BQuick On Nov. 14: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
This is a roundup of the day’s stories in brief.
1. Two Telecom Firms And A Rs 73,967-Crore Loss
Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd. posted their worst-ever quarterly losses as they provisioned for dues pending to the government related to the 14-year-old adjusted gross revenue court dispute.
- Airtel reported a Rs 23,045-crore loss.
- The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led firm said the company has provided Rs 16,815 crore towards licence fee that is payable, while Rs 11,635 crore has been kept aside for spectrum usage charges.
- The operator said it will need significant financing to pay-off its dues.
But there's material uncertainty about its ability to continue as a going concern.
Vodafone Idea's loss was the largest ever in India.
- Net loss widened to Rs 50,922 crore.
- The firm posted an exceptional loss of Rs 30,700 crore.
- Vodafone said its ability to continue as going concern is dependent on obtaining relief from the government.
This comes after Vodafone CEO said that the Indian venture is at risk of a collapse.
2. Indian Oil: Government Stake To Fall Below 51%
India plans to reduce its stake in Indian Oil Corp. to below 51 percent while ensuring the government and state-run companies retain control of the nation’s largest oil refiner, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet will consider, as early as next week, a proposal to sell shares in some companies, including Indian Oil, to below 51 percent, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plan is not public.
- India directly holds 51.5 percent in Indian Oil, and another 25.9 percent through state-run Life Insurance Corp. of India, and explorers Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Oil India Ltd.
- Sluggish revenue collections has left Modi’s administration with little choice but to push ahead with a plan to raise a record Rs 1.05 lakh crore through asset sales.
The government can sell about 26 percent in Indian Oil and still retain indirect control.
3. Nifty Rebounds, U.S. Stocks Fluctuate
Indian equity indices rebound from two-week low, led by the gains in private lenders.
- The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.42 percent or 170.42 points to 40,286.48.
- The NSE Nifty 50 rose 0.27 percent or 31.65 points to end at 11,872.
- The broader markets represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index rose 0.17 percent.
- The market breadth, however, was tilted in favour of sellers.
- Six out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by NSE ended lower.
Follow the day’s trading action here.
Meanwhile CLSA’s India Strategist Mahesh Nadurkar has said that general insurers, life insurers and asset managers would be the best bet for the next structural play.
Here’s why he thinks so.
U.S. stocks fluctuated and bonds advanced as the risk rally that took equities to all-time highs stalled amid mixed economic data and mounting concern over a partial trade deal.
- The S&P 500 Index rose less than 0.1 percent as of 10:21 a.m. New York time.
- The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.83 percent, pushing its weekly decline to more than 10 basis points and ending talks of a reflation trade.
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1 percent to $57.59.
Get your daily fix of global markets here.
4. Why Aurobindo Pharma Fell To A Five-Year Low
Shares of Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. fell to their lowest in five years after the drugmaker said it received 14 observations from the U.S. health regulator for its manufacturing facility at Hyderabad—a move that may disrupt supplies and delay future approvals.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Form 483, a kind of inspection report, to the company’s unit IV, a general injectable formulation manufacturing facility, at Pashamylaram, Hyderabad after an inspection conducted from Nov. 4-13.
- While the nature of observations isn’t known as neither the U.S. FDA nor the company has disclosed the Form 483, the company said none of these observations are related to data integrity issues and it will respond to the regulator within a stipulated timeline.
The company, however, can continue to sell existing drugs from the plant.
5. IPL’s Big Three Money Machines
The value of the world’s biggest T-20 cricket tournament has nearly doubled in five years on the back of three of its most dominant franchises.
- The Indian Premier League was worth $6.8 billion (around Rs 41,800 crore) in 2019 from $3.2 billion five year ago, according to a report by Duff & Phelps, led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani-backed Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders.
- Among the three teams, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have won the IPL title four and three times, respectively, in 12 seasons.
- That’s boosted the teams’ brand values, which have increased over the previous year.
Here’s a break up of how the top IPL franchises earned their revenues.
6. Supreme Court Dismisses Rafale Plea, Refers Sabarimala To Larger Bench
The Supreme Court dismissed the review petitions challenging its judgment declining a probe in the Rafale fighter jet deal, saying they were “without any merit”.
- The review petitions were filed by Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Former Union Minister Arun Shourie and argued by Advocate Prashant Bhushan.
- The petitioners challenged the Supreme Court’s judgment of December 2018 wherein it had declined to order registration of an FIR and an independent investigation in the India-France deal for procurement of Rafale jets.
The court also closed the contempt plea against Rahul Gandhi for his “chowkidar chor hai” remarks.
The Supreme Court said a seven-judge bench will re-examine petitions seeking a review of the apex court’s Sabarimala verdict delivered in September 2018.
- The bench will also look at other religious issues, including entry of women in mosques and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.
- The order came after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court gave a 3:2 split decision on petitions seeking a review of the apex court's decision allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala.
CJI Gogoi said that the court should evolve a common policy on religious places like Sabarimala.
7. China’s Investment Growth Has Never Been This Slow
The engines of China’s economy are sputtering, with exports falling, factory output slowing, investment growth at a record low and consumption coming off the boil.
- The soft data underscored the need for a Phase-one trade deal with the U.S. to put a floor under business confidence.
- Even as the economy has lost steam, the government and central bank have refrained from dumping stimulus into the economy, preferring to make smaller adjustments to try and boost growth without a massive expansion in debt.
Read more about China’ weakening growth drivers, and what it means for the world economy.
8. Wholesale Inflation Falls To 40-Month Low In October
Wholesale inflation in India fell to its lowest in 40 months in October despite a rise in prices of food articles.
- That’s because fuel and power index continued to contract and core inflation weakened further.
- Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index stood at 0.16 percent in October—the lowest since June 2016—compared to 0.33 percent in September, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- A Bloomberg poll of 22 economists had estimated a contraction of 0.24 percent.
- Retail inflation, however, rose to 4.6 percent, led by a spike in vegetable prices even as core inflation fell.
DBS Bank economist Radhika Rao said the gap between wholesale and consumer price inflation is “notable”.
9. Climate Change Will Hurt Indian Kids Most
As temperatures rise in a changing climate scenario, children born in India will be particularly vulnerable to a greater health burden of malnutrition, air pollution and deadly heat waves, according to a major report published in The Lancet journal on Thursday.
- Poornima Prabhakaran, co-author of the report, noted that few countries are likely to suffer from the health effects of climate change as much as India, with its huge population and high rates of healthcare inequality, poverty, and malnutrition.
- In India, she noted, diarrhoeal infections, a major cause of child mortality, will spread into new areas, whilst deadly heatwaves, similar to the one in 2015 that killed thousands of people in the country, could soon become the norm.
- Harvests will shrink as temperatures rise, threatening food security and driving up food prices. And infants and small children will suffer the most.
But the threats don't there.
10. Moto Razr Is Back...But It’s 15 Times Costlier
Motorola is rebooting the iconic Razr flip phone as a 6.2-inch smartphone with a foldable display that gives the Lenovo-owned brand a unique selling point against Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.’s finest.
- The new device reprises the Motorola Razr name and looks like a modernized version of the original.
- It costs $1,499 and will be available for pre-order in December in Europe and as a Verizon exclusive in the U.S., ahead of its retail arrival in January.
- Launched in late 2004, the first Razr became a cultural icon in the U.S., sold 130 million units and was the face of the phone industry before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007.
The Razr is no bargain, but it’s the most affordable foldable phone right now.