BQuick On Oct. 24: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
Light trails left by moving traffic run along a road at dusk in the Yeouido financial district of Seoul, South Korea. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

BQuick On Oct. 24: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

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

1. BJP Loses Ground In Maharashtra, Haryana

A Bharatiya Janata Party-led government will return to power in Maharashtra, albeit with a weaker majority. Haryana, though, is headed for a hung assembly after no clear victor emerged. One common thread: the BJP’s performance was worse than in the previous assembly elections in 2014.

  • In Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance looks set to win 160 out of the 288 seats. That’s lower than the 185 seats they had won last time.
  • Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that they will stick to the pre-decided 50:50 power sharing formula with the Sena.
  • Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said the numbers are an “eye-opener” for many.
  • In Haryana, the BJP is likely to win 40 seats, lower than last time's 47. The Congress is likely to get 30 seats, resulting in a hung assembly.
  • The seven independents and fledgling Dushyant Dave’s Jannayak Janata Party will hold key to who forms a government in Haryana.

Follow the election results live here.

2. A Rs 92,000-Crore Blow For Telecom Operators

The Supreme Court ruled that India’s telecom operators will have to include non-core revenue to calculate levies, dealing a crippling blow to the bruised industry that stares at dues and penalties worth thousands of crore.

  • The government’s definition of adjusted gross revenue will include most operations of operators barring a few, the Supreme Court ruled.
  • The carriers will have to pay penalty and interest on the dues, it said.
  • The verdict ends the 14-year-old legal battle between mobile operators and the government on the definition of adjusted gross revenue—used to calculate spectrum charges and licence fees.
  • The Department of Telecommunications had sought more than Rs 92,000 crore in dues. The exact amount, however, may change based on what’s finally included in the definition.

Here’s how much Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio will have to pay to the telecom department.

3. Income Tax Relief, But...

India is considering tax relief for individuals as it looks at measures to accelerate consumer demand and boost economic growth, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

  • Narendra Modi’s government is mulling a proposal to hike the taxable income limits, especially the Rs 10 lakh rupee slab, which attracts a 30 percent rate at present.
  • The move will be accompanied by scrapping some tax breaks, including the one offered on house rent payments and interest earned on some bank deposits.

The top rate of personal income tax in India is higher than Asia’s average.

4. Where India Gained And Lost In Ease Of Doing Business

India saw its ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index rise 14 spots in the latest survey, released on Wednesday in Washington.

  • India’s rank in the global regulation index jumped to 63 for 2018-19 from 77 in the previous year.
  • The improved ranking followed reforms implemented by India in the areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, paying taxes and resolving insolvency.
  • Given the size of India’s economy, these reform efforts are particularly commendable, the study said.
  • Among the areas where India gained the most was in resolving insolvency, dealing with construction permits and trading across borders.

Here’s where India missed an opportunity to improve its ranking further.

5. ITC’s Biggest Profit, IndiGo’s Biggest Loss And Maruti Suzuki’s Woes

ITC Ltd. reported its highest ever quarterly profit as tax expenses fell and other income rose.

  • Net profit rose 36.2 percent year-on-year to Rs 4,023.1 crore.
  • Revenue rose 5.3 percent over the last year to Rs 11,871.5 crore
  • ITC opted for the lower corporate tax rate which helped nearly halve its tax outgo.

Still, on the business front, the cigarette-to-biscuit maker continued to face challenges.

IndiGo parent InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. reported its biggest quarterly loss since listing as the value of operating leases fell due to rupee depreciation and maintenance costs rose.

  • Net loss widened to Rs 1,062 crore.
  • Yields—a measure of average fare per passenger per kilometre—rose to Rs 3.52 per kilometer from Rs 3.21 a year ago.
  • Operating margin stood at 1.19 percent compared with -1.87 percent.

Find out how currency fluctuations led to mark-to-market losses for the airline.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. reported its lowest profit in four years as sales fell amid a prolonged slowdown. But it still managed to beat estimates, aided by higher other income and a lower tax rate.

  • Net profit fell 39.3 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,359 crore.
  • Ebitda fell 53.2 percent to Rs 1,606 crore.
  • Sales volume dropped 30 percent, the biggest in six quarters.

Here’s what India’s largest carmaker said on the auto slowdown.

6. Nifty Closes Lower After Volatile Trading

Indian equity benchmarks ended marginally lower as the gains in Reliance Industries Ltd. were offset by the losses in Infosys Ltd.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.1 percent to close and 39,020.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 declined 0.19 percent to end at 11,582.
  • The boarder market represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index fell 0.22 percent.
  • Ten of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by the NSE ended lower.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

N Jayakumar of Prime Securities has said that the 10-15 overbought heavyweights no longer have any value left in them. So how do you make money in this market?

Find out the areas where Jayakumar is hunting for value.

BQuick On Oct. 24: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

U.S. stocks were mixed as traders assessed a raft of corporate earnings against a backdrop of a global slowdown. Treasuries rose.

  • The S&P 500 Index fluctuated near 3,000 after approaching a record.
  • Investors also watched the latest developments in the trade dispute between the two largest economies.
  • Tech shares rallied as Microsoft Corp.’s sales and profit beat expectations.

Get your fix of global markets update here.

7. Questions Around DHFL’s Transactions

A special review conducted by KPMG into some of the loan accounts of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd. has left unanswered questions about loans worth about Rs 20,000 crore.

  • The questions, some of which were first raised by news agency Cobrapost in January this year, could complicate the resolution process for the non-bank lender which is in default of its dues.
  • The new findings come at a time when lenders are still trying to finalise a resolution plan for the non-bank lender.
  • KPMG noted that loans worth Rs 14,631 crore have been given to 25 entities with minimal operations.
  • DHFL could not provide a robust and well-defined tracking mechanism for end-use monitoring of funds disbursed.

The key observations in the KPMG report can be read here.

8. Electric Chetak Is Bajaj Auto’s Make Or Break Moment

Bajaj Auto Ltd.’s re-entry into scooters nearly after a decade with an electric version of its iconic Chetak may have an underlying message: the future of battery-powered transport in India is on two wheels. At least peers and analysts think so.

  • It’s a “big move for the industry”, Sohinder Singh Gill, global chief executive officer at Hero Electric, maker of electric two-wheelers, told BloombergQuint over the phone.
When big players move into this industry, it will lend a very different type of confidence in minds of customers towards buying electric vehicles.
Sohinder Singh Gill, Global CEO, Hero Electric

According to Ashish Modani, vice president and co-head of corporate ratings at ICRA, this gives Bajaj Auto an opportunity to tap into the scooter market where everyone is starting from scratch.

Here’s what goes in Bajaj Auto’s favour and what does not.

9. Dear Infosys, When In Doubt, Disclose.

Twenty-one days passed before Infosys Ltd. informed shareholders of two whistleblower letters alleging unethical practices at the company. It can be nobody’s case that all whistleblower complaints be publicly disclosed. The law doesn’t require it either. But material events and information should be disclosed by all listed companies.

Which brings us to some questions:

  • Should Infosys have disclosed the whistleblower complaints earlier than it did?
  • Were the complaints ‘material’?
  • Or was the decision to externally investigate a whistleblower complaint ‘material?
  • Why then did Infosys delay disclosure?

Menaka Doshi writes that the company should have heeded its founder NR Narayana Murthy’s mantra.

10. Facebook Could Do To Banks What It Did To Newspapers

On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg tried to reassure Congress that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency would square the circle between financial inclusion and regulatory adherence, consumer privacy and proactive fraud detection.

  • The one thing he didn’t manage to address is whether the world really wants a crypto offering from the social media giant.
  • It’s not that legitimate businesses don’t want crypto; it’s that their customers don’t want to use it for payment.
  • An online business that refuses to accept credit cards will always lose out to a competitor that does.
  • But what if you don’t have any competitors?
  • Facebook enjoys quasi-monopoly status when it comes to consumer attention, controlling the reach and distribution of content across its network of users.

That’s what worries regulators. Just look at what Facebook did to publishers, writes Elaine Ou.

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