BQuick On Sept. 11: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
Empty highways in South Carolina, U.S. (Photographer: Charles Mostoller/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On Sept. 11: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

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

1. Where HNIs Are Queuing Up

Assets of India’s largest portfolio manager jumped the most among peers so far this year even as the equity market remained volatile because of an economic slowdown and geopolitical tensions.

  • ASK Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd. added Rs 5,309 crore to its assets in the first eight months of 2019, taking the total to Rs 17,920 crore as of August, according to data compiled by BloombergQuint from disclosures made to the market regulator.
  • “We are seeing more than Rs 500 crore of gross inflows and over Rs 300 crore on a net basis,” Prateek Agarwal, business head and chief investment officer at ASK Investment Managers, told BloombergQuint.
  • “In the first quarter of this calendar year, we on-boarded a big sovereign investor who invested Rs 3,000 crore in the market through our portfolio management services,” Agarwal said.

ASK Investment Managers defied uncertainty as the markets remained volatile. Here’s how other portfolio managers performed.

2. Nifty Extends Longest Rally In Six Months, U.S. Stocks Rise

NSE Nifty 50 index rose for the fifth consecutive trading session, its longest stretch of gains in nearly six months. Besides, the S&P BSE Sensex extended gains for the third consecutive trading session.

  • The benchmark indices closed marginally higher as gains in Reliance Industries Ltd. and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. were offset by losses in Infosys Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
  • The 31-stock index closed 0.34 percent higher at 37,270.82 and the NSE Nifty 50 ended 0.3 percent higher at 11,035.70.
  • The broader markets represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index closed 0.48 percent higher.
  • “It is too early to conclude that the markets are turning in favour of investors,” Valentis Advisors’ Fund Manager Daljeet Singh Kohli said as Indian equity benchmark extended gains.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

BQuick On Sept. 11: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

The technology, energy and industrial sectors led U.S. stocks higher after shares advanced broadly in Europe and Asia.

  • After a rotation earlier this week from growth to value shares, the Nasdaq Composite rose for the first time in four days as Apple’s cheaper priced iPhone gave analysts reason to cheer.
  • President Donald Trump urged the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to “zero, or less,” in a tweet, while China moved to lessen the trade war’s repercussions by announcing a range of U.S. goods to be exempted from 25 percent extra tariffs put in place last year.
  • The dollar strengthened, while benchmark Treasury yields lingered near one-month highs.
  • Gold strengthened 0.5 percent to $1,493.64 an ounce, the first advance in a week.

Get your daily fix of global markets here.

Also read: Hong Kong Exchange Makes Unsolicited $36.6 Billion Bid for LSE

3. One Thing That’s Rising In The Auto Sector...

Inventory levels at dealerships rose nearly sevenfold in August as two-wheeler makers pushed stocks to showrooms ahead of the festive season as the automobile sector looks to overcome its worst slowdown in 22 years.

  • The automobile industry’s net inventory rose to 2.21 lakh units in the month compared with 37,507 in July.
  • Inventory levels are calculated based on the difference of wholesale numbers released by Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers and retail sales vehicle registrations across the country and disclosed by the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways.
  • The wholesales-to-retail volumes ratio for the two-wheeler category jumped in August after it fell in July.

Here’s what that means for vehicle makers.

Also read: Watch This Stock for Signals of India’s Consumption Revival

4. Blackstone Goes Shopping

Blackstone Group LLP will buy stakes in Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd.'s commercial and leasing business assets for about Rs 4,420 crore.

As part of the deal, Blackstone will acquire stakes in:

  1. Indiabulls Properties Pvt. Ltd. and Indiabulls Real Estate Company Pvt. Ltd.—the joint ventures with Blackstone, which own commercial assets at Lower Parel, Mumbai.
  2. Yashita Buildcon Ltd. and Ashkit Properties Ltd., which own commercial assets at Udyog Vihar, Gurugram.
  3. Commercial assets/development at Worli, Mumbai.
  4. Rights/stake in K.G. Marg, New Delhi and Sector 104 and 106, Gurugram.
  • Blackstone had earlier acquired 50 percent stake in Indiabulls Real Estate’s Mumbai and Gurugram projects.

Here’s how Indiabulls Real Estate’s portfolio will look like post the deal.

Blackstone Group Inc. is also in talks to invest Rs 1,500 crore ($209 million) in a venture with Allcargo Logistics Ltd. to build warehouses in India, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.

  • A real estate unit of the U.S. private equity firm is considering owning 51 percent of the venture.
  • Talks are still continuing and the contours of the deal may change.
  • Allcargo is talking with other investors as well.

Blackstone is expanding into logistics in India to tap the growing demand for warehouses.

5. JSW’s Steel Production At Two-Year Low

JSW Steel Ltd.’s crude steel production fell to the lowest in at least two years in August as the company shut its plant in Vijayanagar, Karnataka, while a severe monsoon impacted operations at its unit in Dolvi, Maharashtra.

  • Crude steel production of the company dropped 13 percent year-on-year to 1.25 million tonnes in August, according to an exchange filing.
  • That’s the lowest since at least April 2017.
  • Most of the decline was led by a fall in output of flat steel products, down 13 percent over the last year to 8,51,000 tonnes.
  • Production of long products dropped 5 percent year-on-year to 2,91,000 tonnes.

Still, analysts expect the stock to gain over the next one year.

6. Airtel Steps Up Broadband Competition With Jio

Bharti Airtel Ltd. on Wednesday launched a new broadband plan that promises internet speed up to 1 gigabyte per second, as a counter to Reliance Jio Fiber that unveiled its broadband plans recently.

  • "Starting today, Airtel Xstream Fibre is available to Homes, SOHO (Small Office Home Office) and small commercial establishments in Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Indore, Jaipur and Ahmedabad," Airtel said in a statement.
  • The service will be rolled out to more markets in the coming months, it added.
  • "Airtel Xstream Fibre offers unlimited broadband at 1 Gbps for just Rs 3,999/month. It also offers unlimited landline calls to any network in India along with exclusive 'AirtelThanks' benefits.”

Here are some of the add-ons Airtel is offering.

Also read: BQ Survey | India May Cut Domestic Gas Price By Most In Three Years

7. Apple TV+ To Be Cheaper Than Netflix, Amazon Prime

Apple Inc. is jumping into India’s crowded film and TV streaming market with services that could undercut premium global brands like Netflix Inc. and Inc. that are also betting on growth in the country.

  • The technology giant’s Apple TV+ includes original content from filmmakers including M. Night Shymalan and will be available from Nov. 1 via the Apple TV app and on its devices, it said Tuesday.
  • The service, priced at $4.99 a month in the U.S. and other markets, will sell for Rs 99 ($1.40) in India and includes “thousands” of movies to buy or rent, Apple said.
  • Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings has said the company’s goal is to attract 100 million customers in India -- almost 25 times its estimated subscriber base there as of this year.

Here’s why India is a priority for the tech giant.

Also read: Streaming-TV Bills Stack Up With Disney, Apple, Netflix

8. Hong Kong Exchange Makes Surprise $36.6 Billion Bid For LSE

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. made an unexpected $36.6 billion bid for London Stock Exchange Group Plc, a bold move that would upend the U.K. bourse’s combination with Refinitiv.

  • LSE’s board “remains committed to” the acquisition of data provider Refinitiv, highlighting the hurdles facing an offer that it called unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional.
  • The board said it would consider the proposal and make a further announcement later.
  • LSE’s shares pared earlier gains, reflecting skepticism that a deal can be done in the face of unrest in Hong Kong and potential concern over Chinese ownership.
  • LSE executives and investors may also view the $27 billion takeover of Refinitiv, aimed as a push into financial data, as a more secure future than a multi-continental combination of stock exchange operators.

Here’s what HKEX is hoping for.

9. Enlarging India’s Engagement Envelope With Russia

Russia-India relations are stuck in a rut and have been for a while, notwithstanding the flowery rhetoric, writes Bharat Karnad.

  • A timid Narendra Modi feels India cannot get too close to the U.S. without upsetting Russia and vice versa, even as China looms.
  • Without a truly grand strategic vision and plan, the Modi government makes do with tactical counters, actions, and maneuvers.
  • India’s attitude of a passive beneficiary on the global stage is unbecoming, because Modi seriously underestimates India’s leverage with the U.S.

The missing vision and direction from the Modi government will mean policy voids that events like EEC won’t fill.

Also read: You’ve Got Mail! From The Tax Department... What Next?

10. Modi Revamps Prime Minister’s Office

Pramod Kumar Mishra has been appointed as the new principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while former Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha is new principal adviser, the government said on Wednesday.

  • PK Mishra (71), a retired IAS officer of the 1972-batch Gujarat cadre, took charge of his new assignment on Wednesday, an official statement said.
  • Mishra was the additional principal secretary to the prime minister and was holding a cabinet rank.
  • He succeeds Nripendra Misra who stepped down recently.
  • Former Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha (64), who was last month appointed as Officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister's Office, is new principal adviser to Modi with effect from Sept. 11, a government order said.

Mishra has introduced innovative changes in the government’s HR management, particularly appointments to senior positions.

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