Today's top business news: Stocks scale record high levels on vaccine boost, China factory output faster than expected, gold dips on increasing risk appetite among investors, and more

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

The benchmark stock indices have opened the day on a positive note once again on encouraging news on the vaccine front.

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

4:30 PM

The best business books of 2020

 

4:00 PM

Sensex rallies over 300 points to hit fresh peak

The good days keep coming for stocks.

PTI reports: "Equity benchmark Sensex surged 315 points to close at a fresh lifetime high on Tuesday, driven by heavy buying in metal, industrials, banking and finance stocks.

After touching its all-time peak of 44,161.16 during the session, the 30-share BSE index settled 314.73 points or 0.72 per cent higher at 43,952.71.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty touched a fresh intra-day high of 12,934.05. It finally finished 93.95 points or 0.74 per cent up at its closing record of 12,874.20.

Tata Steel was the top gainer among the Sensex constituents, surging around 6 per cent, followed by SBI, HDFC Bank, Bajaj Finance, Axis Bank, LT, Maruti, IndusInd Bank and HDFC.

On the other hand, NTPC, HCL Tech, ONGC, Infosys, ITC, PowerGrid, and Hindustan Unilever were in the red.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Seoul ended in the red, while Hong Kong and Tokyo closed with gains.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a mixed note in early deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.25 per cent lower at USD 43.71 per barrel."

3:30 PM

Covid-triggered ‘Work from home’ norm spikes housing demand in city suburbs

Yet another interesting pandemic-induced change in consumer behavior.

PTI reports: "COVID-19-triggered ‘work from home’ norm has increased residential demand in suburbs in Bangaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi-NCR and Pune, according to real estate platform NoBroker.com.

Areas that were not previously considered by working professionals are now experiencing greater demand, it said, citing latest data.

Potential homebuyers were earlier researching best localities to buy a house near their workplace.

But data from the platform shows how it has all changed since the onset of the pandemic.

Earlier, proximity to workplace took the topmost spot among homebuyers’ considerations.

“But ever since the Covid-19 outbreak triggered the new normal and work from home became the norm, the demand in areas other than the ones located near IT hubs has been increasing,” it said in a statement.

In Bangaluru, localities such as Whitefield, Marathahalli, HSR Layout, and Electronic city which were sought-after in pre-Covid times, have experienced a decrease in demand.

Localities that are attracting greater interest from homebuyers post May 2020 include Horamavu (32 per cent), Yelahanka (56 per cent), RT Nagar (42 per cent), and Hebbal (36 per cent), according to its data.

The prices in areas that are not strategically located around IT hubs are more affordable and living conditions are better as they experience less traffic.

The NoBroker portal has registered a growing demand for bigger houses like three and four BHKs.

A similar pattern is being observed in Chennai as well.

The platform has received more queries for localities such as Ambattur (46 per cent), Perambur (105 per cent), Kolathur (77 per cent), Mylapore (31 per cent) and Valasaravakkam (26 per cent).

Only a few months ago, the more popular and in demand areas were Velachery, Madipakkam, Pallikaranai, Porur, and Choolaimedu.

The data on the platform also indicated a similar trend in Hyderabad where areas such as Malkajgiri (26 per cent), Kothapet (18 per cent), Nagole (19 per cent), Toli Chowki (nine per cent) and Ramachandra Puram (12 per cent) are more in demand than ever before.

In Delhi-NCR, some of the regions that are experiencing a spike in demand in the post-pandemic landscape include Rohini (126 per cent), Dwarka (73 per cent), Vaishali (69 per cent), Okhla (53 per cent), and Indirapuram (53 per cent).

In Pune, the regions that homebuyers are showing keener interest in include Baner (28 per cent), Ambegaon BK (16 per cent), Wadgaon Sheri (31 per cent), Hinjewadi (68 per cent), and Wagholi (25 per cent), it was stated."

3:00 PM

Rupee settles 16 paise higher at 74.46 against US dollar

A good day for the rupee despite the loss of some opening gains.

PTI reports: "The rupee on Tuesday appreciated by 16 paise to settle at 74.46 (provisional) against the US dollar on the back of improved demand for riskier assets after positive news on coronavirus vaccine.

Besides, a weak dollar overseas also supported the local unit.

At the interbank forex market, the domestic unit opened strong at 74.43 against the US dollar and later touched a high of 74.38 in day trade.

The local unit finally closed at 74.46 against the US dollar, registering a gain of 16 paise over its previous close. On Friday, the rupee had settled at 74.62 against the US dollar.

Forex market was closed on Monday on account of Balipratipada.

US-based biotechnology giant Moderna announced on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be 94.5 per cent effective in preventing the deadly disease, bringing a glimmer of hope to a world ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna’s announcement comes just a week after Pfizer and BioNtech said their COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, dropped 0.24 per cent to 92.41.

On the equity front, the 30-share BSE index rallied 314.73 points or 0.72 per cent to close at 43,952.71 and the broader NSE Nifty gained 93.95 points or 0.74 per cent to settle at 12,874.20.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.18 per cent to USD 43.90 per barrel."

2:00 PM

PLI scheme signals dramatic shift in attitude towards industry: Anand Mahindra

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra has said that the government’s announcement of a production-linked incentive scheme for 10 more sectors, including auto, signals a “dramatic shift” in the attitude towards industry.

On November 11, the Cabinet approved production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for 10 more sectors, including automobiles and auto parts, pharmaceuticals, textiles and food products, with an outlay of about ₹1,45,980 crore over a period of five years.

Under another PLI scheme, an outlay of ₹51,311 crore has already been approved.

“I took some time to explore the contours of this initiative. I don’t use the term ‘game-changer’ too often but it’s apt in this case. For me, what’s much more important than the mechanics of the scheme is the dramatic shift it signals in the attitude towards industry,” Mr. Mahindra said in a tweet.

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1:30 PM

Gold dips as vaccine hopes offset softer dollar, virus woes

The gold rally seems headed for significant resistance.

Reuters reports: "Gold prices eased on Tuesday as market optimism over a second possible COVID-19 vaccine countered a subdued dollar and concerns over rising coronavirus cases globally. Spot gold eased 0.1% to $1,886.83 per ounce by 0744 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were down 0.1% to $1,885.40.

“The optimism over a COVID-19 vaccine is dampening demand for the precious metal,” said FXTM market analyst Han Tan.

While a Democrat-driven agenda in the U.S. Senate may result in larger fiscal stimulus and thereby boost gold, a vaccine-fuelled U.S. economic recovery may re-energize the dollar and push gold to sub-$1,850 levels, Tan added. Propping up bullion, the dollar index was down 0.1%. Gold dropped as much as 1.3% on Monday after Moderna said its vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker after Pfizer to report results exceeding expectations.

Meanwhile, Asian shares pushed into record territory on vaccine optimism. However, the monetary environment is still very accommodative and may stay at current levels into spring 2021, providing near-term support for gold, said Margaret Yang, strategist at DailyFX.

Gold, considered a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, has gained over 24% this year, mainly benefiting from global stimulus to cushion the effect of the pandemic.

President-elect Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a new coronavirus relief package, while new restrictions were placed in several U.S. states to curb surging cases. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida on Monday acknowledged the new vaccine as a positive for economic recovery and said that the central bank would apply an expansive view of the labour market before deciding on any rate hikes.

Silver fell 0.7% to $24.57 per ounce. Platinum slipped 0.7% to $918.76, while palladium eased 0.4% to $2,322.76."

1:00 PM

India considers easing investment rules from neighbours, including China - ET

Some respite in the economic tensions between India and China.

Reuters reports: "India is considering a plan to allow up to 26% foreign direct investment from countries with which it shares a land border, including China, without government scrutiny for some sectors, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday, citing government officials.

In April, India had stepped up scrutiny of investments from companies based in neighbouring countries, in what is widely seen as a move to stave off takeovers by Chinese firms during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Indian government's April 17 notification had said investments from an entity in a country that shares a land border with India will require government approval, meaning they can not go through a so-called automatic route.

The Economic Times report https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/govt-mulls-easing-rules-for-border-nation-fdi/articleshow/79253468.cms said that a panel of top government officials was discussing various options on easing rules for investment from neighbours and a decision is likely soon.

The commerce and industry ministry did not immediately reply to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

Tensions between India and China remain high with tens of thousands of troops deployed along the remote Himalayan border, even as the two countries are formulating a plan to end months of military standoff."

12:30 PM

Pfizer moves U.S. court against Aurobindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy’s on cancer drug

Pfizer Inc. and its group companies fileda petition in a U.S. court against Aurobindo Pharma Ltd and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories alleging that the Indian drug makers were planning separately to come out with generic versions of itsblockbuster multi-billion dollar drug Ibrance (palbociclib)before expiration ofits patent.

Pfizer filed the possible patent infringement petition against both the companies in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on two counts last week.

Palbociclib is used to treat a certain type of breast cancer and works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

Ibrance clocked nearly $5 billion revenues globally including $3.25 billion in the USA in 2019, according to Pfizer’s 2019 annual report.

In March 2019, several generic companies notified us that they had filed abbreviated new drug applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking approval to market generic versions of Ibrance.

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12:00 PM

Tata Steel rallies 7%; hits 52-week high on bourses

Momentum returns to revive Tata Steel's stock.

PTI reports: "Shares of Tata Steel rallied 7 per cent in early trade on Tuesday and hit its 52-week high levels on the bourses after the company’s India operations, generated strong set of numbers for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

The stock of Tata Steel opened on a bullish note at Rs 504.70, then gained further ground and touched a high of Rs 529.50 on BSE, up 7.60 per cent from its previous close.

Similar movement was witnessed on the NSE as well, where the stock opened at Rs 506, then gained further and touched its 52-week high of Rs 525.65, registering a gain of 6.80 per cent over its previous close.

Tata steel reported consolidated EBITDA of Rs 54 billion, significantly higher than market expectation “driven by out-performance in Standalone India operations,” JM Financial Institutional Securities said in a research note.

“India operations delivered an EBITDA of Rs 47 billion (vs. JM Financial’s estimate of Rs 35 billion) - implying an EBITDA/t of Rs 13.9k driven by significant operating leverage as volumes increased 61 per cent QoQ,” the report said.

Tata Steel Executive Director and CFO Koushik Chatterjee said that despite the pandemic, the company has delivered one of the best quarterly results in India in recent times. “This was driven by relentless focus on operating performance and a reduction in our cash costs by almost 14 per cent on a quarter on quarter basis,” he said.

India operations, he said, generated an Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of Rs 6,025 crore during July-September 2020. The Ebitda during the same quarter of the previous financial year was at Rs 4,033 crore, according to company data.

However, Tata Steel’s consolidated net profit declined about 50 per cent to Rs 1,665.07 crore in the September 2020 quarter. The company had clocked a net profit of Rs 3,302.31 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year."

11:30 AM

China factory output faster than expected: National Statistics Bureau

China’s factory output rose faster than expected in October and retail sales sped up, as the recovery from its COVID-19 slump gathered momentum.

Industrial production climbed 6.9% in October from a year earlier, data from the National Statistics Bureau showed on Monday, in line with September’s gain and faster than the 6.5% rise expected in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The upbeat figures came as other Asian powerhouses also climbed out from their pandemic depths with Japan’s economy reporting its fastest quarterly growth on record.

China’s industrial sector has staged an impressive turnaround from the pandemic paralysis seen earlier this year, helped by resilient exports. Now, with the coronavirus largely under control in China, consumers are opening up their wallets again in a further boost to activity.

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11:00 AM

Italy risk premium drops on ECB support

 

10:40 AM

Rupee rises 24 paise to 74.38 against US dollar in early trade

The rupee had a bullish opening against the US dollar this morning.

PTI reports: "The rupee appreciated by 24 paise to 74.38 against the US dollar in opening trade on Tuesday, tracking positive domestic equities amid improved risk appetite.

Forex dealers said a weak dollar overseas supported the local unit.

At the interbank forex market, the domestic unit opened strong at 74.43 against the US dollar, then gained further ground to touch 74.38, registering a rise of 24 paise over its last close.

In the previous session, the rupee had settled at 74.62 against the US dollar.

“Global risk sentiment continues to remain positive. After Pfizer, Moderna’s vaccine trials have yielded promising results (trials indicate it is 94.5 per cent effective in preventing Coronavirus and vaccine also does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures unlike Pfizer’s),” said Abhishek Goenka, Founder and CEO, IFA Global.

Goenka further said that “the Rupee has been the worst performing Asian currency year to date. With inflation currently high primarily on account of higher food prices, we believe the RBI will gradually continue to weaken the Rupee in relative terms while continuing to manage volatility“.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, dipped 0.15 per cent to 92.50.

According to a Reliance Securities research note, “the safe-haven appeal for the greenback reduced after Moderna Inc became the second US company in a week to report positive results from its COVID-19 vaccine trial.

On the equity front, the 30-share BSE index rallied 274.66 points or 0.63 per cent to scale the fresh peak of 43,912.64. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty gained 74.45 points or 0.58 per cent to a lifetime high of 12,854.70.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.68 per cent to USD 44.12 per barrel."

10:20 AM

A day after RCEP, Jaishankar slams trade pacts, globalisation

India has allowed other countries “unfair” trade and manufacturing advantages “in the name of openness”, asserted External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, in a speech criticising the effects of globalisation on Monday. Speaking just a day after the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed, Mr. Jaishankar was particularly scathing of trade agreements, which he said had forced India to “deindustrialise”.

“In the name of openness, we have allowed subsidised products and unfair production advantages from abroad to prevail. And all the while, this was justified by the mantra of an open and globalised economy,” Mr. Jaishankar said at the Deccan Dialogue conference supported by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Without directly referring to the RCEP, the world’s largest trading bloc that India decided to walk out of a year ago, Mr. Jaishankar said that the government had decided to move away from trading arrangements, towards an “Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-dependent India)” policy where India could decide the rules and consolidate “comprehensive national power”.

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10:00 AM

Sensex, Nifty scale record high levels supported by positive vaccine news

The good news keep pouring in for stocks.

PTI reports: "Equity benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty opened on a bullish note and hit record high levels in early trade on Tuesday, tracking positive cues from global markets amid improved risk appetite supported by fresh vaccine news.

The 30-share BSE index rallied 274.66 points or 0.63 per cent to scale the fresh peak of 43,912.64.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty gained 74.45 points or 0.58 per cent to a lifetime high of 12,854.70.

Tata Steel was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising over 4 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, SBI, HDFC Bank, M&M, Asian Paints and Reliance Industries.

On the other hand, HCL Tech, Infosys, Bajaj Auto, ITC, Axis Bank and Bajaj Finance were among the losers.

In the special Muhurat trading session to mark the beginning of Hindu Samvat year 2077 on Saturday, BSE Sensex soared 194.98 points or 0.45 per cent to close at a record 43,637.98. The broader NSE Nifty advanced 60.30 points, or 0.47 per cent, to finish at its lifetime high of 12,780.25.

Equity markets were closed on Monday on account of Balipratipada.

On the global front, US equities surged to record high after biotech group Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective.

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

The wholesale price-based inflation on Monday rose to an eight-month high of 1.48 per cent in October, as manufactured products turned costlier.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.75 per cent to USD 44.15 per barrel."

9:30 AM

S&P 500, Dow close at all-time highs on reignited vaccine hopes

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average notched record closing highs on Monday as news of another promising coronavirus vaccine fanned hopes of eradicating COVID-19, while spiking infections and new shutdowns threatened to hobble a recovery from the pandemic recession.

All three major U.S. stock indexes advanced and with its new closing record, the blue-chip Dow is the last of the three to reclaim levels reached in February, before lockdowns sent the markets into free-fall.

The Russell 2000 also hit an all-time closing high.

Value, cyclical and small cap shares outperformed the broader market.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 3:08:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/businesslive-17-november-2020/article33112674.ece

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