Top business news of the day: India plan for tighter e-commerce rules faces internal government dissent; Amazon investigating kickback allegation at India unit, and more

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), in Mumbai. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

India's plan to tighten rules on its fast-growing e-commerce market has run into internal government dissent, memos reviewed by Reuters show, with the Ministry of Finance describing some proposals as "excessive" and "without economic rationale", sources told Reuters. Separately, Amazon.com Inc has launched an internal investigation in India after a whistleblower alleged an employee had taken kickbacks, according to a Reuters report.

In another development, Twitter said Monday it will pay $809.5 million to settle a consolidated class action lawsuit alleging that the company misled investors about how much its user base was growing and how much users interacted with its platform.

5:03 P.M.

Amazon spends ₹8,546 cr in legal expenses during 2018-20 to maintain presence in India

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon, which is said to be investigating alleged bribes paid by its legal representatives in India, spent a staggering ₹8,546 crore or $1.2 billion in legal expenses for maintaining a presence in the country during 2018-20, sources told PTI.

Sources aware of the firm's public account filings said six entities of Amazon – Amazon India Ltd (Holding Company), Amazon Retail India Pvt Ltd, Amazon Seller Services Pvt Ltd, Amazon Transportation Services Pvt Ltd, Amazon Wholesale (India) Pvt Ltd, and Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd (AWS) – paid ₹3,420 crore in India during 2018-19 and ₹5,126 crore during 2019-20 towards legal fees.

4:46 P.M.

Rupee recovers 13 paise to close at 73.61 against U.S. dollar

The rupee on Tuesday rebounded by 13 paise to close at 73.61 (provisional) against the U.S. dollar following a firm trend in domestic equities and losses in the American currency in the overseas market.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened flat at 73.74 against the greenback. During the session, the domestic unit witnessed an intra-day high of 73.58 and finally settled at 73.61.

On Monday, the rupee had dropped by 26 paise to settle at a nearly four-week low of 73.74 against the U.S. dollar, PTI reported.

4:44 P.M.

Sensex rebounds 514 pts; Nifty reclaims 17,500-mark

Equity benchmark Sensex rallied 514 points on Tuesday, led by gains in Infosys, Bajaj Finance and ITC amid a supportive trend in global markets.

The 30-share Sensex ended 514.34 points or 0.88% higher at 59,005.27. Similarly, the NSE Nifty surged 165.10 points or 0.95% to 17,562.

Bajaj Finance was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising around 5%, followed by IndusInd Bank, Tata Steel, ITC, Bajaj Finserv, Tech Mahindra and Infosys, PTI reported.

4:42 P.M.

Uber expects to record breakeven adjusted EBITDA in current quarter

Uber Inc expects to record breakeven in a key measure of profitability in the current quarter, its chief financial financial officer said, sending the ride hailing firm's shares up nearly 7% in premarket trading.

"With positive adjusted EBITDA in July and August, we believe Uber is now tracking towards adjusted EBITDA breakeven in Q3, well ahead of our prior guidance," said CFO Nelson Chai, according to Reuters.

4:30 P.M.

RIL, Mahindra, Wipro among over 100 firms committed to reporting stakeholder capitalism metrics: WEF

More than 100 business houses globally, including Reliance Industries, Mahindra Group and Wipro from India, have committed to including Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics in their annual or sustainability reports, the World Economic Forum said on Tuesday, according to PTI.

Of these, more than 50 have already begun including Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, an initiative of Geneva-based WEF, in their mainstream financial and regulatory reporting. These include PayPal, PwC, Petronas, S&P, Salesforce, Total and Yara International.

3:43 P.M.

Chinese companies haven't invested in India's highway projects in recent times: Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that Chinese companies have not made investments in highway projects in India in recent times.

Amid the border standoff with China, Mr. Gadkari, in July 2020, had said that India will not allow Chinese companies to participate in highway projects, including those through joint ventures, PTI reported.

To a query by PTI on whether Chinese companies have invested in India's highway projects in the recent times, Mr. Gadkari replied in the negative.

Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

3:41 P.M.

India’s largest e-ticketing platform fixes bug after school student raises alarm

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) fixed a bug on its e-ticketing platform after a plus two lad from the city raised an alarm over the presence of Insecure direct object references (IDOR) - a type of access control vulnerability in the booking site.

The IT wing of the IRCTC which took note of the complaint, immediately resolved the vulnerability issue that has been reported, a senior official said on Tuesday, according to a PTI report.

3:40 P.M.

Adani to invest $20 bn in renewable energy

Billionaire Gautam Adani on Tuesday said his group will invest $20 billion over the next 10 years in renewable energy generation and component manufacturing and will produce the world's cheapest green electron, PTI reported.

The port-to-energy conglomerate plans to triple its renewable power generation capacity over the next four years, foray into green hydrogen production, power all data centres with renewable energy, turn its ports into net carbon zero by 2025, and plans to spend over 75% of capital expenditure until 2025 in green technologies, he said.

3:08 P.M.

Regulators lack understanding of banks' digital marketplaces, EU watchdog says

Regulators have little understanding of risks from banks setting up digital marketplaces and need a framework for spotting potential contagion if things go wrong, the European Union's banking watchdog said on Tuesday.

So-called platformisation refers to banks creating a digital marketplace for their products and services, and non-banking services, part of the wider digitalisation of finance which has accelerated since the pandemic began, Reuters reported.

2:38 P.M.

OECD lowers global, U.S. economic growth forecasts

The OECD warned Tuesday of an "uneven" global economic recovery as it lowered its 2021 growth forecasts for the world and for the United States while raising the outlook for Europe.

Global output is now expected to expand by 5.7% this year, down 0.1 percentage points from a previous forecast in May, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Reuters reported.

2:30 P.M.

Warburg Pincus taps SAP exec to advise on tech deal spree

U.S. investment firm Warburg Pincus has appointed SAP executive Brian Duffy as a senior adviser in its technology team as it bets on the digital transformation of its portfolio companies while also scouting for new tech targets.

The U.S. firm, which is known as a "growth investor" as it deploys cash to support companies that offer strong earnings potential in industries that have profited from the COVID-19 pandemic, has heavily invested in the telecoms, media and technology (TMT) sector since the start of the pandemic and will rely on Duffy's expertise to identify new investment opportunities globally, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

2:22 P.M.

India plan for tighter e-commerce rules faces internal government dissent

India's plan to tighten rules on its fast-growing e-commerce market has run into internal government dissent, memos reviewed by Reuters show, with the Ministry of Finance describing some proposals as "excessive" and "without economic rationale", Reuters reported citing internal memos.

The memos offer a rare glimpse of high-stakes policy-making governing a market already featuring global retail heavyweights from Amazon to Walmart, plus domestic players like Reliance Industries and Tata Group. The sector is forecast by Grant Thornton to be worth $188 billion by 2025.

1:46 P.M.

Tata Motors to hike commercial vehicle prices by around 2% from Oct 1

Tata Motors on Tuesday said it will increase prices of its commercial vehicle range by around 2%with effect from October 1, in order to offset the impact of rising input costs.

The effective price hike, in the range of 2%, will be implemented based on the model and the variant of the vehicle, the auto major said in a statement.

The continued rise in the cost of commodities, such as steel and precious metals, necessitates the company to pass on a part of it through increase in price of the products, it stated, according to PTI.

1:42 P.M.

Retail depositors earning negative returns: SBI economists

Retail depositors are earning negative returns on their bank deposits and hence, there is a need for reviewing taxes on interest earned, economists at the country's largest lender SBI have said.

If not for all the depositors, the taxation review should be carried out for at least the deposits made by senior citizens who depend on the interest for their daily needs, the economists led by Soumya Kanti Ghosh said in a note, which pegged the overall retail deposits in the system at ₹102 lakh crore, according to a PTI report.

Soumya Kanti Ghosh, SBI Chief Economist

Soumya Kanti Ghosh, SBI Chief Economist  

 

1:19 P.M.

Universal Music Group shares surge on stock market debut

Universal Music Group's shares surged at the start of trading on Tuesday, as owner Vivendi spun off the record label in the biggest European listing of the year, Reuters reported.

The spin off hands 60% of Universal shares to Vivendi shareholders, while U.S. hedge fund billionaire William Ackman and China's Tencent due to retain large slice alongside Vivendi's 10%.

 

Indian shares were stuck in a tight range today as gains in some energy and consumer goods stocks countered losses in auto scrips. In broader Asia, markets were jittery amid fears of a China Evergrande default rippling through the Chinese property market, while trading was thin due to holidays in China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Currency and commodity markets steadied, but were hardly upbeat as investors expect Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting to bring the bank a step closer to tapering. Oil prices also rebounded a tad in Asia and U.S. crude futures traded at $70.98 per barrel and Brent futures traded at $74.55.

Separately, Amazon launched an internal investigation in India after a whistleblower alleged an employee had taken kickbacks. And, HDFC announced a festive offer in line with peers like SBI with home loans starting from 6.70%.

12:52 P.M.

Goldman’s Petershill sets IPO price at 320-380 pence a share

Goldman Sachs’ Petershill Partners unit has set a price range for its London market listing at 320-380 pence per share, implying a market value of $5.1 billion to $5.9 billion, bookrunners said on Tuesday.

Petershill, which takes minority stakes in alternative assets managers including private equity, venture capital and hedge funds, expects a free-float of around 25% before any greenshoe option and around 29% after, a Reuters report noted.

12:50 P.M.

Electric vehicles may cut global refining capacity demand by half in 2050

Increasing electrification of road transport to reduce carbon emissions may cut demand for the world’s oil refining by half in 2050, consultancy firm Rystad Energy noted, according to Reuters.

"Going forward we will be touching by 2050 somewhere very close to 90% of electrification," Mukesh Sahdev, senior vice president and head of downstream at Rystad Energy said, adding that this scenario would probably lead to a 50% decline in global refining capacity.

12:38 P.M.

Glenmark gets USFDA nod for generic antibiotic cream

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said it has received approval from the U.S. health regulator to market Clindamycin Phosphate Foam, an antibiotic used for treating bacterial infections, in the American market.

The Mumbai-based firm has received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market Clindamycin Phosphate Foam (1%) which is a generic version of Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Evoclin Foam, a PTI report noted.

12:29 P.M.

U.K.’s Johnson discussed taxation with Amazon’s Bezos

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed the issue of taxation when he met Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos in New York, Downing Street said, according to a Reuters report.

“The prime minister raised the issue of taxation, and hoped progress could be in implementing the G7 agreement on tax,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a readout of the meeting.

Bezos pledged on Monday to give away $1 billion in grants this year to focus on efforts around conservation. The pledge is a part of his previously announced Bezos Earth Fund, which the Amazon founder started last year.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

12:20 P.M.

Twitter to pay $809.5 million to settle shareholder lawsuit

Twitter said Monday it will pay $809.5 million to settle a consolidated class action lawsuit alleging that the company misled investors about how much its user base was growing and how much users interacted with its platform.

The San Francisco company said the proposed settlement, which must still be signed off by a judge, resolves all claims against it without Twitter admitting any wrongdoing.

12:07 P.M.

Oil prices advance amid U.S. supply tightness signals

Oil prices rose today as analysts pointed to signs of U.S. supply tightness, ending days of losses as global markets remain haunted by the potential impact on China’s economy of a crisis at heavily indebted property group China Evergrande, Reuters reported.

Brent crude gained 0.9% to $74.55 a barrel, having fallen by almost 2% on Monday. The contract for West Texas Intermediate, which expires later on Tuesday, was up 1% at $70.98 after dropping 2.3% in the previous session, the report noted.

11:58 A.M.

Coinbase scraps plans for crypto lending programme

Coinbase Global Inc has scrapped its plan to launch an interest-yielding USD Coin (USDC) lending programme, the cryptocurrency exchange said in a blog post.

The move comes days after U.S. regulators said it would sue Coinbase if it went ahead with its programme allowing users to earn interest by lending digital assets, a Reuters report noted.

USDC is a stablecoin that is pegged to the U.S. dollar and can be redeemed for $1 on a one-to-one basis.

11:50 A.M.

HDFC launches festive offer; home loan at 6.7%

HDFC today announced a festive offer in line with peers like SBI with home loans starting from 6.70%, PTI reported.

Under the festive scheme, HDFC said, “Customers can avail HDFC Home Loan starting at 6.70% per annum effective September 20, 2021. This offer will be applicable to all new loan applications irrespective of the loan amount or employment category,” the country’s biggest mortgage lender said in a statement.

The special festive offer is for all loan slabs and for all customers with credit score of 800 and above. The special rate is linked to borrower’s credit score, HDFC said, adding that this is a close ended scheme and will be valid till October 31.

11:41 A.M.

SpiceJet gets shareholders’ nod to transfer logistics business

SpiceJet shareholders have approved the transfer of its cargo and logistics services business to its subsidiary, SpiceXpress and Logistics Private Ltd, on a slump sale basis, through an all-share deal worth over ₹2,555 crore, a move that will help the airline to significantly reduce its negative net worth, PTI reported.

SpiceJet’s negative net worth will reduce to about ₹745 crore post the transfer of the logistics business, a release said.

Besides, the shareholders have cleared the proposal to raise up to ₹2,500 crore through the Qualified institutional placement (QIP) route.

11:34 A.M.

JPMorgan takes on British rivals with launch of digital bank Chase

JPMorgan is challenging British rivals on their home turf with the launch on Tuesday of its long-awaited digital retail bank, Chase, as part of what the U.S. lender hopes will be a global expansion, Reuters reported.

The launch marks the first foray into retail banking outside North America by one of the United States’ most dominant lenders, heaping pressure on British incumbents such as Lloyds , Barclays, NatWest and HSBC which are already battling low interest rates and upstart digital rivals.

11:19 A.M.

Indian Cricket team’s merchandise to be widely available on e-commerce platforms

MPL Sports, the official kit sponsor of the Indian Men’s, Women’s, and Under-19 Cricket Team, announced its partnership with online shopping platforms Amazon, Myntra and Flipkart, to expand its retail business in India, a PTI report noted.

The entire collection of official jerseys, training gear and lifestyle wear will be launched on these platforms, the Bengaluru-based MPL Sports said in a statement. Starting at ₹999, the official merchandise will be sold across all serviceable cities across the country, it added.

11:10 A.M.

Amazon investigating kickback allegation at India unit

Amazon.com Inc has launched an internal investigation in India after a whistleblower alleged an employee had taken kickbacks, according to a Reuters report.

“We take allegations of improper actions seriously, investigate them fully, and take appropriate action. We are not commenting on specific allegations or the status of any investigation at this time,” a spokesman said.

10:59 A.M.

Bitcoin attempts recovery as Evergrande-led selloff eases

Cryptocurrency prices bounced off 1-1/2-month lows today as a heavy selloff overnight linked to concerns about a possible loan default by property developer China Evergrande eased slightly, but investors braced for more volatility, Reuters reported.

Bitcoin traded around $43,000, recovering from a fall to $40,192 earlier in the session. It hit a four-month high of $52,000 on Sept 6. Ether, the coin linked to the Ethereum blockchain, rose 1% to $3,012 after falling below $3,000 for the first time since early August, the report noted.

Bitcoin is the original and most popular cryptocurrency, or digital coin, and started circulating in 2009.

Bitcoin is the original and most popular cryptocurrency, or digital coin, and started circulating in 2009.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

10:40 A.M.

Rupee surges 15 paise against U.S. dollar in early trade

The Indian rupee appreciated 15 paise to 73.59 against the U.S. dollar in opening trade today, tracking the weakness of the American currency in the overseas market, PTI reported.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 73.74 against the dollar, then edged higher to 73.59, up 15 paise over its previous close.

10:25 A.M.

Copper prices hover near 1-month low on Evergrande debt crisis

Prices of copper were trading near a one-month low today as a debt crisis at China developer Evergrande Group spurred a sell-off across markets and stoked worries over global demand, Reuters reported.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged up 0.3% to $9,063 a tonne, but was hovering near its lowest level since Aug. 20 hit in the previous session of $8,975 a tonne, the report noted.

10:08 A.M.

Cryptocurrencies post fifth straight week of inflows

Cryptocurrency investment products and funds saw inflows for a fifth consecutive week as market sentiment on the sector continued to improve, Reuters reported, citing data from digital asset manager CoinShares.

Crypto inflows amounted to $41.6 million for the week ended Sept. 17, with bitcoin getting the bulk of inflows at $15.3 million, and ether products garnering $6.6 million. The data showed that inflows were seen across the board. Digital currency inflows for 2021 were a still a robust $5.96 billion, according to the report.

9:49 A.M.

Yes Bank partners with Visa for credit card issuances

Private sector lender Yes Bank announced a partnership with Visa for credit card issuances, in line with peers who are signing up with the payments major after a regulatory ban on Mastercard, a PTI report noted.

In a statement, the bank said it has achieved a transition to be able to issue credit cards on Visa within a record time of 60 days.

9:35 A.M.

Climate change is a key driver of financial risk: RBI Deputy Governor

Climate change and its impact is increasingly being acknowledged as a key risk driver for the financial system by governments, regulators and financial firms, said M. Rajeshwar Rao, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

9:18 A.M.

Indian benchmark indices open higher amid weak global cues

Indian indices opened higher today amid weak global cues. Sensex opened at 58,630.06, up 139.13 points, while Nifty opened at 17,450.50, up 53.60 points.

On Monday, the 30-share BSE index ended 524.96 points or 0.89% lower at 58,490.93, while the broader NSE Nifty tumbled 188.25 points or 1.07% to 17,396.90.

9:09 A.M.

Asia markets fight to stabilise as Evergrande looms large

Global stock markets grappled with contagion fears today, sparked by troubles at China Evergrande as growing risks the property giant could default on its massive debt pile prompted investors to flee riskier assets, Reuters reported.

Asian markets were jittery in volumes thinned by public holidays in China, Taiwan and South Korea. The Hang Seng recovered from an early drop to trade near flat as financial and property firms bounced, while Japan’s Nikkei returned from a market holiday with a drop of almost 2%, the report noted.

Markets in mainland China and Taiwan were still closed on Tuesday while Korean markets remain shut through Wednesday.

9:00 A.M.

Wall Street ends sharply lower in broad sell-off

Wall Street fell in a broad sell-off on Monday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq suffering their biggest daily percentage drops since May, as fear of contagion from potential collapse of China’s Evergrande drove investors out of equities in a flight for safety, Reuters reported.

The Dow registered its biggest daily percentage drop since July, while the Nasdaq also hit its lowest level in about a month, but indexes pared losses just before the close to end well off their lows of the session, the report noted.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 614.41 points, or 1.78%, to 33,970.47, the S&P 500 lost 75.26 points, or 1.70%, to 4,357.73 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 330.07 points, or 2.19%, to 14,713.90.

A sign for Wall Street hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange. File

A sign for Wall Street hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange. File   | Photo Credit: AP

 

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