1)It’s all about an India focus at Air France’s headquarters in Paris. The Indian welcome, “nasmaste,” newspapers, vegetarian food and films on board its flights make up the current agenda. More destinations in India and more services to Chennai are in the list of long term objectives.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
2)Indian biotechnology sector is expected to become a $5 billion (around Rs 23,400 crore) industry by 2010, says a report. “The Indian biotechnology sector has excellent potential and is expected to touch $5 billion mark by 2010,”a report jointly prepared by industry chamber CII and consultancy firm KPMG said. “India is ranked among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world and is the third biggest in Asia-pacific in terms of the number of biotech companies,” it added.
MONEY & BANKING
3)INDIAN banks are moving their nostro accounts to banks they perceive as ‘safe’. The turmoil in US banks like Wachovia and Washington Mutual (WaMu) is understood to have driven several local banks – state owned as well as private – to shift their nostro accounts. Nostro is an account, which an Indian bank opens with a bank abroad to carry out foreign currency transactions. Sources said most Indian banks have minimised their transactions with banks which are reportedly in trouble. For instance, some large private banks have virtually stopped carrying out transactions with overseas banks, including Wachovia, UBS, Fortis and WaMu. Most transactions are now being carried out with either local banks or bigger banks like Citi, ABN Amro, Bank of America and Barclays Bank. On an average, a local bank will have at least 10-15 nostro accounts.
4)Mangalore-based Corporation Bank has decided to freeze its sub-PLR lending to corporates until liquidity conditions improve and Reserve Bank signals change in its policy stance. The move is primarily aimed at protecting the margins in the wake of a high interest rate regime and rising cost of funds.
5)The much-awaited comprehensive insurance bill, which seeks to raise foreign direct investment cap in the sector to 49% from 26%, is likely to be introduced in the forthcoming session of Parliament. The draft is being vetted by the law ministry and would be moved for Cabinet approval once it is cleared, finance ministry sources said.
6)EVENTS in the US financial markets and the outcome of July-September or second-quarter earnings of Indian companies are likely to determine the direction of domestic equities in a truncated trading week. Earlier in the week, local shares may take directional cues from overseas markets, but as the week progresses, investor focus will shift to the quarterly results of top companies, starting with Infosys Technologies on Friday. Financial markets will remain closed on Thursday on account of Dussera. Last weekend, the US approved the $700-billion financial market rescue package, but investors seem unconvinced about the effectiveness of the plan in rescuing the world’s largest economy from recession.
7)Four firms on the list of 10 most valued companies in the country have managed to add an aggregate of over Rs 5,000 crore to their market cap this week. Although the country’s top 10 firms lost over Rs 15,000 crore in their market capitalisation last week, Bharti Airtel and SBI, ONGC and BHEL added an aggregate of Rs 5,484 crore to their valuations.
8)THE government and financial regulators are set to ease some of the restrictions imposed on foreign portfolio investors last year, as part of an effort to bolster capital inflows which have been slowing down lately, according to sources. Capital market regulator Sebi is likely to discuss a proposal to this effect at its board meeting on Monday.
9)Wilting under the global financial crisis, the Indian IPO market saw just one initial public offer(IPO) making the mark last month. However, it was still a better performance than a complete drainout in the US. This is the first time in the past six years when the world’s largest economy and capital market did not see a single IPO in September. In the Indian primary market, white mineral manufacturer 20 Microns was the only company that dared to float is IPO in September, even as the global crisis continued to take its toll on the local bourses as well. Interestingly, the issue, though small, received good response from investors by getting subscribed over four times.
10)The current global crisis and the state of the equity markets has the domestic mutual funds in a tight spot. The asset under management has dipped by 2.30% over the month in September and also over the last six months and the beginning of the year. And there are hardly any equity new fund offers(NFOs) available in the market today. The month of September saw three NFOs hit the market and collect around Rs 1,300 crore.
11)MCX gold and crude oil futures fell sharply from the previous week’s level on Friday following weak overseas markets. On the other hand, NCDEX guarseed and soyabean futures ruled mixed on Friday. Crude oil prices fell sharply in the last week, as stronger dollar against other major currencies and concerns over weakening oil demand weighed on oil prices. Crude oil dropped below $94 per barrel and has declined 12% last week as higher borrowing costs and reports showing worsening economy spurred skepticism that the US government’s $700 billion bank-bailout plan will stimulate growth.
12)Farmers are selling maize at below minimum support price(MSP) of Rs 840 a quintal on account of high moisture content in the new crop. Currently, the fresh stock is quoting in the range of Rs 750-840 a quintal levels in the physical market due to higher moisture of over 15 per cent. “Maize prices are ruling low because of inferior quality of grains, which have high moisture content. Prices are falling rather in greater speed in physical market than futures market,” Karvy Comtrade Analyst Amand Rajalaxmi said.
13)The downtrend in turmeric futures in NCDEX is expected to continue in the short term on weak sentiment in the spot market besides a slowdown in demand from overseas market. Markets took a cue from dismal output predictions due to scanty rainfall in the initial crop season. However, prices started falling mid-July after monsoon revived the growing areas.
14)This festive season may be a good time to buy your dream home, for property developers are showering discounts. Most realtors are already advertising cash discounts of 5-10 per cent on upfront payment and buyers can get up to 25 per cent discount if they book properties and are willing to wait for two to three years until possession. According to consultants, developers may even give 15-20 per cent discount on the price as they are eager to clear inventories.
15)SOON your mobile signal will not fall when passing through certain areas of the city that are located close to cantonments and other defence areas as airports. The Department of Telecom(DoT) has announced that telcos will now be able to set up infrastructure in areas controlled by the defence forces. At present, subscribers often experience sudden signal drops in certain areas of the cities and metros, including in the capital Delhi because these zones come under the jurisdiction of defence services. Since telcos were not being allowed to set up towers and other related infrastructure in these zones this had led to many cities and towns having coverage holes or dark spots which adversely affected the quality of service.
16)THE much sought-after 3G iPhone and Blackberry may soon be available in the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam(BSNL) network. BSNL, the country’s largest telecom service provider, is in talks with Apple and BlackBerry to launch the services in India in its own network.
BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING
17)India, home of six of the world’s top eight outsourcing hubs, continues to be a major global IT and BPO outsourcing destination amid a determined bid by the neighbouring China to give it a tough com- petition in the field, according to a new study. Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune are the six Indian cities in the list of top eight outsourcing cities of the world, according to a study by Global Services, the media platform for global IT outsourcing and BPO industry and Tholons, a global investment advisory firm.
18)TATA Consultancy Services(TCS) is close to acquiring Citigroup’s captive BPO arm Citigroup Global Services(CGSL). Sources close to the development say that the deal is pegged at around $550 million and it will be announced within a fortnight. They said the deal would guarantee TCS to get business for CGSL from Citigroup for five years.
19)Information technology firms are expected to post revenue growth in the range of 5-9% in the second quarter this fiscal on account of weakness in rupee against the dollar, analysts say. “The top line of frontline IT companies is expected to grow in the range of 5.6-9.3% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter this fiscal driven by depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar, which is likely to boost the top line growth by 4-4.5% on a sequential basis,” domestic brokerage Sharekhan said in its IT earnings preview report.
20)Citigroup said it won a court order late on Saturday blocking Wells Fargo & Co from buying hobbled US bank Wachovia Corp until the court rules otherwise. Citigroup, which planned to buy Wachovia’s banking assets for $2.2 billion, said New York State Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos granted an injunction extending Wachovia’s agreement to negotiate exclusively with Citigroup.
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Karvy Consultants Ltd www.karvy.com
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