BQuick On Dec. 19: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes   
People sit reading newspapers in Bangalore, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

BQuick On Dec. 19: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes  

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

1. Citizenship Law Protests Gather Steam Across The Country

Simultaneous protests took place in multiple cities on Thursday with thousands-strong crowds of students, activists and others defying prohibitory orders to voice their dissent against the newly amended citizenship law.

  • Delhi: Scores of protesters were dragged into buses by police in a bid to clear the area near Red Fort where Section 144 was imposed. Swaraj Abhiyan President Yogendra Yadav and student leader Umar Khalid were among those detained. As many as 19 metro stations were closed and mobile services were briefly suspended.
  • Mumbai: Thousands held a demonstration at Mumbai's August Kranti Maidan, the place where in 1942 Mahatma Gandhi told British rulers to quit India. Drones, riot control police and SRPF personnel were deployed at the historic Maidan.
  • Bengaluru: Historian Ramachandra Guha and many others were detained on Thursday for staging a demonstration at the Town Hall in Bengaluru, in defiance of the prohibitory orders imposed in the city.

Click here to find out how India reacted to the contentious policies.

2. RBI Announces India’s Version Of ‘Operation Twist’

The central bank announced a simultaneous sale and purchase of government bonds under its open market operation programme, in a strategy akin to the ‘Operation Twist’ adopted in the United States.

  • The Indian central bank will buy long-term bonds, while simultaneously selling short-term government securities.
  • The decision will help bring down India’s long term-bond yields, which have been trading with a spread of 150 basis points over the RBI’s overnight repo rate.
  • The exercise will also push up short-term rates, which have been trading below the repo rate due to surplus liquidity conditions.

The RBI wades into managing the yield curve.

Also read: Inflation Worries Rattle Asia’s Most Dovish Policy Makers

3. Another Day, Another Record For Indian Benchmarks

Indian equity benchmarks closed at an all-time high for the third day in a row paced by gains in Reliance Industries Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.28 percent to close at record high of 41,673.92.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 rose 0.31 percent to 12,259.70.
  • The broader markets represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index rose 0.28 percent.
  • Six out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by NSE ended higher.
BQuick On Dec. 19: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes   

Check the day’s trading action here.

U.S. stocks edged toward fresh records as investors chased gains that have added more than $5 trillion to valuations this year. Government bonds fell around the world as a string of central banks kept their interest rates steady while one raised its benchmark.

  • The S&P 500 Index rose 0.2% as of 9:32 a.m. New York time.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was flat.
  • The British pound sank 0.3% to $1.3044.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 0.2% to $60.79 a barrel.

Get your fix of global markets update.

Also read: Roughed Up India Bonds Greet 2020 With Hope 

4. Trump Impeached; Trial Early Next Year

The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump in historic voting on Thursday—the culmination of an effort by Democrats that further inflamed partisan tensions in Washington.

  • Trump could be only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached -- and likely the only impeached president to win his party’s nomination for re-election.
  • The House voted to adopt the first of two impeachment articles, one alleging he misused his power to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the other accusing him of obstructing Congress.
  • The Senate will hold a trial early next year to decide whether the president should be convicted on the charges and removed from office, though the Republicans who have the majority in that chamber will almost certainly acquit him.

The drama now shifts to the Senate for a trial next month.

5. Expect ARPU To Rise By 100/Month: Sunil Bharti Mittal

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel Ltd., said he expects average revenue per user to go up to Rs 300 per month from the current Rs 200.

  • Recent tariff hikes were taken to meet the requirement of investments in new networks and technology such as 5G.
  • On the lower end, ARPU to be at Rs 100 per customer over a month of consuming rich data voice and other services and Rs 450-550 on the upper end, he told reporters after attending pre-budget meeting with Finance Minister Sitharaman.

‘But ARPU still remains by far the lowest anywhere in the world’

6. Mistry Legally Entitled To Attend Tata Son’s Next Board Meet

There are two important outcomes of Cyrus Mistry’s second-round win in the battle against Tata Sons.

  • The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal order has restored his directorship positions on all Tata company boards that he earlier held.
  • The appellate tribunal also found Tata Sons’ affairs were conducted by its board, Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata and others in a manner “prejudicial” and “oppressive” to its shareholders, namely Mistry whose family owns 18.7 percent of the company.

The order has also circumscribed the role of majority shareholders in the board’s decision-making process.

7. Brookfield Said To Consider REIT Listing In India

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is considering bundling its commercial real estate assets in India into real estate investment trust for a listing next year, according to Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter.

  • Brookfield could raise around $1 billion in funds and is considering including about 15 million square feet to 20 million square feet of real estate.
  • A successful listing would follow the April debut of Embassy Office Parks REIT, backed by Blackstone Group that has gained about 41 percent since it started trading.

Deliberations are at an early stage, and Brookfield could still decide against pursuing the transaction.

8. Why Indian Units Of Pharma MNCs Are Emerging As A Safe Bet

Listed subsidiaries of foreign drugmakers have outperformed their domestic peers and the benchmark Nifty Pharma Index this year. Here’s why.

  • All the foreign firms that are listed in India cater largely to the untapped domestic market, according to a CLSA report.
  • The government has exempted patented drugs from price control for five years. That’s making it attractive for parent companies to launch patented products in India.
  • Listed foreign drugmakers in India command a market share of over 15 percent as of November, AIOCD AWACS said. The share jumps to over 20 percent if unlisted firms are included.

Indian pharmaceutical market is estimated to nearly triple in 10 years.

9. Facebook Pursues Music Video Rights To Take On YouTube

Facebook Inc. is pursuing rights to music videos from major record labels, programming that could boost interest in its Watch video service, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

  • The company is negotiating new licensing deals with the three largest music companies—Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group.
  • Music companies have been itching for Facebook to step forward and give them a credible alternative.
  • Record companies have long complained that YouTube doesn’t pay them enough, considering the amount of music consumed on the site, and they also argue that YouTube has been too loose with copyright protections.

The social media giant has already begun testing music videos in India and Thailand.

10. Big Bucks In Play At 2020 IPL Auctions

Australian cricketers hit pay dirt at the Indian Premier League players' auction with pacer Pat Cummins becoming the most expensive foreign buy ever in the league by fetching a Rs 15.50 crore bid from Kolkata Knight Riders.

  • All-rounder Glenn Maxwell returned to Kings XI Punjab with a price tag of Rs 10.75 crore.
  • Some of the other players who raked in big bucks included Chris Morris from South Africa (Rs 10 crore), Sheldon Cottrell who plays for the West Indian cricket team (Rs 8.5 crore)
  • Veteran Indian spinner Piyush Chawla became the costliest Indian player to be sold and was bought by Chennai Super Kings for Rs 6.75 crore.

Click here to know more details about the auctions.

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