The sun sets behind the ConocoPhillips Co. refinery in Richmond, California, U.S. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On Nov. 16: Top 10 Stories In 10 Under Minutes 

This is a roundup of the top stories of the day.

1. Modi Government Wants Closer Supervision Over RBI

India’s government has proposed changing rules that will enable closer supervision of the central bank, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has recommended that the board of the Reserve Bank of India draft regulations to enable setting up of panels to oversee functions including financial stability, monetary policy transmission and foreign exchange management, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.
  • The move is meant to empower the regulator’s board, which includes government nominees, and give it a supervisory role, the people said.
  • The central bank’s board is scheduled to meet on Monday.

The latest proposal may heighten tensions between the RBI and North Block.

2. Only Talks, No Proposal Yet

Tata Sons has said that talks to buy a stake in cash-strapped airline Jet Airways (India) Ltd. are in early stages and there hasn’t been any decision taken yet.

  • “Over the last few days there has been growing speculation in the print and electronic media about Tata’s interest in Jet Airways,” the firm said in an emailed media statement.
We would like to clarify that any such discussions have been preliminary and no proposal has been made.
Tata Sons Statement
  • Bloomberg had earlier reported, citing unnamed officials, that the Tata Group is conducting due diligence on Jet Airways’ accounts as it looked to expand its footprint in Indian aviation.
  • It further reported that it was the Narendra Modi administration which approached the salt-to-software conglomerate to help rescue the airline.

Here’s more on the story.

3. GAIL Mulls Buying IL&FS’ Wind Assets

India’s biggest gas utility is considering acquiring all of the wind energy assets held by a subsidiary of a troubled shadow bank, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

  • GAIL India Ltd. is looking to buy 775 megawatts of wind energy assets from IL&FS Energy Development Co., a unit of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd., and has approached investment bankers to advise on a possible deal.
  • The discussions are at a preliminary stage and a decision to bid hasn’t been made, the people said.
  • A deal will give the state-run company an opportunity to add to its existing renewable energy portfolio of 129 megawatts and help offset emissions.

For IL&FS, the asset sales are key to revive the beleaguered shadow lender.

4. Indian Markets Rise, U.S. Stocks Drop

Indian equity benchmarks rose for second day in a row paced by gains in Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Industries Ltd., and State Bank of India.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 0.6 percent or 197 points to 35,457.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 Index climbed 0.6 percent or 65 points to 10,682.
  • S&P BSE Telecom Index was the top gainer while the S&P Metal Index was the top loser.
  • The benchmarks rose for third week in a row clocking their longest rally in over two months. For the week, Sensex rose 0.85 percent and Nifty climbed 0.9 percent.
BQuick On Nov. 16: Top 10 Stories In 10 Under Minutes 

U.S. stocks fell alongside European equities, with technology shares resuming their slide as investors gauged whether China and America can de-escalate their trade dispute before the G-20 summit later this month.

  • The S&P 500 Index declined Friday morning after Nvidia Corp. gave a disappointing sales forecast and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross damped hopes of any imminent trade deal with China.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.6 percent to the lowest in over a week.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude increased 1.8 percent to $57.47 a barrel, the largest climb in more than six weeks.

5. CSD Buying Less From Consumer Goods Makers

As demand continues to recover from the twin shocks of note ban and goods and services tax, consumer goods makers face a concern. Sales to India’s largest retailer, the Canteen Stores Department of the Ministry of Defence, are falling.

  • The CSD, which reported a revenue of Rs 18,000 crore in the year ended March, contributes 5-8 percent to the revenue of Indian fast-moving consumer goods companies.
  • That’s a substantial chunk from a single buyer.
  • The CSD provides supplies to armed forces and their families through more than 4,500 department stores across the country—the most for a retail chain in India.
  • Lower demand from the canteens can be partly attributed to smart cards issued to armed forces’ personnel and their families.

FMCG companies have felt the impact.

6. What Foreign Investors Bought And Sold In October

Foreign investors remained net sellers for the second consecutive month due to a weak rupee, liquidity shortage and spree of defaults by the IL&FS group.

  • Overseas investors pulled out more than $3.9 billion (around Rs 38,900 crore) in the equity markets in October, with outflows totaling $2.5 billion in the month’s first 15 days, according to National Securities Depository Ltd. data.
  • The selloff eased in the remainder of the month.
  • The rise in oil prices scared investors the most last month, said G Chokkalingam, founder and managing director of Equinomics Research & Advisory.
The weakening rupee and the diminishing confidence in investors’ minds at sectors where they had a good exposure added to the woes further.
G Chokkalingam, Founder and MD, Equinomics Research & Advisory

7. The PSUs In Spotlight For Buybacks

Share buybacks by public sector companies could contribute substantially to the divestment proceeds as the government managed to raise less than a fifth of the targeted Rs 80,000 crore in the first seven-and-a-half months of the financial year.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has so far mopped up Rs 15,000 crore through initial public offers of state-owned companies.
  • Bloomberg reported last month citing unnamed people that the government asked public sector companies to repurchase its shares worth Rs 20,000 crore.
  • Six state-owned firms announced cumulative buybacks worth Rs 4,396 crore in the last one month, according to their statements.
  • These include Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., Cochin Shipyard Ltd., National Aluminium Company Ltd., NLC India Ltd., Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. and NHPC Ltd.

Four more PSUs may chip in.

8. Jabong + Myntra = 40% Leaner Workforce

Walmart is likely to lay off more than a third of the workforce at online fashion retailer Jabong and merge it with Myntra, according to two people aware of the development, as Binny Bansal’s ouster hastens restructuring at Flipkart Group.

  • Dipanjan Basu, chief financial officer of Myntra and Jabong, also stepped down, one of the people quoted earlier said requesting anonymity.
  • Basu joined Myntra in 2016. Before that, he was vice-president-finance and operations at Wipro Digital.
  • The world’s largest retailer is looking to streamline costs and marketing expenses of Myntra and Jabong, the people said.
  • Jabong has a workforce of 300-350 employees.
  • Myntra chief Ananth Narayanan, in a letter written to the employees earlier today, said as they move closer towards integration, “friends and co-workers at Jabong will be impacted”.

Myntra and Jabong will now fully integrate all the remaining functions.

9. BJP’s Biggest Challenge In MP

The Bharatiya Janata Party feels its biggest challenge in Madhya Pradesh is reminding an entire generation of voters of what it calls “deprivation” under the Congress’ rule as it seeks a fourth straight term in the state.

  • The new, aspirational generation isn’t aware of this, said Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, BJP’s national vice-president and Madhya Pradesh in charge.
We have to make them conscious that if they don’t vote for BJP, then the chances are these people will take you back to days of deprivation. We have to remind them.
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, National VP, BJP

10. Cyclone Gaja Brings Along Destruction

A severe cyclonic storm Gaja battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 13 people and several livestock dead and a trail of destruction in several districts.

  • Authorities said the cyclone crossed the coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. with wind speeds of about 110-120 kmph.
  • Apart from fallen 12,000 power poles in seven districts, 102 power sub-stations in districts like Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur were affected.
  • The state government said a total of 63,203 people have been evacuated and housed in 331 relief centers in 6 districts including Cuddalore and Nagapattinam

Follow live updates of the cyclone here.