1)With India searching worldwide for partners in its ambitious future combat soldier programme, New Delhi and Washington on Thursday agreed to cooperate in the project to enhance the capabilities of the modern system.The agreement was reached here during the meeting of Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and his US counterpart General George W Casey, who arrived in New Delhi on Thursday for a three day visit. The two agreed to cooperate in exchange of military and related – technologies for development of enhanced capabilities for India’s future infantry soldier as a system (F-INSAS) programme.
2)Driven by the steepest week-on-week decline (0.5%) in the wholesale price index (WPI) since April 2000, inflation for the week ended October 4 dropped to 11.44% from 11.8% for the week before. Year-on-year inflation was at 3.22% for the corresponding week last year. While overall inflation continues to trend down, prices of primary articles has inched up in recent weeks. According to economists; the southward journey of inflation numbers is emerging as a convincing trend. They pointed out that the fall in commodity prices along with the tight liquidity scenario will bring down inflaion further in months to come. Saumitra Chaudhary, member Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, even expects inflation to move in to single digits by December.
3)The government has sought data from the Reserve Bank of India to consider a proposal to enhance the investment limit for bank exposure to equity markets as part of several measures to boost domestic institutional participation at a time when foreign institutional investors (FIIs) are exiting. At present, a bank can invest up to 20 per cent of net worth in a single company and up to 40 per cent of net worth in a group. Most banks are well below the present stipulation. The limit may be enhanced only for those banks that have sound risk management practices.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
4)Ashok Leyland, the 53-year old brand synonymous with commercial and public transport in the country, will soon see a name change, reflecting its ownership by the Hinduja Group. The Hindujas, who took over Ashok Leyland in 1987, is planning to rename the company Hindja Leyland, in sync with the Group’s strategy to give a common brand identity to various companies within the group, spanning auto- motive to media.
5)Kolkata-based Emami, today, acquired management control of Zandu Pharmaceutical Works after it bought an 18.5 per cent stake from the Parikh family, through an out-of-court settlement, ending months of uncertainty over a hostile takeover bid.
MONEY & BANKING
6)The rupee ended down against the dollar as banks bought the greenback noting persistent outflows from foreign funds on a sharp fall in local share indices. However, dollar sales from the Reserve Bank of India through government-owned banks helped the rupee trim some intraday losses, dealers said. The Indian unit closed at 48.82 to a dollar, weaker by around 30 paise from 48.52 on Wednesday. It moved in 48.63-49.08 range intraday.
7)Rising advances and increasing margins helped HDFC Bank report a 43.3% rise in net profit in the second quarter(Q2) ended September 30. The net profit was at Rs 528 crore against Rs 368 crore in the previous fiscal. Results for the quarter include that of the erstwhile Centurion Bank of Punjab(CBoP) which was amalgamated with the bank with effect from April 1.
8)INDUSIND Bank posted a 51% rise in net profit for the quarter ended September 30,2008, thanks to higher income from fee and interest. During the quarter, the bank registered a net profit of Rs 33.6 cr compared with Rs 22.3 in the corresponding quarter last financial year.
9)The Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) bellwether, Sensex, plunged 790 points during trade today on fears of an imminent recession in the US, but softening inflation numbers at home and signs of recovery in overseas markets helped it trim losses to 228 points at close. The Sensex started the day with a sharp fall, showing that investors discounted the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) move to inject more liquidity into the system through a further cut in the Cash Reserve Ratio(CRR). However, the benchmark index came off lows, taking cues from European bourses and indications that US index futures would open higher on Wall Street. The 30-share Sensex ended at 10,581.49 as against yesterday’s close of 10,809.12, a loss of 227.63 points, or 2.11 per cent. The 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also fell by 69.10 points, or 2.07 per cent, to close at 3,269.30.
10)TRADERS in equity futures and options segment are getting to know the taste of a liquidity squeeze. A day after Sebi hiked exposure margins for positions, many brokers are not taking any chances. They have enforced the rule with immediate effect, though the Sebi circular says the revised margins will become effective only from October 21.
11)With FIIs pulling out of stock market, Sebi on Thursday removed the conditions limiting FII’s allocation of funds between debt and equity, a decision that will provide greater flexibility and investment options to overseas investors. “It has been decided to do away with the conditions provided in…FII regulations pertain-ing to restrictions of 70:30 ratio of investment in equity and debt, respectively, with immediate effect,” the market regulator said in a circular.
12)Chettinad Cement Corporation Ltd has approved and revived an earlier proposal for a rights issue to its shareholders to raise Rs 250 crore, according to information provided by the company to the stock exchange. The company plans to issue one new equity share on rights basis for every six held by a shareholder for a total value not exceeding Rs 250 crore.
13)Most spices today were back in positive territory to trade a shade higher on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange on speculators buying, triggered by lower arrivals in the physical markets. Jeera, the most-active October contract traded Rs 70, or 0.5 percent higher at Rs 10,640 a quintal at the NCDEX on expectations of pick-up in export demand, following lower output in other major producing countries – Syria and Turkey.
14)The pepper futures market, which was on a downward trend in the morning, recovered in the afternoon and closed above Wednesday’s price. Good quantity of pepper is said to have been traded at discount price. Investors were buying back their sales. Domestic buyers as well as exporters were actively buying to meet their commitments at prices below the spot prices.
15)Mid-sized real estate companies have started feeling the heat of the global meltdown. Delhi-based Omaxe Construction and Infrastructure is planning to offload 26% stake to investors and private equity (PE) players and is said to be in talks with sovereign wealth funds from Bahrain, Singapore, Kuwait, and Dubai, apart from Temasak of Singapore.
16)Bharti Airtel, the country’s leading private telecom service provider, is keen to acquire a telecom player similar in size to South African gaint MTN in the emerging markets to become a global brand, said Akhil Gupta, deputy group CEO and managing director of Bharti Enterprises.
17)The gloomy global economic outlook and reduced demand for technology services in the US and Europe are likely to result in an increased pace o consolidation among small and mid-tier IT services companies in India, analysts say. Export-oriented small and midtier IT companies were able to weather the storm of rapid appreciation in the rupee against the US dollar in 2007 and early 2008, but now they are faced with the stark reality of dwindling orders. Sudin Apte of Forrester Research says that consolidation in the Indian IT industry was on the way anyway but the pace may pick up in the next 18 months.
18)HCL Technologies – the sole bidder left in fray after Infosys pulled out of the race for Axon – has purchased 10.43 per cent stake in the UK-based SAP consulting firm, at 631 pence a share. “We have purchased an additional over 10 per cent of Axon shares for a net value of 631 pence per share through market purchases. It is a smart move and we will reveal our strategy in the coming days,” the HCL Technologies CEO, Mr Vineet Nayar, said.
19)Cisco Systems, the global networking giant has announced the launch of its global talent acceleration programme (GTAP) in India, which will see them, for the first time, providing training directly to fresh gradu-ates as well as experienced professionals. India is the third country where the GTAP has been launched after Jordan and South Africa. The first batch in India will comprise 150 students.
20)Moser Baer on Thursday said it plans to invest over $800 million in capex for its various businesses including optical media and photovoltaics, over the next 18 months. “For FY09, our capex plans stands at $550 million in capex across the Group.”
21)THE global financial crisis shifted gears on Thursday with fears of recession battering financial markets even as governments sought yet more action to pull the world economy from the brink of collapse. European Union leaders, meeting in Brussels, were to call for action to combat economic decline, including support for industry. Switzerland’s two largest banks – UBS and Credit Suisse – became the latest to say they were receiving emergency funding as the country’s government and other investorss moved to shore them up.
22)JP Morgan Chase has become the largest US bank by assets, surpassing long-time leader Citigroup. Citigroup on Thursday said it ended September with $2.05 trillion of assest, while a day earlier JP Morgan said it ended the month with $2.25 trillion.
23)OIL prices slumped further on Thursday, with Brent crude briefly sliding close to $67 a barrel and the lowest level for more than 15 months, as slowing energy demand took its toll, traders said. Crude oil futures were down more than 50% from record highs of above 147 dollars reached in July, when prices had rocketed on fears of supply disruptions.
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