BQuick On Nov. 18: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
Pedestrians walking (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On Nov. 18: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

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

1. Suzlon’s Lenders Consider Nuclear Option

Lenders to Suzlon Energy Ltd. are leaning towards initiating recovery proceedings after attempts to draw new investors to the company fell through, two bankers with direct knowledge of the matter told BloombergQuint on the condition of anonymity.

  • The debt-laden Suzlon Energy, which has already gone through debt restructuring in 2013, has seen two potential investors back out in the past six months, leaving lenders with fewer options.
  • The company owes nearly Rs 10,000 crore to its domestic lenders in term loans, working capital debt and unpaid interest.
  • According to the bankers quoted earlier, a recent technical evaluation study conducted by lenders suggested that an attempt to restructure the debt would not prove to be a long-term solution.

As such, approaching the debt recovery tribunal may be an option.

2. Cola Is King Again!

In a curious reversal of fortunes, the carbonated drinks category is now growing faster than juices.

  • This turns on its head the problem that has long affected fizzy drink makers—a shift in consumer preferences towards healthier beverages.
  • But as consumption slows across the Indian economy, price is back to being the king. And cola companies are winning that game.
  • A litre of juice costs Rs 100 on average. In that same amount, you can get 2 litres of cola or any carbonated drink. By the way, milk-based beverages are priced even lower—at Rs 35-40 per litre.

Find out what companies like Parle and Dabur are doing to address the shift.

3. Vodafone Idea, Airtel Users—Get Ready To Pay More

Vodafone Idea Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. have said they will raise mobile services rates from Dec. 1 as they face financial stress from their dues to the government as ordered by the Supreme Court.

  • Both operators will increase prices "appropriately" and "suitably" from December, however, they have not disclosed the quantum of the tariff hike yet.
  • The hike would "balance the needs of the company to remain viable" and invest further in telecom infrastructure, Airtel said.
  • The hike will ensure that customers continue to enjoy its services and help it "actively invest" in the network, Vodafone Idea said.
  • Earlier in October, Reliance Jio too had started charging for phone calls to other networks at 6 paise per minute.

Airtel and Vodafone Idea had reported a combined loss of nearly Rs 74,000 crore in the quarter ended September.

4. Sensex, S&P 500 Slip

Indian equity benchmark—S&P BSE Sensex—halted their two-day gaining streak, led be the declines in HDFC Bank Ltd. and Reliance Industries Ltd.

  • The 31-stock index fell 0.18 percent or 72.5 points to end at 40,284.19
  • The NSE Nifty 50 fell 0.09 percent to close at 11,884.50.
  • The broader markets represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index closed flat.
  • Six out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by NSE traded lower.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

While the corporate tax rate cut has helped boost the profit figures of India Inc., it may not be enough for the market to be re-rated, according to Bank Julius Baer & Co.'s Mark Matthews.

Here’s what he thinks can trigger a re-rating.

U.S. stocks slipped along with European shares as doubts about a U.S.-China trade deal weighed on sentiment, highlighting the fragile nature of recent gains as negotiations drag on.

  • The S&P 500 Index retreated from Friday's record close amid reports that Beijing is pessimistic about the chances of reaching a trade deal with the U.S.
  • The pound jumped as the Conservative Party maintained its poll lead less than a month before U.K. elections.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.7 percent to $57.32 a barrel.

Get your daily fix of global markets here.

5. Nifty Earnings Bounce Back

Most Nifty 50 companies either met or surpassed estimates in the July-September earnings season after two straight quarters of muted performance.

  • Operating income of nearly half of the Nifty 50 constituents met estimates and around a third surpassed analyst expectations, data compiled by BloombergQuint showed.
  • Only 11 companies missed the consensus forecast.
  • The Nifty companies are reviewed based on their operating income and exclude one-offs, including the impact of corporate tax rate cuts.
  • The three sectors that managed to outperform in the second quarter include automobile, banking and information technology.

Also read: How Nestle India Outperformed FMCG Peers In Second Quarter

6. Jeff Bezos Wants More Regulatory Stability In India

E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. is doing “extremely well” in India, its founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has said while expressing hope for regulatory stability in the country.

  • Bezos' remarks came in response to a question on Amazon's concerns over some Indian policies with regard to digitization.
  • “Regulatory stability is the thing that we would always hope for India. Whatever the regulations are...they are stable and that’s one of the things we’re hoping will now be true. We’ll see,” Bezos, 55, told reporters on the sidelines of his induction into the National Portrait Gallery on Sunday.
Our business in India is doing extremely well. It’s growing very rapidly.
Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon

Bezos is pumping in more than $600 million in its various Indian units.

7. Unseasonal Rains Wreak Havoc

For Indian farmers coping with stagnating agricultural wages, a good monsoon was supposed to bring relief.

  • Instead, the pattern of uneven and off-season rains has disrupted sowing and harvesting, leading to damaged crops and increased strains for farmers in many parts of the country.
  • In 2019, for the first time in 88 years, the south-west monsoon was in excess of the ‘long period average’, even though rainfall was 30 percent deficient till June, according to the India Meteorological Department.
  • The south-west monsoons officially ended in September with excess rainfall of over 10 percent.
  • Post-monsoon rainfall is running an excess of 38 percent compared to the long-period average, show IMD data from October till Nov. 8, 2019.

Here are worst-hit states.

Also read: An Absent Consumer Expenditure Survey: What It Means For Economic Policy Making

8. Delhi, Hong Kong: Campus Battlegrounds

A number of Jawaharlal Nehru University students were detained and some injured when the police baton-charged and stopped them at many places as thousands of protesters marched towards the Parliament on the first day of the Winter Session on Monday demanding a total rollback of the hostel fee hike.

  • The students, who were holding a protest on the university's premises for the past three weeks, hit the streets carrying placards and chanting slogans, seeking to get the attention of the Parliament about their demand.
  • Several leaders of the agitation were detained by the police when they insisted on marching forward.
  • The students took to Twitter to share pictures from the march and the injuries they received, allegedly due to the baton charge by the police, with the hashtag 'EmergencyinJNU' trending on the microblogging site.

The protesters asserted that they would not relent until the government withdraws the hike.

Things were much worse in Hong Kong. A two-day university siege has transfixed the city, raising fears of a bloody crackdown on hundreds of protesters who remain trapped in a campus surrounded by police.

  • Running battles between police and protesters on Monday featured raging fires, tear gas and flaming vehicles.
  • Some demonstrators managed to escape Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon by climbing over walls, while police arrested dozens of others -- sometimes tackling them to the ground or pounding them with batons.

The government warned those inside to surrender peacefully and urged others to stay away from the site.

Also read: Need To Separate Checking From Clogging: PM Modi On Parliament Disruptions

9. The Real Heroes Of Ayodhya

If Independent India, instead of building a temple to Lord Ram, wants to honour the memory of those who fought for communal harmony from within the very same premises, it should honor Pujari Laldas, the court-appointed priest of the Ram temple, who in 1990 had warned the country against the designs of those who were using Ram for political and financial gain, writes Anand Patwardhan.

  • The brave and outspoken Laldas was murdered in 1993.
  • There are two other secular heroes we should never forget.
  • It was through the efforts of Baba Ramcharan Das from the Hindu side and Acchan Khan, a Muslim landlord in Ayodhya, that communal harmony was maintained and a pact was reached by which both would pray side by side in separate portions of the same Babri compound.
  • The pact of communal harmony the two had forged in Ayodhya lasted almost a hundred years. It was broken only by an act of vandalism in 1949.

70 years later the Supreme Court of India rewarded the vandals.

10. Ford v Ferrari: Secrets Behind The Stunning Cars (And Crashes)

Ford v Ferrari—the $97 million film that chronicles the fight between Carroll Shelby’s Ford GT40 team and Enzo Ferrari’s Scuderia Ferrari for dominance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans car race in 1966—is best enjoyed loud.

Way loud.

  • That’s how to fully appreciate the brilliant camerawork, technical prowess, and logistical feats that went into making the many racing scenes shot on historic tracks across multiple continents feel so realistic.
  • You might as well be in the car with Matt Damon—er, Carroll Shelby—driving through the black night as he fights fatigue to hold on to his win at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, or with wiry British driver Ken Miles (a 70-pounds-lighter Christian Bale) as he busts through a pack of smug meatheads in muscle cars at a local race at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park.
  • The tension is palpable through the roar of the car engines; you can practically smell the oil and dirt and burning rubber.

Ford v Ferrari makes it feel as if you’re the one behind the wheel.

Also read: Ford Unveils Electric Mustang SUV to Challenge Tesla Dominance

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