TODAY’S NEWS HEADLINES (18-03-2011)


Date: 18 March 2011
 
Thought for the day
 
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
—-Helen Keller

GENERAL
 
1)The Lok Sabha on Thursday completed the second stage of budgetary exercise by approving demands for grants for over 80 Ministries and Departments to the tune of over Rs 46 lakh crore for 2011-12 by applying guillotine
Hindu
 
ECONOMY

2)Food inflation slipped to a three-and-a-half month low in the week to March 5 as onion and milk prices declined, but fuel inflation registered a sharp increase because of a spike in coking coal prices. Food inflation eased to 9.42% from 9.52% in the previous week, data released on Thursday showed.
ET

3)India Inc paid robust advance tax in fourth quarter this fiscal, an indication of a better corporate performance despite concerns over margins and slowdown. The collections for January-March 2011 quarter are up about 30% from a year-ago period, according to preliminary data.
ET

4)The finance ministry has approved an interest payout of 9.5% on employee’s provident fund for 2010-11, bringing cheer to millions of subscribers six months after it raised objections to a 1% increase in the rate.
ET
 
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

5)Reliance Infrastructure has bagged an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) order worth Rs 7,200 crore from group company Reliance Power for its 2,400 megawatts (mw) gas-fuel led Samalkot Power Plant in Andhra Pradesh. With this order, Reliance Infrastructure’s EPC order book stands at Rs 30,700 crore, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company said on Thursday.
ET

6)Sundram Fasteners(SFL), part of the TVS group, will make its biggest-ever annual capital investment in 2011-12 in an attempt to target the wind energy and automotive segments with new products. SFL plans to step up its capex to nearly Rs 200 crore, a third more than in 2010-11, with significant sums alloted for making wind turbine fasteners and bevel gears.
ET
 
MONEY & BANKING

7)The rupee depreciated by seven paise against the US currency on fall in equities. This came amidst a sluggish dollar on the back of yen nearing a new high on concerns of a nuclear catastrophe in Japan following a massive earthquake and tsunami. The rupee closed at 45.18/19 against the greenback.
BL

8)The Reserve Bank of India raised policy rates for the eighth time in a year by the expected 25 basis points to tackle inflation that is running disproportionately higher with a potential to whittle down the government’s cherished 9% economic growth.
ET

9)INTEREST rates on loans are unlikely to move up immediately despite the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) decision on Thursday to hike key policy rates by 25 basis points each, given that the busy season is coming to an end, most bankers say.
FE

MARKETS

10)Indian equity indices lost ground on Thursday over concerns of further monetary tightening after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised key interest rates for the eighth time this year. Rate sensitive sectors, including bank, auto and realty came under heavy selling pressure as foreign investors also dumped Indian shares. The 30-share Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) lost 208.82 points, or 1.14 per cent, to end at 18,149.87. Most of the sectoral indices also ended in the red. The market breadth was negative with over 1,600 stocks losing ground, as against 1,203 gainers. The broader Nifty of the National Stock Exchange(NSE) ended the day at 5,446.65, shedding 64.50 points or 1.17 per cent.
BS
 
MUTUAL FUNDS

11)Volatility in the Indian equity markets has pushed fund managers to sit on cash and enter the market once valuations start looking attractive. Average cash levels of equity schemes in the Indian mutual fund industry have increased to 6.33% of the total portfolio in February (highest in the last six months) with few equity schemes keeping cash levels in the range of 10-20%. These cash levels have inched up even more, according to industry sources.
FE

12)Rising interest rates and falling markets have pushed up the demand for FMPs – Fixed Maturity Plans, say distributors and fund analysts. FMPs, which are traditionally products for HNIs and institutional investors, have been seeing participation from the retail investors as well, they said.
BL

COMMODITIES
 
13)Oil rose by more than $2 on Thursday as unrest in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Libya heightened supply disruption concerns. Brent crude for May was up $2.69 to $113.29 a barrel at 1242 GMT.
BS

14)Both the precious metals, gold and silver, continued their losing streak for the third straight day today due to a
 weak global trend. While gold fell by Rs 50 to Rs 20,750 per 10 gm, silver declined by Rs 500 to Rs 52,000 a kg.
 In global markets, gold fell by 0.9 per cent to $1,386.65 an ounce and silver edged lower by 1.5 per cent to 33.70
 an ounce.
BS

15)Guargum’s March, April, May, June futures on NCDEX reached the four per cent upper circuit as the March contract would expire on Friday. Market booked profits when guargum touched Rs 9,000 a quintal bringing prices down, traders started to cover short positions which caused the contracts to hit the upper circuit.
BS
 
REAL ESTATE

16)Property sales registrations in Mumbai fell on an annual basis, for the seventh month in succession, as realty prices remained high in the country’s commercial capital.
BS

17)Shanta Sriram Constructions, a Hyderabad-based real estate company, plans to develop a satellite township and six multiplex-cum-mixed use commercial complexes and a hotel in the city, the latter with an investment of about Rs 500 crore.
BL
 
COMMUNICATIONS

18)GSM mobile operators added 14.7 million new mobile subscribers in February, taking the total tally to 555 mil-
 lion. Vodafone Essar was the top grosser with 3.5 million new users, followed by Bharti Airtel with 3.2 million. Idea Cellular was at the third spot with an addition of 2.5 million subscribers. The three operators are also the
 biggest gainers due to the introduction of Mobile Number Portability.
BL

19)Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the two government telecom companies, have a new problem, while facing the heat of intense competition and falling rates. The new facility to consumers to change their operator while keeping their telephone number is hitting both.
BS
 
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
 
20)HCL Infosystems on Thursday announced it has bagged a over Rs 300-crore order from Indian Air Force to deploy the Wideband CDMA-based portable wireless network covering many Air Force Stations across India.
BL
 
INTERNATIONAL
 
21)As Japan’s nuclear crisis intensified Wednesday, governments across Europe remained at odds over whether to scale back nuclear power programs or continue plans to expand, while China announced that it was suspending new plant approvals until it could strengthen safety standards.
ET

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