A man reads a newspaper while riding on board a Star Ferry Co. vessel, owned by Wharf Holdings Ltd., in Hong Kong, China (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On Nov. 22: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes 

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

1. Sensex Rejig

The S&P BSE Sensex will include HCL Technologies Ltd. and Bajaj Finance Ltd. from Dec. 24 in the index’s latest rejig.

  • The two companies will replace Wipro Ltd. and Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones Ltd., according to a notice on the BSE’s website.
  • With the addition of Bajaj Finance, the financial sector’s weight—already the highest—on the benchmark index will go up further.
  • The non-bank lender has surged 36 percent this year, making it one of the best performing Indian stocks.
  • HCL Tech has risen 9.94 percent in 2018.

Here are the major changes in other BSE indices.

2. State-Run Bank Chiefs Empowered

The heads of public-sector banks can now request look-out circulars to be issued against wilful defaulters from fleeing India, according to a senior government official.

  • Empowering bank chiefs will help them obtain the circular—which is used by law enforcement agencies to stop offenders from fleeing the country—from the Ministry of Home Affairs in cases where a First Information Report is yet to be filed, the official told reporters.
  • A committee headed by Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar has recommended amending a circular of Ministry of Home Affairs which lists authorities who can request issuance of the look-out circular to the MHA, the official said.

3. Rupee Closes Near Three-Month High

The turn in oil prices, along with a resumption of foreign flows into Indian debt, have helped the rupee rebound to near three-month highs.

  • The rupee closed at 70.69 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, up 1 percent over its previous close. The currency has gained more than 4 percent in November, after hitting a record low just a month ago in October.
  • “The rupee has taken a cue from lower oil prices. Brent at $63 per barrel brings huge relief to India’s current account deficit,” said K Harihar, treasurer at FirstRand Bank.
  • Harihar added that falling oil prices and the expectation of lower inflation have also made Indian bonds attractive to foreign investors, who have pumped in than Rs 5,000 crore in into the Indian debt markets so far this month. “While that may not be a huge number, its a reversal of months of outflows,” Harihar added.

Still, not all concerns have abated.

4. Indian Markets Fall Despite Rupee Rally

Indian equity benchmarks ended lower for the third day, registering their first weekly decline in four.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex Index ended 0.62 percent or 218 points lower at 34,981.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 Index fell 0.69 percent or 73 points lower at 10,526.
  • Ten out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by NSE fell, led by the NSE Nifty Metal Index's 1.7 percent decline.
  • On the flipside, the NSE Nifty Media Index was the only sectoral gainer, up 1.42 percent.
BQuick On Nov. 22: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes 

European stocks declined on Thursday and U.S. equity futures edged lower in a subdued day of trading thanks to the American Thanksgiving holiday.

  • The pound jumped and the euro strengthened after a draft deal on post-Brexit ties was tentatively agreed.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.7 percent to $54.27 a barrel.

Get your fix of global markets here.

5. Waiting For The Next Wealth-Creation Cycle? Don’t.

The correction in Indian equities is mostly done but the wealth creation cycle won’t start soon, according to Ravi Dharamshi, chief investment officer of ValueQuest.

  • India has been lucky that crude-led macros have become kinder again, but global liquidity for emerging markets is still in a receding mode, said Dharamshi on BloombergQuint’s special show Alpha Moguls.
  • Dharamshi doesn’t expect the markets to rise dramatically in the near term. But, according to him, Nifty 50 could hit 11,700 levels in the short term.
  • Investors, though, would need all the patience, conviction and courage to hold on to their portfolio, he said.

6. Indian Carriers Hit Turbulence

Seat occupancy of airlines in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market fell to its lowest in 19 months because of excess supply and a delayed festival season.

  • The average passenger load factor—the percentage of seats filled—fell to 83 percent in October, according to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. That’s the lowest since March 2017.
  • SpiceJet, the airline with least empty seats, saw its capacity utilisation drop 290 basis points year-on-year—the biggest fall in 56 months.
  • For India’s largest airline, IndiGo, passenger load factor dropped the most in 28 months on the back of large-scale capacity addition. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., its parent, increased capacity by 30 percent—nearly twice the industry’s addition.

7. Mudra’s Bad Loans Are Not So Bad

Despite concerns that increased lending under the Prime Minister’s Mudra Yojana could lead to a spurt in bad loans, delinquencies in this portfolio remain lower than the prevailing industry averages.

  • The three-year-old scheme provides refinance for loans up to Rs 10 lakh given out by banks and non-bank lenders.
  • Loans worth Rs 2.54 lakh crore were classified as Mudra loans in 2017-18, according to the scheme’s annual report. This is an increase of 41 percent over the Rs 1.80 lakh crore of loans sanctioned in this category.
  • The non-performing assets ratio in the portfolio currently stands at 5.38 percent, showed the annual report.
  • This is the first time that the agency released the bad loan data. In its last annual report, the agency had said that it is initiating the process of tracking bad loans in the portfolio of Mudra loans.

8. Maharashtra’s Promise To Farmers

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured tribal farmers that their forest land rights claims will be settled by December this year.

  • Fadnavis gave this assurance to representatives of protesting farmers who marched to Azad Maidan in Mumbai seeking redressal of their grievances, which include compensation for drought and transfer of forest rights to tribals.
  • Tribal welfare minister Vishnu Savra said 3.6 lakh claims were received, of which 1.74 lakh have been settled in favour of the tribals.

9. Rythu Bandhu Scheme: Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

An audacious cash transfer is becoming the focus of a pitched election battle in Telangana, writes Saksham Khosla.

  • 52 lakh farmers will receive an annual transfer of Rs 8,000 per hectare for two crop seasons.
  • Several economists have described the advantages of direct income support in terms of its more effective policy design.
  • But, its biggest lacuna is that it excludes tenant farmers that take land on lease for cultivation. The scheme also has regressive bias toward large landowners.
  • In addition, fiscal concerns abound. The program forms 8 percent of Telangana’s FY19 budgeted expenditure.

And this will be Rythu Bandhu’s meta-challenge.

10. Climate Change Is Very Much Real

Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere reached a record not seen since sea levels were 10 meters to 20 meters (33 feet to 66 feet) higher than they are now, the World Meteorological Organization said in a report.

  • Concentrations of carbon dioxide and other Earth-warming gases rose last year and are 41 percent higher than in 1990, driving a long-term increase in the global temperature, the United Nations organization said in its annual assessment of the trend.
  • The last time the Earth had similar concentration of CO2 was 3 million to 5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer and and sea levels were at least 10 meters higher.
  • The findings add to pressure on envoys from almost 200 nations gathering next month in Poland to discuss ways of reining in climate change.

Without intervention, climate change will have destructive irreversible impacts.