HEADLINES (12 SEPTEMBER 2008)

GENERAL

1)With the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) approving the exemption for India, the government said it had started dialogue with overseas companies for setting up nuclear power plants. “In view of the public in- terest in developments relating to our civil nuclear initiative, I can inform you that following the NSG statement, which enables civil nu- clear cooperation by NSG members with India, the government is taking steps to realise commercial cooperation with foreign partners in the field,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said in a statement.

Hindu
 
ECONOMY

2)INFLATION continued it’s downward movement and slipped to 12.1% for the week ended August 30 from 12.34% in the week before that. This is the third successive week inflation has declined. But it still remains way above the 3.2% level a year ago and more than double the 5.5% target set by RBI. With crude prices continuing to drop and effects of the monetary tightening measure setting in, economists are expecting inflation to stabilise around these levels before starting the southward journey.

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CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

3)The public sector oil company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd has marked its entry into the ethanol business by tying up with Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd to set up an integrated sugar mill in Maharashtra. The two companies on Thursday informed the stock ex- changes that they have signed an agreement to promote a joint venture company for the sugar mill with associated facilities for producing ethanol.

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4)Indian Hotels Company Ltd(IHCL), that runs Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, launched its third brand, The Gateway Hotel(upscale brand), on Thursday in addition to the already existing brands including Taj(luxury) and Ginger (economy). The group will be soon launching a fourth brand as well.

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5)Avesthagen, a knowledge-based life sciences company, is betting big on the bio-similar segment. The company has 11 bio-similars in the pipeline and plans to launch the first product by 2009. The Bangalore-based company expects this segment to contribute about 50% of its revenues by 2014. It is also in talks with various companies in Europe for possible partnerships to market these products.

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6)GMR Energy – a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Ltd – hopes to invest up to Rs 10,000 crore over the next five-seven years to set up 2,000-3,000 MWe nuclear power capacity in the country. “We are looking for partners for setting up nuclear plants. We are in talks with equipment and fuel suppliers in France, US and Korea. In next 6-12 months time our plans will be firmed up,” Mr Avinash R Shah, Executive Vice-President of GMR Energy, told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference on Thursday.

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MONEY & BANKING
 
7)The rupee continued its downward against the dollar on Thursday, tracking global currencies which weakened against the dollar. Dollar-buying by foreign banks to gain arbitrage in the non deliverable forward(NDF) market also weakened the rupee, said dealers. The rupee opened lower at 45.30/32 and fell to a two-year low of 45.57. It strengthened slightly to 45.41/42, as public sector bank sold dollars. The rupee finally ended trade at 45.56/57, against the previous close of 45.10/11.

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8)The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) on Thursday in its approach paper on the website has suggested that no charges to be levied for inward RTGS/NEFT/ECS transactions. The central bank has asked for public comments on the issue of charges to be levied by banks for outstation cheque collection and electronic payment products.

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INSURANCE

9)HIDDEN charges in unit linked insurance plans will soon be history. The charge structure under Ulips is set to become more transparent with the regulator pushing the industry into a uniform nomenclature on charges. The Life Insurance Council – an industry association has taken up the issue of introducing a standard nomenclature for all charges across life insurance firms.

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10)Aviva Life Insurance Company India said on Thursday its founders have infused fresh capital to the extent of Rs 344 crore to boost its future growth plans. With this infusion, the firm’s total capital base has gone up to Rs 1,348 crore, it said in a statement.

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MARKETS

11)BEARS tightened their stranglehold on Thursday, with benchmark indices extending their losses for the third successive session. There could be some breather for the bulls on Friday, as inflation continued to show signs of easing. Still, bulls will be fighting with their backs to the wall, given the sustained weakness in the rupee and the nervous mood in world markets. The 30-share Sensex shed 338.32 points to close at 14,324.29, down 2.3%. With this, the index has shed around 600 points in the last three sessions. The broader 50-share Nifty ended below the psychological 4300 mark, down 109.95 points to close at 4,290.30.

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12)THE insurance industry emerged as the largest investor in the stock market during 2007-08, surpassing FIIs, riding on the huge popularity of unit-linked insurance products(ULIPs), according to the Life Insurance Council, an apex organisation of all life insurance companies in India. The council in a briefing to the media on Thursday said, the net investment by life insurance companies in equity markets during 2007-08 was Rs 55,000 crore, against an investment of Rs 53,400 crore by FIIs.

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13)Too much of paperwork in terms of agreements with clients to avail the direct market access facility (DMA) may well slow down the pace of algorithm trading in India, say institutional investors. Algorithm or program trading, is the backbone of DMA that will help players capitalise on the available arbitrage or hedging opportunities. FIIs who were given the green light by Sebi in April this year to avail DMA facility, are finding the going slow, due to the time taken to get their end clients to sign up on additional agreements. Apart from this, FIIs also need additional approval from the exchange for the algorithm they will use for trading.

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IPO

14)The public issue of 20 Microns that closed on Thursday was subscribed 4.29 times, according to NSE. The issue received bids for 1.87-crore shares as against 43.51-lakh shares-on offer in the price band of Rs 50-55. The retail category has been subscribed more than 10 times with bids received for 1.53-crore shares.

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RIGHTS ISSUE

15)SEBI has proposed that in a rights share issue, the registrar will credit the rights entitlement (RE) in the given ratio into the demat accounts of eligible shareholders. Following this, the rights issue would open for subscription and renunciation/trading of RE electroni- cally through the stock-exchange platform. This proposal is part of a paper on the proposed procedure for rights issue for electronic trading of rights entitlement, issued by the regulator on Thursday. Rights entitlement would be given a separate ISIN for it to trade on the exchange.

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COMMODITIES

16)Turmeric arrivals in Nizamabad spot market dropped by 16.8 percent to 50,317 tonnes in first eight months of 2008 compared to the same period a year ago, an official said on Thursday. Nizamabad is the main spot market for the commodity in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India’s biggest producer.

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17)Gold prices touched nearly eight months low by falling Rs 295 per 10 gm in New Delhi on Thursday on panic selling sparked by reports of the precious metal tumbling in the overseas markets. In the Delhi bullion market, gold fell by Rs 295 to trade at Rs 11,350 per 10 gm in evening trading, a level last seen on January 21. Silver followed the same sentiments and fell to record a loss of Rs 550 at Rs 18,000 per kg.

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18)Pepper futures market continued its downward trend on Thursday also on bearish activities and on reports of prices easing in other origins – Vietnam and Brazil. September contract dropped by Rs 133 a quintal to Rs 12,526. October and November fell by Rs 139 and Rs 155 a quintal to Rs 12,775 and Rs 13,001 respectively on NCDEX. All the three contracts fell to below the spot price of Rs 13,400 a quintal for MG 1.

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REAL ESTATE

19)THERE’S good news for people of Indian origin(PIO). The government plans to allow PIOs to buy property in India without the mandatory RBI approval and without the hassles of producing a valid visa. The current Foreign Exchange Management Act(Fema) guidelines are being amended to remove a ‘gender bias’ whereby non-residents whose mothers or grandmothers were Indian citizens will be allowed to buy real estate in the country. The existing rules permit only those PIOs, whose fa- thers or grandfathers were Indian citizens, to buy property in India. The proposal, mooted by the ministry of overseas Indian affairs, seeks to make buying of real estate by overseas Indians hassle-free and comes as a breather for real estate firms, which can now expect more buyers from abroad at a time when domestic demand is ebbing.

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20)DHFL Venture Capital, the asset management arm of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL), is raising $250 million for its second international realty fund. The fund will close in two tranches, with the first tranche of $100 million expected to close in two months. However, the company has not set any time-frame for raising the entire corpus of the fund.

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COMMUNICATIONS

21)Bharti Airtel on Thursday launched an ‘innovation fund’ for telecommunication start-ups in the country, which is a first of its kind from any telecom company not only in the country but even globally. The initial corpus of the fund is Rs 200 crore and the fund isn’t a separate structure fund, meaning it’s not a venture capital fund.

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

22)The sharp decline in oil prices and the easing inflationary pressures have raised hopes of the Indian IT industry to look for better prospects in the second-half of the current fiscal. “The price of crude oil has come down and it would have a tremendous impact in creating new growth impulse,” said Mr. T V Mohandas Pai, head of education and research and member of the board, Infosys Technologies Ltd.

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23)INFOSYS Technologies on Thursday said that it would aggressively pursue large IT outsourcing deals in India, especially from the government sector, as the company tries to derisk its “global deli- very model,” which relies heavily on overseas markets. The multi- year deals would typically be worth between Rs 500 crore and Rs 1,500 crore each and involve strategic outsourcing HR Binod, Senior VP and head of Infosys’ India Business Unit said.

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INTERNATIONAL

24)Brent crude oil declined below $100 a barrel even as hurricane Ike headed across the Gulf of Mexico for the refineries along the Texas coast. Brent crude for October settlement declined $1.17, or 1.2 per cent, to $97.80 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices touched $97.58 on Thursday, the lowest since March 5.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE BROWSE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES.

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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