1)On his nightly stroll, G Madhavan Nair, chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO), used to gaze at the moon for its luminous beauty. Now, whenever he hears the word ‘moon’, which he does hundreds of times a day, he thinks of the 1,304-kg space craft carrying the 29-kg moon impact probe that will crash land on the lunar surface, just days after PSLV-C11 takes off at 6.20 am on October 22.
2)Inflation figures of the government agencies are in for a big dose of downward correction as commodity prices come off their highs. First off the block will be the Planning Commission. The commission has projected a 6% rate of wholesale price index-based inflation by March 2009, incidentally just about the time the elections to the Lok Sabha are scheduled.
3)Economists feel a repo rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) next week would complement its recent liquidity-boosting measures and go a long way in spurring economic growth, which of late, has been sluggish. A bold decision to cut the repo rate by 0.50% would send positive signals to the economy and perk-up the tempo of growth, both in this fiscal and in the next (FY 2010), they said.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
4)AT A time when companies are reeling under the burden of ongoing financial turmoil, National Mineral Development Corporation(NMDC), India’s nodal agency for iron ore, has increased domestic iron ore long-term contract prices by up to 46%. Globally, prices of Iron ore and steel are plunging on the back of softening demand. The move is likely hit steelmarkets such as Ispat, Essar, JSW and RINL which have long term contracts with NMDC.
MONEY & BANKING
5)Bankers have said they would wait till the reviewed monetary policy is declared to take a call on lending rate cuts despite the RBI announcing a hefty 2.5% reduction in cash reserve ratio(CRR), injecting Rs 1,00,000 crore into the banking system. Though leading public sector lender, Punjab National Bank(PNB), announced a 0.5% cut in its home, auto and education loan after the CRR cut, several other banks said they wait till the October 24 monetary policy review before taking any decision.
6)Chennai-based, state-run Indian Bank has reported a 14.27 per cent increase in net profit during the second quarter ended September 2008 at Rs 282.93 crore compared with Rs 247.59 crore for the same period last year.
7)State Bank of Travancore(SBT) has recorded 70.37 per cent rise in net profit during the second quarter ended September 2008, over the same period last year. The bank posted a net profit of Rs 113.83 crore as against as 66.81 crore during the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
8)RELIANCE Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG) is looking to buy out the Asian insurance business of US-based financial services giant AIG. The proposed deal, which would exclude AIG’s Indian insurance joint ventures, would make R-ADAG the largest life insurance firm in South East Asia.
9)LIKE a dying man clutching at straws, investors have not given up hope altogether. After the benchmark Sensex fell below the 10000 mark on Friday, hopes are pinned on the Nifty’s much-talked about technical support of 3000, which is expected to trigger a rebound driven by short-covering. Investors will also keenly watch the midterm credit policy review on October 24, as the liquidity in the system continues to be tight despite the central bank’s monetary measures. In the past couple of weeks, RBI has cut the cash reserve ratio(CRR) – the amount of money that banks have to maintain with the central bank – by 250 points and relaxed the statutory liquidity ratio(SLR) requirements. Market watchers expect RBI to announce a cut in the repo rate – the rate at which it lends to banks – on the policy day. This is one move that will signal easing interest rates. Even reputed corporates have been borrowing short-term money at ex- orbitant rates. The high interest rates are forcing many of them to scale down their expansion plans. On Friday, the Nifty ended at 3074.35, down 195.95 points, or 6%, over the previous close. In the US too, markets ended weak on Friday, but the losses were limited compared with the previous sessions, sparking hopes of a bounceback early next week.
10)Initial public offerings(IPOs) of the public sector units(PSUs) could revive investor confidence, which has taken a beating in wake of the global financial crisis, chief financial officers of Indian companies said in a survey. Majority of the 300 chief financial officers (CFOs), who participated in an Assocham survey said they had confidence in the Indian PSU equities.
11)DESPITE mounting pessimism among investors, there is fresh money flowing into equity mutual fund schemes. Barring August, there have been fresh inflows into equity funds this year, an indicator that retail investors have chosen to stay on so far. However, fund managers are apprehensive that October could be a month of high outflows. According to AMFI data, open-ended equity schemes recorded fresh inflow worth Rs 658 crore in September. This genre of fund schemes also witnessed positive inflows between January and July. There was an outflow worth Rs 95 crore in August. Investors are not very keen on closed-ended equity funds, as most schemes of this type have logged outflows in all months after March. Though there have been a few equity New Fund Offerings(NFOs) hitting the market between March and August, very little money flowed in through these offerings. Counting out ICICI Prudential Focused Equity and AIG World Gold(both funds closed in May), almost all schemes launched during the considered period had to prune their mobilisation targests. “Over 40% of fresh money flowing into equity funds is through SIPs. Though there has been some redemption, there is an overwhelming majority who has started investing into SIPs. We are selling equity mutual fund products in these markets as well,” said Tata Mutual Fund managing director Ved Prakash Chaturvedi.
12)The host of problems in the global economy, like the subprime meltdown, the financial crisis downturn in the equity markets, along with commodity prices still remaining at high levels, are all forcing investors to rediscover the lustre in gold. According to a recent report by team of analysts headed by Kevin Norrish from Barclays Capital, investing in gold will be seen as a way out of the global economic turmoil. A study made by Merrill Lynch & Co Inc under the team leader Francisco Blanch shows gold prices can shoot up to $1,500 an ounce in the near future.
13)The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange(NCDEX) has reduced the number of jeera contracts to seven from current nine per year, an exchange release said. NCDEX has dropped the contracts for April and October in 2009, taking the total available contracts to seven in the current calendar. Globally, farm commodities do not have futures contract for the period when spot trade remains subdued due to reasons like harvest, monsoon etc., the official said.
14)Makaan.com, a property portal, is hosting a two-day property show in Hyderabad bringing together more than 20 leading developers and showcasing models of over 100 plus projects. The Business Head of Makaam.com, Mr Aditya Verma, said this is the second such show in Hyderabad and 10th nationwide in a series of such events which help potential buyers get to know what is available in the market place. Property seekers get to choose from options of plots, villas and apartments with price ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 5 crore.
15)A leading European telecom giant is set to acquire a little over 43 per cent stake in Unitech’s telecom venture for $1.4 billion. According to highly-placed sources close to the deal, the legal documentation is likely to be completed shortly and announcement to this effect is expected by the weekened or early next week.
16)ASIA Pacific’s IT spending is expected to grow about 10-16% till 2010, beating developed markets, according to a study by consulting firm Zinnov. India and China, in particular, represent large untapped markets in the region. While India’s IT spending is likely to grow between 17.6-24% by 2010, China would grow 10-13%, according to the study. This is in comparison to the 3.3-6.5% increase expected in global IT spending. Expenditure on hardware, software and IT-BPO services comes under IT spending.
17)INFOSYS Technologies has bagged an order from the Union Bank of California, US for its core banking solution(CBS) – Finacle – beating its bigger rival Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Sources said Infosys and TCS were the two short-listed vendors which comes as a surprise given the presence of banking products companies in the US like Temenos, Fiserve and Metavante, among others.
18)PRESIDENT Bush, looking for answers to an global economic emergency with just three months left in office, will host an international summit to discuss ways to fix the world financial system but warned on Saturday against reforms that threaten capitalism. “We will work to strengthen and modernise our nations’ fianancial systems so we can help ensure that this crisis doesn’t happen again,” Bush said at the Camp David president retreat. Bush, meeting with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, did not announce a date or site for the summit. But Sarkozy suggested it be held in the shadow of Wall Street before the end of November.
19)DUTCH financial group ING is in talks with the Dutch government about a state-backed cash injection estimated to be worth up to 9 billion euros($12.12 billion), the Sunday Times reported. The Netherlands’ biggest listed bank, which said on Friday that it was about to announce its first-ever quarterly loss, is expected to announce a deal in the next 24 hours, the paper reported.
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