Rs 2168.8 crore on the back of volume growth, largely in the US and Europe.  The company declared a 150% dividend for the quarter.

ET

20)Allsec Technologies is to acquire the call centre business of Delhi based i2i Telesource Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount.  The acquisition will help the Chenna based company increase its domestic call centre business from the present 10 per cent of the total revenues (Rs 19.25 crore for the quarter ended June 30) to 30 per cent, according to Mr Ramamoorthi Jagadish, co-founder, Allsec, which provides ‘integrated contact management services’.

BL

INTERNATIONAL

21)Oil eased to near $123 a barrel on Friday, extending losses from a day earlier, as sluggish US economic data pointed to further erosion of oil demand in the world’s top energy consumer.  US light crude for September delivery fell 92 cents to $123.16 a barrel by  1117 GMT, off lows of $122.10 and on top of a $2.69 fall in the  previous session.

BS

22)General Motors reported a second-quarter loss of $15.5 billion, the third biggest in its 100-year history, because of plunging US sales and the declining value of truck leases.  The shares fell as much as 11 per cent.

BS

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE BROWSE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES.

Karvy Consultants Ltd       www.karvy.com
                            www.khojhyderabad.com
                            www.indiacorporateadvisor.com
                            www.karvycomtrade.com (Commodities)
KARVY Global Services Ltd   www.KARVYGlobal.com
KARVY Realty (India) Limited www.karvyrealty.com
Economic Times              www.economictimes.com
The Financial Express       www.financialexpress.com
Business Line               www.businessline.in
Business Standard           www.business-standard.com
The Times of India          www.timesofindia.com
The Hindu                   www.hindu.com
Deccan Chronicle            www.deccan.com
The New Indian Express      www.newindpress.com

1 August 2008

GENERAL

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.

Hindu

ECONOMY

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.

ET

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.

FE

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.

BL

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.

ET

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.

FE

INSURANCE

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.

FE

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.

FE
 
MARKETS

 
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.

BS

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.

BS

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.

BS

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.

ET
 
STOCK SPLIT
 
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.

BL

MUTUAL FUNDS

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.

BS

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.

BL
 
CORPORATE SCORE

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.

ET

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%.

ET

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.

BL
                      
COMMODITIES

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.

FE

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.

BL

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.

BS

REAL ESTATE
 
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.

BS
 
COMMUNICATIONS

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.

BS
 
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

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.

BL

INTERNATIONAL
 
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.

BL

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.

BL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE BROWSE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES.
Karvy Consultants Ltd        www.karvy.com
                             www.khojhyderabad.com
                             www.indiacorporateadvisor.com
                             www.karvycomtrade.com (Commodities)
KARVY Global Services Ltd    www.KARVYGlobal.com
KARVY Realty (India) Limited  www.karvyrealty.com
Economic Times               www.economictimes.com
The Financial Express        www.financialexpress.com
Business Line                www.businessline.in
Business Standard            www.business-standard.com
The Times of India           www.timesofindia.com
The Hindu                    www.hindu.com
Deccan Chronicle            www.deccan.com
The New Indian Express       www.newindpress.com