BQuick On Dec. 17: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes  
Containers sit stacked at sunset at the Uiwang Inland Container Depot in South Korea. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

BQuick On Dec. 17: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes  

This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.

1. Indian Markets Rise To A Fresh Record

Indian equity benchmarks resumed gains after a one-day blip and closed at record highs.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex rose 1.01 percent to end at an all-time high at 41,352.17.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 rose 0.92 percent to close at record high at 12,165.
  • The broader markets represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index rose 0.8 percent.
  • Meanwhile, the NSE Nifty Bank Index, too, crossed a new milestone. The 12-share gauge rose 0.52 percent to end at an all-time high at 32,140.25.
  • Nine out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by NSE ended higher.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

Prince Pipes & Fittings Ltd. will launch its three-day initial public offering on Wednesday as it plans to repay loans and promoters look to pare holdings.

To find out everything about the offer, click here.

BQuick On Dec. 17: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes  

U.S. stocks rose in early trading Tuesday as consumer and financial shares fueled a tentative rally. The dollar gained, while 10-year Treasuries slid.

  • The S&P 500 Index increased 0.1 percent to 3,193.92 as of 9:41 a.m. New York time, hitting the highest on record with its fifth consecutive advance.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 0.7 percent to 414.83, the first retreat in a week and the biggest dip in more than two weeks.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.9 percent to $60.74 a barrel, the highest in three months.

Get your fix of global markets update here.

Also read: Aramco Drops for First Time Since Last Week’s Record IPO

2. NBCC Finally Gets Jaypee Infratech

Jaypee Infratech Ltd.'s creditors, including lenders and homebuyers, have approved the bid of state-owned NBCC (India) Ltd. to acquire the debt-laden realty firm under insolvency process, according to people in the know.

  • They said that NBCC's resolution plan has been approved by the Committee of Creditors with 97.36 percent voting.
  • This is the third round of bidding process to find a buyer for Jaypee Infratech, which went into Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process in August 2017.
  • The successful resolution will provide a big relief to over 20,000 homebuyers who are stuck in various housing projects launched by Jaypee Infratech in Noida and Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh) for many years.

NBCC has proposed to complete these pending projects in the next three-and-a-half years.

3. A Breather In Troubling Times For Airtel And Vodafone Idea

India’s telecom operators will continue to pay cross-network call charges for another year—a move that will benefit the two incumbent operators Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd.

  • For domestic calls, the interconnect use charge of Rs 0.06 per minute will now stay till Dec. 31, 2020, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in a media note today.
  • From Jan. 1, 2021 onwards, the termination charge for wireless to wireless domestic calls will be zero.
  • The telecom industry had been split on the issue of IUC with Reliance Jio saying that it results in windfall gains for the two older operators.
  • The deferment is a boost for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, who are already struggling to pay off over Rs 50,000 crore worth of penalties ordered by the Supreme Court. That’s because are net earners of IUC due to their relatively larger subscriber base.

Here’s what the regulator said was a key reason to defer the scrapping of IUC.

4. Chit Funds 2.0: India’s Oldest Form Of Banking Seeks New Avatar

Chit funds are among India’s oldest forms of banking. They offer a savings and borrowing mechanism to the many excluded from India’s formal financial system. Yet, they are often associated with scams ranging from the Saradha scam to the Rose Valley scam and many others.

  • Recent legislative changes, together with some new-age chit funds, are now aiming to give this age-old form of finance a newer, cleaner look.
  • Alongside a legislative overhaul, technology is playing a critical role in modernising the industry.
  • Over the last two years, a number of fintech firms have partnered with established chit fund companies and state governments.

The attempts to give the chit fund industry a new look has, however, left the all-important aspect of governance unaddressed. Read more here.

Also read: These Analysts Don’t Think Google Will Make Just Dial Irrelevant

5. Goodbye Consensus In GST Council?

As revenue collections drop, the greatest challenge to the GST structure is the potential conversion of the GST Council to a forum of divergence, debate and fractious decision-making, writes Rohan Shah.

  • Such a situation must be avoided at all costs.
  • The downward spiral of the WTO is a harsh reality of how forums of transformation can be rendered inert.
  • Centre and states have to maintain the level of statesmanship which has elevated the GST Council to its current enviable position.

We must resist the temptation to equate revenue shortfalls with evasion, as that will foster an adversarial tax environment, Shah adds.

6. India Slowdown Hurts Unilever’s Growth Prospects

Unilever stock slumped after Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope backed away from his predecessor’s growth targets as consumers around the world jilt mainstream brands.

  • The world's largest maker of fast-moving consumer goods said sales gains will be below guidance for 2019 and in the lower half of its expected range in 2020. That could be its weakest in more than a decade.
  • The company cited weakness in South Asia, West Africa and North America, after a third-quarter in which growth missed estimates
India and West Africa contributed the most to the slowdown.

Here’s what Unilever is trying to do in India to tackle the ongoing economic slowdown.

7. Ethnicity Versus Nationalism In Maharashtra

What Modi and Shah seem to fail to understand is that ethnicity often has deeper roots and could override both religion and nationality in the common interest of various castes, classes, religions, and ideologies, writes Sujata Anandan.

  • Sub-nationalism and ethnicity will always have a stronger appeal than Hindutva, secularism, or nationalism.
  • So if the Shiv Sena is asserting Marathi ethnicity against the Gujaratis, the Congress and the NCP are seeking to recapture their Maratha moorings.
  • This is also obvious from the events unfolding in the North East in response to the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Which is why, what you now hear from Uddhav Thackeray is harsher criticism than the Congress or NCP have ever offered and a cue for all opposed to the BJP.

8. Are You A Woman Seeking Equal Opportunities? You May Have To Wait 250 Years

If you’re a woman wondering how long you’ll have to wait for the same economic opportunities as your male counterparts, the answer could be more than two and half centuries, according to the World Economic Forum.

  • The economic gender gap will take 257 years to close, the WEF said, even more than the 202 years it predicted in 2018.
  • Technological change is having a disproportionate effect, with women more highly represented in roles hit hardest by automation such as retail.
  • What’s more, not enough are entering professions where wage growth is fastest, the forum said.

There are also large inequalities in almost all of the fastest-growing job clusters of the future.

BQuick On Dec. 17: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes  

Also read: New Kuwait Cabinet Has Gulf’s First Female Finance Minister

9. Anti-Citizenship Law Protests Continue To Rage Across India

Escalating protests against India’s new citizenship law have raised concerns that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies have gone too far in appealing to his Hindu nationalist base, increasing the risk of communal bloodshed and threatening to undermine his plans to attract investment.

  • Protests over the amended Citizenship Act stretched into the fifth day in West Bengal, with agitators on Tuesday blocking roads and railway tracks in parts of the state.
  • In Northeast Delhi's Seelampur area, angry protesters demanding to scrap amended law, clashed with police and pelted stones at them damaging several buses.
  • Police resorted to baton charges and fired tear gas shells on the protesters who were marching from Seelampur towards Jafrabad.
  • Incidents of stone-throwing on state-run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses were reported from various parts of Kerala as the dawn-to-dusk hartal was called.
  • Meanwhile, ten people with criminal background were arrested for allegedly being involved in the violence near Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi. None of them were students.
  • The Supreme Court told petitioners who had filed pleas against the police action on Sunday night to approach the High Court.
  • Home Minister Amit Shah asserted that there was no question of repealing the CAA despite protests.

Follow all the developments that have gripped the nation here.

10. The Best Spirits Of 2019

It is an era of abundance for the liquor lover. And this year, in particular, exemplifies that excess.

  • Whether you prefer your spirits neat, on the rocks, or in cocktail form; brown, burgundy, or clear; costing less than a decent hamburger or more than the latest iPhone, 2019 brought with it plenty of products to suit your home bar.
  • While whiskies and cognacs continue to crowd the top shelf, underdog categories such as genever, brandy, and shochu are slowly percolating into the premium space.
  • Bloomberg tasted exactly 317 spirits this year across a dozen categories.
  • And spent the past 30 days poring over notes to cull the cream from the crop.

Here are new spirits that were truly worth the money in 2019.

BQuick On Dec. 17: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes  

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