TODAY’S NEWS HEADLINES (21-03-2011)


Date: 21 March 2011
 
Thought for the day
 
“Never attack a problem without also presenting a solution.” —Jim Rohn
 
GENERAL
 
1)Marking the beginning of spring, the sun will cross the plane of the earth’s equator on Monday morning, making day and night of approximately the same duration. The event, known as equinox, is eagerly awaited by space enthusiasts as it takes place only twice a year, on March 21 and September 23. On equinox, the sun moves across the celestial equator, which lies directly above the Earth’s equator. When the sun crosses the plane, it rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west.
Hindu
 
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

2)Bharati Shipyard plans to focus strongly on the offshore and defence segments and expects an over Rs 2,000-crore of orders over the next one-year, a top company official said.
ET

3)Aditya Birla Minacs is eyeing acquisitions in finance & accounting, in a bid to complement yet another buy in the same space last year. “We want to go for a bigger acquisition in this space,” said Deepak Patel, Global CEO of Aditya Birla Minacs.
FE

4)For the first time in five years, contract prices of iron ore the key raw material for making steel – will soften,
 as Japanese steel mills, that account for about 13% of global iron-ore consumption, have cut down on their requirement following production cutbacks.
ET

5)The Ashok Leyland and Nissan joint venture is to invest around Rs 2,500 crore for setting up a factory near Chennai to manufacture light commercial vehicles (LCVs).
BS

6)Domestic paper manufacturers are reporting a hike in global pulp prices on anticipation of huge demand from Japan, where production has been hit by the tsunami last week.
BL

MONEY & BANKING

7)India’s largest lender State Bank of India’s retail bonds, which were bid over four times the offer and were beyond the reach of millions of investors, may yield a 5% return when it begins trading on Monday.
ET

8)ING Vysya Bank has launched an Internet banking platform for its wholesale banking clients called ‘ING Coverage’. The platform addresses the payment and cash management requirements of corporates. The unique feature is that it allows a consolidated view across group accounts, even from other banks and across countries. The platform allows a company to access its multiple accounts and also those of its group companies.
BL

INSURANCE

9)New business premium (for individual regular policies) collections for life insurers fell 31 per cent in February,
 one of the steepest fall in recent months. The continued decline comes in the wake of more stringent norms imposed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) on guaranteeing a minimum return on pension policies besides scaling down the amount of commission payable to the agents.
BL

MARKETS
 

10)Indian shares will be under pressure this week with the escalation of the Libyan crisis that is pushing up oil prices and Wikileaks weakening Prime Minister Manmohan Singh further, reducing the possibility of any economic reforms. China’s liquidity tightening, for the third time this year, will intensify investor belief that emerging markets, including India, will keep raising rates to tame inflation that will erode corporate profitability. The benchmark Sensex lost 1.6% last week. Any adverse news or events, especially in the wake of government presenting the Finance Bill will shake investor confidence in the government, analysts say.
ET

11)Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) plans to raise around $1 billion in 2011-12 through a corporate bond is-
 sue in the US, a senior company official said. The corporation has recently raised $500 million through a bond
 issue in the international market.
BL
 
IPO

12)This could be the year of a big overseas initial public offering (IPO) push from Indian mining, power, steel and infrastructure firms. And they could be headed towards the London Stock Exchange. Consulting firm Ernst and Young expects more Indian companies from these sectors to list overseas as they expand their global footprint by acquiring mineral assets.
BL

MUTUAL FUNDS

13)Mutual funds are again showing interest in banking stocks, while the automobile sector continues to lose the fancy of fund managers. With over 10 per cent correction in the banking index during the first two months of the current calendar year, fund houses’ exposure of total equity assets under management in bank shares is close to the October highs. According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), mutual funds have upped their exposure to the banking sector by 66 basis points(one basis point is one hundredth part of a percentage), to 16.78 per cent in February from 16.12 per cent in December.
BS

COMMODITIES

14)Pepper market during the week witnessed mixed trend with bullish sentiments taking the lead. At the same time firm prices in other origins indicate that there exists a tight supply situation, probably because of holding back by growers in India and Vietnam.
BL

COMMUNICATIONS

15)Emirates Telecommunications, the Middle East’s biggest phone company by market value, ended talks to buy a majority stake in Zain, Kuwait’s largest, citing political unrest and disagreement among shareholders.
ET
 
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

16)Paris-headquartered Capgemini, one of the world’s largest IT services companies, is in advanced talks to buy a controlling stake in mid-sized IT services provider Headstrong from the founders of the company and private equity investor Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, at least two people familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.
ET
 
INTERNATIONAL

17)Libya is considering offering oil block contracts directly to China, India and other nations it sees as friends in its
 month-long conflict with rebels, Libya’s top oil official said on Saturday.
BS

18)Sony Corp and Nissan Motor Co said they’re preparing to resume production at some factories as Japanese manufacturers seek to recover from the strongest earthquake on record to jolt the world’s third-largest economy.
FE

19)Goldman Sachs said Friday it would pay $5.5 billion to repurchase the preferred stock bought by billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. The Wall Street giant said the US central bank had given a green light to its capital plan for this year.
ET

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