Date: 11 March 2011
Thought for the day
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”
–Richard Buckminister Fuller.
1)INDIA and the United States have reaffirmed their intent to ramp up bilateral defence cooperation, terming it an important facet of the overall India-US strategic partnership.
2)Annual food inflation slipped to a single digit in the week to February 26, mainly because of a decline in vegetable prices. Inflation stood at 9.52% as against 10.39% in the week before. The decline was due to a combination of the base effect, the high inflation last year, and a drop in the wholesale price based index which fell by 0.6% over the previous week, its fifth consecutive fall.
3)India’s exports crossed the $200-billion target in the current fiscal with a month to spare as shipment of goods jumped 50% in February from a year ago, giving hope that the revival of demand overseas could partly offset the expected slowdown in the domestic market.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
4)After acquiring the wealth management business of iTrust Financial Advisors, Karvy Private Wealth (KPW) is revamping operations to scale up business, including international activity in Middle east and Africa to begin with. Last month, KPW, part of the Karvy group, bought iTrust’s wealth business which has operations in Delhi NCR, Bangalore and Hyderabad, for an undisclosed sum. Hrishikesh Parandekar, chief executive of KPW, said the iTrust acquisition was part of the business expansion plan. Now, the business would be run under four wings, including iTrust with advisory, tax filing and financial planning focus. It would focus on the category of clients with assets of Rs 25 lakh to Rs 5 crore.
5)Sesa Goa has emerged on top in a battle for ownership of the assets of Bellary Steel & Alloys – a little-known company that owns 700 acres in Karnataka’s mineral-rich area – edging out JSW Steel in a court-directed auction process that took place earlier this week.
6)The Adani group is considering its second major acquisition in Australia in less than a year as it tries to meet the increasing demand for coal from consumers in two of the world’s fastest growing economies.
7)India’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero Honda has roped in London-based consultancy firm Wolff Olins to create a new brand identity following the exit of Japanese joint venture partner Honda Motor.
MONEY & BANKING
8)Rupee fell the most in two weeks on speculation crude-oil prices near a 29-month high will increase import costs and widen a record current-account deficit. The currency dropped 0.4% to 45.1825 per dollar at close in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, extending its loss this year to
1.1%. That’s the biggest decline since February 24.
9)Public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) is looking to acquire banks in Africa and Southeast Asia as it seeks to ramp up its overseas operations, according to a senior company source with direct knowledge of the matter.
10)Concerned over the rampant mis-selling of guaranteed products – especially net asset value (NAV) ones – of life insurance companies, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (Irda) is pushing for greater disclosure on these products.
11)Sensex ended 0.77% down on Thursday on negative global cues as crude oil prices climbed raising concerns over global economic growth. The index ended at 18,327.98 points, down 0.77% or 141.97 points. Meanwhile, Nifty slumped 0.66% or 36.60 points to 5,494.40.
IPO / FPO
12)Lining up the disinvestment offers for the 2011-12 fiscal year, Power Finance Corporation(PFC) is likely to file its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) next week. The PFC issue is expected to garner Rs 5,800 crore.
13)Gold financing company Muthoot Finance will raise up to Rs 1,400 crore through an initial share sale offer, which is expected to begin in the last week of this month.
14)The average assets under management of the mutual fund industry increased by 2.3 per cent to Rs 7.07 lakh crore in February on the back of higher inflows into the income and liquid schemes.
15)The Union Budget proposal to liberalise the portfolio investment route by giving mutual funds direct access to foreign investors other than Sebi registered FIIs and NRIs, would come with a set of guidelines. The government would put a cap on the number of foreign investors and the quantum of investment in a mutual fund through this new route. This would ensure better supervision of foreign funds and prevent the new investment avenue from becoming a channel for rerouting black money into the Indian stock market.
16)Motilal Oswal Mutual Fund on Thursday said it will launch MOSt Shares Nasdaq 100, country’s first US equity based exchange-traded fund(ETF), which seeks to track the Nasdaq 100 index. The new fund offer will be open for subscription from March 16 and closes on March 23.
17)The Forward Markets Commission(FMC) has said turnover at the commodity futures market rose by 52% to Rs 105.92 lakh crore till February of this fiscal, on the back of rise in participation in the futures trade of bullion and energy items.
18)Gold declined in New York as a stronger dollar prompted some investors to sell the metal after violence in Libya pushed prices to a record this week. Gold futures for April delivery fell $11, or 0.8 per cent, to $1,418.60 an ounce at 7:59 a.m. on the COMEX in New York.
19)Crude oil traded near its lowest in a week as concern that Europe’s debt problems may crimp fuel demand countered worries over attacks on Libyan crude-refining and exporting facilities. US crude for April delivery traded at $102.74 a barrel, down $1.57 cents, in electronic trading on the New
York Mercantile Exchange at 12:57 p.m. London time.
20)In a bid to make telecom networks more secure, the Department of Telecom is planning to amend telecom operator’s licences to add a number of new service rules including making it mandatory for mobile operators to offer location-based services. Location based service is being suggested in order to enable security agencies to pinpoint the exact location of a user at any given time.
21)As many as eight bidders including two from HCL Group, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Sify are in the race for a contract to set up and maintain the State Data Centre in Madhya Pradesh. The project entails building and managing the entire data centre infrastructure for the State for a period of five years.
22)Tech Mahindra, provider of solutions and services to the telecommunications industry, has inaugurated a new development centre in Bonn, Germany.
23)Mexican billionaire Mr Carlos Slim Helu remained the richest person in the world with $74 billion in assets, while NRI steel magnate, Mr Lakshmi Mittal, and the Reliance Industries chief, Mr Mukesh Ambani, made it to the Top 10 at sixth and ninth places respectively of US magazine Forbes’ annual list of world’s top billionaires.
24)China swung to a surprise trade deficit in February of $7.3 billion, its largest in seven years, as the Lunar New Year holiday dealt an unexpectedly sharp blow to exports. It was China’s first trade deficit since March last year.