BQuick On Sept. 6: Top 10 News Stories In Under 10 Minutes
This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.
1. Section 377: Historic Verdict
The Supreme Court today decriminalised consensual sex between homosexuals in a decision that partially struck down a 158-year-old colonial-era law.
- The top court, while reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, said it violates the LGBT community’s right to equality, right to dignity and privacy.
- Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the law violated the right to equality enshrined in the constitution and was being used as a ‘weapon of discrimination’.
History owes an apology to the members of this community and their families, for the delay in providing redressal for the ignominy and ostracism that they have suffered through the centuries.Justice Indu Malhotra In Her Judgment
Read the highlights of this landmark ruling.
2. Aurobindo Pharma Goes Shopping In The U.S.
Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. acquired the commercial operations and three manufacturing facilities in the U.S. from Novartis AG’s generic division Sandoz Inc. for $900 million, according to its stock exchange notification.
- The acquisition was done on an all-cash basis.
- The deal will be financed through debt.
- The acquisition provides an opportunity to acquire a premier U.S. generics business with a sizable and broad portfolio across key therapeutic areas, Aurobindo Pharma said.
For the deal synergies and brokerage reactions, read this.
3. Rupee Breaches 72/$
The Indian rupee crossed the 72-mark against the U.S. dollar for the first time, as weakness across emerging market currencies, rising oil prices and limited intervention from the Reserve Bank of India dragged.
- The rupee dropped as much as 0.5 percent to 72.1050 intraday against the dollar before closing at 71.99.
- The local currency has now fallen nearly 11.5 percent so far this year and continues to be the worst performer in Asia.
Here’s how a weaker rupee is stoking inflation worries.
4. Indian Markets Snap Losing Streak; U.S. Stocks Fluctuate
S&P BSE Sensex Index snapped its longest losing streak in six months led by energy and pharma stocks.
- Sensex rose 0.6 percent or 224 points to 38,243.
- Nifty 50 Index climbed 0.5 percent or 60 points to 11,537.
- S&P BSE Energy and S&P BSE Pharma indices were the top gainers, while S&P BSE Telecom Index was the top loser.
Follow the day's trading action here.
U.S. stocks struggled to rebound from a two-day decline, as investors largely ignored the political turmoil gripping Washington to focus on data ahead of Friday’s jobs report.
- The S&P 500 Index was little changed, while technology shares slipped after Wednesday’s selloff.
- The dollar fell and Treasuries edged higher after private jobs growth disappointed.
- The MSCI Emerging Market Index decreased 0.1 percent, reaching the lowest in about 14 months.
- Gold increased 0.7 percent to $1,205.23 an ounce, the biggest climb in more than a week.
Get your fix of global markets update here.
5. Tepid Response To ONGC Share Sale Plan
India’s efforts to sell a $1.6 billion stake in Oil & Natural Gas Corp. has run into concerns that government policies on fuel pricing would weigh on the state-run explorer’s share price, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
- Investors and fund managers that met with Indian government officials during a U.S. roadshow last month voiced concern that the government may reimpose fuel subsidies and that the nation’s state-set natural gas prices are too low.
- The tepid response may further set back Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to raise Rs 80,000 crore ($11 billion) by selling holdings in state-run companies during the fiscal year ending in March.
- His government has only been able to pull in about Rs 9,200 crore as of July 5.
Read more on the subsidy hurdle.
6. Bharti Infratel's Rs 780-Crore Hit
Bharti Infratel Ltd. said its consolidated revenue, including that from Indus Towers, is expected to take around Rs 780-crore hit on an annual basis, due to the exit of Vodafone and Idea Cellular from co-located mobile towers.
- Following completion of Vodafone-Idea merger, the companies have served exit notices to Bharti Infratel and its subsidiary Indus Towers from 27,447 co-located mobile towers on a consolidated basis.
- The exit of these tenancies would mean reduced revenue of close to Rs 455 crore for the tower major for the remaining part of the ongoing financial year.
Read more on how Bharti Infratel plans to mitigate the impact.
7. SEBI Panel Prefers Common Custodians For Equities And Commodities
Allowing custodians of securities to also track and store commodities will be a cost-effective way to boost participation of institutional investors in the commodity market, according to a working group set up by the regulator.
- This option, called the universal model, is more cost effective, less complex and preferred by institutions, according to the group’s report.
- Custodians are responsible for safeguarding and storing securities and other assets.
- The group also proposed a second model of allowing warehousing firms to become custodians. But this option, according to the report, is complex, cost ineffective and is not favoured by institutional investors.
Here’s more on the panel’s recommendations.
8. Why Some Flights Are Cheaper Than Trains
Autorickshaw rides, according to Union Minister Jayant Sinha, are more expensive than air travel by cost per kilometre. That may be hyperbole, but cheap airfares have inflicted pain on carriers when fuel prices surged.
- How cheap is air travel? Cheaper than train rides at least.
- An air ticket for a Mumbai-Delhi flight may cost as low as Rs 2,200 if booked 15 days in advance, according to data compiled by BloombergQuint from MakeMyTrip, as of 2:00 p.m. on Sept. 5.
- That compares with lowest fare of Rs 2,400 charged by the Indian Railways, for air-conditioned travel, according to data compiled from Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.
- Similarly, cheapest air tickets cost lower than Mumbai-Kolkata rail ticket prices.
Understand the genesis of cutthroat airfares.
9. India, U.S. Ink Critical Defence Pact
A long-negotiated defence pact under which critical and encrypted defence technologies will be provided to the Indian military by the U.S. was inked Thursday after the two countries held their first 2+2 dialogue.
- The ‘Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement’ will allow India to obtain critical defence technologies from the U.S.
- India and U.S. also discussed key issues, including cross-border terrorism, India's Nuclear Suppliers Group bid and the contentious H-1B visa issue.
Here’s more on the takeaways from 2+2 talks.
10. Stage Set For Early Elections In Telangana
Opposition parties hit out at Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for his decision to recommend early dissolution of the state assembly.
- The main opposition, Congress, said that the Chief Minister owed an explanation to the people as to what necessitated him to cut short the Assembly’s tenure.
- Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Spokesperson Sravan Dasoju alleged that there was a "dubious pact" pact between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rao.
- The BJP said that Rao has "full-scale fear" that he might not be able to come back to power if elections are held as per schedule next year.
Read more on the impact of dissolution of Telangana assembly.