Today's top business news: Shares snap eight-day winning streak, Finance Minister announces second round of stimulus, airlines await Deepavali cheer, and more

File photo of the outside of BSE building. Only for representational purposes.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Nifty and the Sensex opened the day with losses as investors look to book profits after the over week-long bull run.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that the Finance Minister could announce another round of stimulus this afternoon.

Join us as we follow the top business news through the day.

4:30 PM

The price of noodles in Tokyo over 10 years


4:00 PM

Markets snap 8-session winning streak; Sensex drops 236 points

The long winning streak in stocks fueled by the news of a coronavirus vaccine comes to an end.

PTI reports: "Snapping its eight-session winning run, equity benchmark Sensex ended 236 points lower on Thursday, tracking losses in financial counters as profit-booking emerged amid lacklustre global cues.

The new set of stimulus measures announced by the government also failed to enthuse investors, traders said.

After dropping 466.12 points during the day, the 30-share BSE index ended 236.48 points or 0.54 per cent lower at 43,357.19.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty slipped 58.35 points or 0.46 per cent to 12,690.80.

SBI was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 3 per cent, followed by Kotak Bank, IndusInd Bank, NTPC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank.

On the other hand, HUL, ITC, L&T, Bajaj Finserv and Tech Mahindra ended with gains.

“Having witnessed continued rebound for last eight trading days, domestic equities finally took a pause today and profit booking was visible in financials stocks,” said Arjun Yash Mahajan, Head Institutional Business at Reliance Securities.

Announcement of fiscal stimulus under Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 by the finance minister mainly focused on job creation and pick up in infrastructure developments in the country, he stated.

He added that a large number of mid-cap and small-cap stocks witnessed rebound with emerging clarity over corporate earnings in the backdrop of favourable management commentary and the government’s serious efforts to spur investment activities in the country.

Announcing a slew of measures to boost the economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier in the day said the Indian economy is witnessing a strong recovery after a long and strict lockdown.

She unveiled a new job creation scheme by giving subsidy to those establishments that make new hires. The subsidy would be to cover for retirement fund contributions by employees as well as employers for two years.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul ended in the red, while Tokyo settled on a positive note.

Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with losses in early deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.07 per cent lower at USD 43.77 per barrel."

3:30 PM

Airlines await Deepavali cheer

Deepavali is the time for family reunions and all around cheer, including for airlines that see a surge in demand for travel. This year though is different as data from online travel agents shows that passengers are far more hesitant while making a flight booking.

Demand for travel in the first week of November is only 8% more than the first week of October, according to travel portal A surge in COVID-19 cases in various metros as well as concerns about likely travel restrictions mean that passengers wait until the last minute to book their travel.

“One way trips account for 78% of those being undertaken between November 7 and November 15. This indicates that most customers prefer to have flexibility in travel plans and are booking closer to the date of travel,” says Cleartrip’s Aditya Agarwal, Head of Corporate Strategy.

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3:00 PM

Indian economy witnessing strong recovery: Sitharaman

An update from the Centre on the post-lockdown economic recovery.

PTI reports: "Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the Indian economy is witnessing a strong recovery after a long and strict lockdown.

Addressing a press conference to announce more stimulus measures to boost growth, she said macro-economic indicators are pointing towards recovery.

She noted that COVID-19 active cases have declined from over 10 lakh to 4.89 lakh with case fatality rate (CFR) at 1.47 per cent.

Giving out details of recovery, she said composite purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 58.9 per cent in October versus 54.6 per cent in the previous month, registering strongest increase in output in close to nine years.

Energy consumption growth trended higher in October at 12 per cent year-on-year, while Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections have grown 10 per cent to over Rs 1.05 lakh crore.

Daily railway freight tonnage grew by an average 20 per cent year-on-year versus 12 per cent, she said adding bank credit has improved 5.1 per cent.

Also, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in April-August at USD 35.37 billion has seen a 13 per cent rise on a year-on-year basis.

RBI has predicted a strong likelihood of Indian economy returning to positive growth in Q3 2020-21, ahead by a quarter from the earlier forecast, she said adding prominent economists have suggested that the rebound is not only due to pent up demand but also due to strong economic growth.

Giving details of the progress made on the previous stimulus announcements under AatmanirbharBharat Abhiyaan, Sitharaman said 28 states/union territories (UTs) have been brought under the national portability of ration cards with effect from September 1.

This now covers 68.6 crore beneficiaries who now have an option to lift their food grains from any fair-price shops (FPS) of their choice in any of these 28 states/UTs, she said.

Intra-state portability is also enabled in these 28 states/UTs, she said adding 1.5 crore monthly transactions are happening.

Under PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi, 26.62 lakh loan applications were received out of which 13.78 lakh loans totalling Rs 1,373.33 crore were sanctioned.

The Finance Minister said credit boost to 2.5 crore farmers has been achieved through Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs).

“So far 183.14 lakh applications have been received and have issued KCCs for 157.44 lakh eligible farmers and sanctioned a limit of Rs 1,43,262 crore in two phases,” she said.

Under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), proposals worth Rs 1,682.32 crore from 21 states were sanctioned.

As much as Rs 25,000 crore has been disbursed to farmers under the additional emergency working capital fund, she said.

Sitharaman further said, Rs 2.05 lakh crore was sanctioned to 61 lakh borrowers. Of this Rs 1.52 lakh crore has been disbursed.

As much as Rs 26,889 crore worth of portfolios have been bought by public sector banks (PSBs) under the partial credit guarantee scheme, she said adding Rs 7,227 crore was disbursed to Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs).

She said Rs 1,18,272 crore worth of loans have been sanctioned to 17 states/UTs for liquidity injections in electricity distribution companies. Of this, 11 states have received Rs 31,136 crore.

The Finance Minister said Rs 25,000 crore has been provided as additional capital expenditure to the Ministry of Road Transport and Ministry of Defence.

Also, 11 states have been sanctioned Rs 3,621 crore as interest free loan towards capital expenditure, she said.

Further, Rs 1,32,800 crore of income tax refund has been made to 39.79 lakh assesses, she added."

2:30 PM

Moody’s revises upwards India GDP forecast to -8.9% in 2020

More positive signs on the economic front.

PTI reports: "Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday revised upwards its GDP forecasts for India to (-) 8.9 per cent contraction in the 2020 calendar year, as the economy reflates after a long and strict nationwide lockdown but said the recovery is patchy.

In its Global Macro Outlook 2021-22, Moody’s also revised upwards India’s GDP forecast for calendar year 2021 to 8.6 per cent growth from an earlier projection of 8.1 per cent expansion. The Indian economy had grown by 4.8 per cent in 2019.

For the calendar year 2020, it forecast a -8.9 per cent contraction, up from its an earlier projection of -9.6 per cent contraction. “India’s economy had the biggest contraction, 24 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter (April-June), as a result of a long and strict nationwide lockdown,” the rating agency said.

India had a 69-day nationwide lockdown, which was followed by local and state-level restrictions to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Restrictions have eased only slowly and in phases, and localised restrictions in containment zones remain.

“As a result, the recovery has been patchy,” it said.

A steady decline in new and active cases coronavirus cases since September, if maintained, should enable further easing of restrictions.

“We, therefore, forecast a gradual improvement in economic activity over the coming quarters,” it said. “However, slow credit intermediation will hamper the pace of recovery because of an already weakened financial sector.”

Moody’s said the nascent global economic recovery is under threat from rising COVID-19 cases in the US and Europe.

“All of the G-20 countries have sustained severe output losses this year, but the contraction in some economies is sharper than in others. The pace of improvement will be asymmetric across countries,” it said.

The recovery path is beset by uncertainty and will remain highly dependent on the development and distribution of a vaccine, effective pandemic management, and government policy support.

“Overall, sustained economic improvement is not possible in countries where new waves of the virus continue to cause disruption,” it said.

For the G-20 advanced economies, it forecast a 5.1 per cent contraction in 2020, followed by a growth of 4.2 per cent in 2021 and 3.3 per cent in 2022.

“We forecast a very gradual improvement in economic activity of other emerging market countries, namely Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa,” it said.

This diverse set of countries had a variance in economic conditions before the pandemic and are responding to the health crisis very differently.

As a result, economic and health outcomes vary significantly.

Moody’s said the pandemic could have long-term consequences in four ways -- an increase in populism and inward-looking policies in the event of a jobless recovery or a recovery that aggravates inequality, geopolitical realignment, a policy push for a ‘greener’ economy, and a technological transformation that could raise productivity while making a large number of jobs obsolete.

“New virus cases are falling in India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, and levelling off in Indonesia. The test positivity rate has fallen below 5 per cent in India and below 10 per cent in South Africa,” Moody’s said.

Fatality rates have also steadily declined in most emerging market countries, similar to the trends in advanced economies.

“If these trends are sustained, greater mobility and social interactions will be likely over time. In addition, the development and dissemination of a vaccine will make the pandemic itself a less important macro factor in 2021 and 2022,” it said.

However, the economic outlook for emerging market countries is difficult to assess and highly uncertain.

“Going forward, neither trade growth nor a commodity price boom is likely to be a reliable source of growth. And limited room for fiscal support will likely undermine the strength of the recovery.

“On the other hand, economic activity could bounce back quite quickly as restrictions are lifted, simply because staying home without incomes is not an option for many people in these countries,” it added."

2:00 PM

FM announces new employment generation scheme

The Centre takes a Keynesian turn to boost the job market.

PTI reports: "Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced a new job creation scheme by giving subsidy to those establishments that make new hires.

The subsidy would be to cover for retirement fund contributions by employees as well as employers for two years, she said.

Employees contribution (12 per cent of wages) and employer’s contribution (12 per cent of wages) totalling 24 per cent of wages would be given to establishments for two years, she said.

Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, every Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) registered establishment taking new employees would get this subsidy.

The scheme will cover any new employee joining employment in EPFO-registered establishment on monthly wages less than Rs 15,000 crore.

It would also cover EPF members drawing monthly wages of less than Rs 15,000, who made an exit from employment during COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 and is employed on or after October 1, 2020.

The scheme would cover establishments registered with EPFO if they add new employees compared to the reference base of employees as in September 2020.

The condition would be adding a minimum of two new employees for establishments with up to 50 employees. Those establishments with more than 50 employees, would have to give a minimum of five new jobs.

The scheme would be operational till June 30, 2021."

1:30 PM

Nirmala Sitharaman announces second economic stimulus programme

Highlights from the Finance Minister's press conference:

* There is strong recovery in economy; active COVID-19 cases have declined

* GST collection rose 10% y-o-y in Oct, bank credit improved 5.1%; energy consumption growth trend higher

* One-nation-one-ration card now in 28 states and UTs

* New Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana to incentivse creation of new employment during COVID-19 recovery phase

* Central govt to give subsidy to establishments doing new hiring to cover for retirement fund contributions for new jobs for 2 yrs

* Rs 18,000 cr additional outlay for PM Awas Yojana (Urban)

* Doubling of differential between circle rate and agreement value for primary sale of residential units of up to Rs 2 crore

* Rs 65,000-crore fertiliser subsidy for farmers

* Rs 900 crore provided for COVID-19 vaccine research; actual cost of vaccine, distribution cost will be separate

12:30 PM

SpiceJet loss worsens negative worth

SpiceJet on Wednesday reported a net loss of ₹105.6 crore for the quarter ended September, resulting in the worsening of its negative worth to ₹2,286.6 crore. Its auditors warned that its losses would have been more than double had the airline not included compensation sought from Boeing for the grounding of its 13 737 MAX aircraft, but regarding which there was no certainty.

While the airline’s revenues declined 62.9% from a year earlier, it was also able to tighten its operational expenses and employee costs. The carrier said it was currently operating at 52% of its pre-COVID schedule and that the seat occupancy on its aircraft was at 73% on an average. Almost 30% of its passenger revenue came from charter services.

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12:00 PM

Sequoia Capital-backed Indigo Paints files for Rs 1,000-crore IPO

Another big IPO about to hit the markets.

PTI reports: "Sequoia Capital-backed Indigo Paints has filed preliminary papers with markets regulator Sebi to raise about Rs 1,000 crore through an initial public offering.

The IPO comprises fresh issuance of stocks aggregating to Rs 300 crore and an offer-for-sale of up to 58,40,000 equity shares by private equity firm Sequoia Capital, through its two funds SCI Investments IV and SCI Investments V, and promoter, Hemant Jalan, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP).

Net proceeds from the issue would be used for expansion of the existing manufacturing facility at Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, for purchasing of tinting machines and gyro shakers and repayment/prepayment of borrowings.

According to market sources, the initial public offering (IPO) is expected to fetch Rs 1,000 crore.

Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, Edelweiss Financial Services and ICICI Securities are the book running lead managers to the issue.

The Pune-based company manufactures a range of decorative paints and has an extensive distribution network across the country.

As of September 30, 2020, the company has three manufacturing facilities located in Rajasthan, Kerala and Tamil Nadu."

11:30 AM

Virtual offices may be a reality by 2030, Ericsson survey finds

With the pandemic acting as a digital tipping point, virtual office experiences including being able to touch things at the office while sitting at home, could be reality by 2030, a report by Ericsson reveals.

“India is in a very good position to take the lead in such technologies due to the high interest levels compared to most other countries,” said Michael Björn, head of Research Agenda at Ericsson Consumer and IndustryLab, and author of ‘The Dematerialized Office’.

“When you introduce new technologies in companies, the perspective of the employee is going to be very important,” he said, adding that there was a big opportunity for companies in India to be at the forefront of such types of technologies, including AR/VR, going forward.

The report, which compiles the findings of a July online survey of 7,842 white collar workers in countries including Australia, China, India, Japan, Russia, UAE, the U.K. and the U.S., shows that half of the respondents wanted a digital workstation allowing full-sense presence at work from anywhere.

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11:00 AM

Markets don't seem to care about Trump's claims of voter fraud


10:40 AM

Rupee slips 9 paise to 74.45 against US dollar in early trade

After yesterday's losses, the rupee continues to weaken against the US dollar.

PTI reports: "The rupee depreciated 9 paise to 74.45 against the US dollar in opening trade on Thursday, tracking muted domestic equities.

The local unit opened at 74.44 against the greenback at the interbank forex market, then lost further ground and touched 74.45, down 9 paise over its last close.

On Wednesday, the rupee declined by 18 paise to close at 74.36 against the US dollar.

“The euphoria around a Joe Biden victory (in the US presidential election) and a vaccine becoming available by the year-end seems to be slowly settling down, said Abhishek Goenka, Founder and CEO, IFA Global.

The overall risk sentiment, however, continues to remain positive, he said, adding that the dollar though has made a comeback against majors and commodity currencies.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, fell 0.02 per cent to 93.02.

On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex was trading 202.76 points lower at 43,390.91, and the broader NSE Nifty fell 52.10 points to 12,697.05.

The government on Wednesday approved a Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for ten key sectors, including telecom, automobiles and pharmaceuticals, taking the total outlay for such incentives to nearly Rs 2 lakh crore over a five-year period.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to address the media later in the day.

“The yield on the 10-year benchmark bond has gradually been inching higher on account of higher US treasury yields and higher crude prices. The Reserve Bank of India shall conduct Rs 10,000-crore operation twist today,” Goenka added.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 6,207.19 crore on a net basis on Wednesday, according to provisional exchange data.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.18 per cent to USD 43.88 per barrel."

10:20 AM

GDP shrank 8.6% in Q2 pushing economy into recession: RBI

India’s economy rebounded sharply in the wake of the reopening from lockdowns, slowing the pace of its contraction to 8.6% in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, the RBI ‘nowcast’ in its monthly Bulletin released on Wednesday.

Still, the estimate implies that India is likely to have entered a technical recession in the first half of 2020-21 for the first time in its history with two successive quarters of GDP contraction, the central bank said.

“At a time when global economic activity is besieged by the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19... data for the month of October 2020 have brightened the near-term outlook for the Indian economy and stirred up consumer and business confidence,” the RBI noted. “There are, however, formidable downside risks that confront the path of recovery,” it added.

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10:00 AM

Sensex declines over 200 points in early trade; Nifty slips below 12,700

The indices' 8-day winning streak could come to an end today.

PTI reports: "Equity benchmark Sensex dropped over 200 points in early trade on Thursday, tracking losses in financial stocks ahead of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s press conference.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 226.79 points or 0.52 per cent lower at 43,366.88.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty slipped 60 points or 0.47 per cent to 12,689.15.

IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 3 per cent, followed by HDFC twins, Kotak Bank, SBI, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank.

On the other hand, M&M, Sun Pharma, Infosys, HUL and Nestle India were trading with gains.

In the previous session, Sensex settled 316.02 points or 0.73 per cent higher at 43,593.67, while Nifty vaulted 118.05 points or 0.93 per cent to close at a record 12,749.15.

The government on Wednesday approved a Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for ten key sectors, including telecom, automobiles and pharmaceuticals, taking the total outlay for such incentives to nearly Rs 2 lakh crore over a five-year period.

Foreign institutional investors remained net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 6,207.19 crore on Wednesday, according to provisional exchange data.

Domestic trade set up does not look inspiring as of now as the market is expected to take a pause here, said Arjun Yash Mahajan Head Institutional Business at Reliance Securities.

“However, the possibility of announcement of additional fiscal stimulus by the government shortly may keep sentiment alive,” he added.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to address the media later in the day.

On the global front, US equities ended mostly higher mainly supported by technology stocks as continued surge in new coronavirus cases and resultant restrictions in select cities in the US made investors flock to stocks which emerged as winners during lockdown, Mahajan said.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Tokyo were trading higher in mid-session deals, while Hong Kong and Seoul were in the red.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.18 per cent higher at USD 43.88 per barrel."

9:30 AM

Chinese shoppers spend over $100 billion in shopping fest

Chinese consumers spent over a hundred billion dollars during this year’s Singles’ Day shopping festival, signaling a rebound in consumption as China recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and a battering of the economy.

From November 1 to November 11, shoppers spent 498.2 billion yuan ($75.1 billion) on Taobao and Tmall, the e-commerce platforms operated by Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company.

The final sales figure exceeded last year’s $38.4 billion over 24 hours, after Alibaba extended its sales period this year for the first time as it sought to help boost sales for merchants affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

On rival platform, consumers racked up 271.5 billion yuan ($40.9 billion) in sales over the same period.

The annual Singles’ Day shopping festival, the world’s largest of its kind, offers shoppers generous discounts on a variety of products, from fresh produce to luxury items.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 5:30:50 PM |

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