TODAY’S NEWS HEADLINES (MARCH 7, 2011)

Date: 07 March 2011

Thought for the day

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.” – Harold Wilson

GENERAL

1)India successfully flight-tested an indigenously built interceptor missile from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast on Sunday, joining the US, Russia and Israel in an elite group of countries to have accomplished the mission. TOI

ECONOMY

2)Consumers might be spared an increase in diesel prices for the time being. The reason: An already high inflation makes such a move risky in view of the forth-coming state elections. The elections will be over in mid-May. BS

CORPORATE / INDUSTRY

3)The private healthcare firm of billionaire brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, Fortis Global Healthcare, has acquired a 28.6% stake in Lanka Hospitals Corporation, a Colombo Stock Exchange-listed healthcare firm for Sri Lankan Rs 397 crore or about Rs 160 crore. ET

4)Infra major L&T, which is in the process of achieving financial closure for its recently bagged Hyderabad Metro-rail project, will be raising Rs 11,400 crore debt from a consortium of 10 banks led by State Bank of India, said sources close to the development. FE

5)Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), India’s most-profitable firm, will lose the coveted Navaratna status and the accompanying financial autonomy in its rush to the Rs 11,500 crore share sale scheduled for next month. BS

6)The world’s first facility to manufacture carbon foam batteries will be set up at Bavla near Ahmedabad. Firefly Energy India is planning to build a plant to produce carbon foam batteries at an investment of Rs 125 crore, the company’s chairman Mukesh Bhandari said. ET

7)Pharma major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories aims to earn revenue of $1 billion per year from branded generics for the next three years, said K Anji Reddy, its founder-chairman. The second largest Indian drugmaker sold generics to the tune of 4600 million globally in nine months of this fiscal ended December 31. ET

MONEY & BANKING

8)New rules are underway for the estimated $1-trillion wealth management industry and banking regulator RBI and capital market watchdog Sebi may be made jointly responsible for implementing these regulations and keeping a watch for any violations. ET

9)The government will infuse Rs 4,376 crore as equity capital in PSU lenders Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India as part of a recapitalisation package to shore up their equity capital. ET

INSURANCE

10)Term insurance products are back in favour with insurers. The cost of term plans has come down by 40-50 per cent over the past year. A year before, a term plan insurance for a cover of Rs 50 lakh for a person aged 25-30 years attracted a premium of Rs 12,000. The average cost of such a plan is now Rs 6,500-7,000. A term insurance policy provides a stated benefit only upon the holder’s death, provided the death occurs within the policy period. There will be no stated benefits if the policy holder outlives the policy period. BS

MARKETS

11)After the handsome gains of the previous week, the stock market is unlikely to see much upside movement, as investors may book profits on worries over steaming global crude oil prices, say experts. The BSE benchmark Sensex had surged 785.54 points, or 4.43 per cent, to 18,486.45 during the last seven days, spurred by strong growth data for auto sales, exports, infrastructure industries and easing food inflation. “Not much of an upside in the stock market next week. Investors will remain cautious and more or less prefer staying on sidelines. The market will also see some correction,” Karvy Stock Broking VP Ambareesh Baliga said. BS

12)The combined market capitalisation (m-cap) of nine of the countries’ top 10 firms increased by Rs 69,054.86 crore in the past week, with state-owned coal entity Coal India (CIL) stealing the show. CIL, the biggest gainer among the top 10 firms, saw its valuation swelling by Rs 20,875.57 crore to Rs 2,05,250.12 crore last week. ET

13)Egyptian stocks listed overseas are trading at the lowest levels since before the protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak as the Cairo exchange’s continued closure threatens to deepen losses for investors the bourse is under pressure to protect. BS

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

14)Corporate groups worried over the impending competition regulation on mergers and acquisitions (M&As) can breathe easy. Under the new norms notified by the corporate affairs ministry last week, if a corporate group has less than 50% voting rights in the target company, the group’s size as measured in terms of turnover or assets – won’t be reckoned to determine if the transaction requires approval of Competi tion Commission of India(CCI). Also, a group’s size won’t include that of companies in which it has less than 50% voting rights, when it comes to regulatory clearance. FE

COMMODITIES

15)Global commodity markets continue to be buffeted by escalating geopolitical tension with crude leading the way for metals and agriculture. Huge volatility is the result. The uncertainty is palpable as risks across markets heighten. External markets are choppy. To be sure, Libyan crude is not available at a time when market fundamentals have been continually tightening and demand growth is robust. WTI closed above $100 a barrel for the first time since September 2008. Brent, on the other hand, is around $115 a barrel. While gold scales new peaks silver is touching multi-decadal highs as investments flow into this well-known safe haven asset. BL

REAL ESTATE

16)The government plans to widen the definition of real estate in its foreign direct investment (FDI) policy to include consultants, advisers, valuers and brokers, a move experts say could restrict entry of foreign players in these specialized services. ET

17)Realty firm Raheja Developers is in advanced stages of negotiations with a Saudi Arab-based developer to form a joint venture for mainly constructing housing properties in the two nations. FE

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

18)IT major Cognizant Technology Solutions is planning a major expansion programme in various cities at a budgeted $285 million on the back of a 40% growth rate over last year, a top official said on Sunday. The expansion programme would be in the form of real estate and upgrading and new technology, company president and managing director R Chandrasekaran said. FE