BQuick On Aug. 18: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
A bridge stands in Peru. (Photographer: DadoGaldieri/Bloomberg)

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

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

1. Pandemic’s Burden: Over 4 Million Young Indians Lose Jobs

As many as 41 lakh youth in India lost jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic with most job losses in the construction and farm sector, according to a joint report by the International Labour Organization and the Asian Development Bank.

  • “For India, the report estimates job loss for 4.1 million youth. Construction and agriculture have witnessed the major job losses among seven key sectors,” the report said.
  • Youth will be hit harder than adults (25 and older) in the immediate crisis and risk bearing higher longer-term economic and social costs, said the report.
  • “The pre-crisis challenges for youth are now amplified since Covid-19 hit. Without sufficient attention, our fear is that this risks creating a ‘lockdown generation’ that could feel the weight of this crisis for many years to come,” said Sara Elder, lead author of the report.

Young people face greater job losses as nearly half of them are employed in the four sectors hardest hit by the crisis.

2. A ‘Lost Year’ For India’s Biggest Trucker

VRL Logistics Ltd., which owns the largest fleet of commercial vehicles in India, won’t buy new trucks and will get rid of old ones to rein in repair costs amid a nascent recovery in demand.

  • The operator of about 5,000 vehicles, including tankers, cranes and buses, has identified some 700 low capacity trucks for possible scrappage, Chief Financial Officer Sunil Nalavadi said on a conference call Monday.
  • The firm “hopes” to report a profit for the year started April 1 by cutting costs and halting fresh investment, he added.
  • VRL gets more than a third of its business from small- and medium-sized firms that are most vulnerable to the economic slump.

But it’s strong balancesheet may help the company tide over the crisis.

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

Also read: Daimler Says India Truck Demand to Take Three Years to Return

3. Inside The Indiabulls Revamp

The Indiabulls Group has seen a host of changes over the past 12-18 months, with the promoters close to divesting its once flagship real estate business and now distancing themselves from the housing finance unit.

  • Last week, Sameer Gehlaut stepped down as executive chairman from the board of Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd., and was replaced by career banker and former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, SS Mundra.
  • Along with the change in the leadership deck, the company is planning to raise funds.
  • A $300-million qualified institutional placement is planned within the next two months, after which the company may look at a preferential issue within the next six to nine months to attract private equity capital, a person familiar with the group’s strategy said on the condition of anonymity.
  • Gagan Banga, the company’s managing director, said the non-bank lender will remain focused on staying liquid and highly solvent.

Apart from the change within Indiabulls Housing, the broader group is also shifting strategy. Find out more in this BQ Blue Exclusive.

4. Watch Out Amazon, Mr. Ambani Is Shopping

Mukesh Ambani, who spent the early few months of the pandemic raising more than $20 billion by selling stakes in his technology venture, is now on a shopping spree.

  • The Indian billionaire is looking to acquire several local online retailers to help expand product offerings, people familiar with the matter said, as he races to build his e-commerce platform and compete against Amazon.com Inc.
  • Reliance Industries Ltd., Ambani’s oil, retail and telecommunications conglomerate, is in various stages of negotiations to either buy out or purchase stakes in Urban Ladder, an online furniture seller, Zivame, a lingerie maker, and Netmeds, which delivers medicine, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks are confidential.

The 63-year-old tycoon is seeking to widen his retail footprint in a market that’s become a hot spot for global giants.

5. Zee’s Profit Nearly Wiped Out In Q1

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.’s profit nearly wiped out in the pandemic-marred quarter ended June as its advertisement revenue fell.

  • Net profit slumped 94% year-on-year to Rs 29.3 crore.
  • Revenue fell 35% over the year-ago period to Rs 1,312 crore.
  • Advertising revenue declined 65% to Rs 421 crore.

Online streaming subscriptions were a bright spot for the company during the quarter.

Also read: Analysts Haven’t Kept Pace With The Surge In This Tata Group Stock

6. Nifty Gains, U.S. Stocks Hit Record

Indian equity markets outperformed their Asian peers in today's session with the benchmark indices ending at the highest point of the day.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 1.26% higher at 38,528 while the NSE Nifty 50 index ended with gains of nearly 150 points at 11,385, up 1.23%.
  • Both benchmark indices ended higher for the second day in a row.
  • Banks were the top performers in today's session. The Nifty Bank ended with gains of over 2%, as did the Nifty Media index.
  • Broader markets were in-line with the benchmarks. The midcap index ended with gains of 1.2% while the smallcap index ended 1.5% higher.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

The best-performing Indian portfolio manager of the last 10 years swears by buying quality high-priced stocks, betting that the growth prospects of the underlying business would propel them further.

Find out what propelled Mumbai's Girik Capital as the decade's best performer.

U.S. stocks climbed to a record as home construction data added to optimism on the economy, offsetting renewed tensions with China.

  • The S&P 500 pushed toward its all-time high after briefly surpassing its February record in three of the past four sessions.
  • After a torrid rebound from the fastest bear market ever, the S&P 500 is poised for its quickest rebound on record.

Get your fix of global markets update here.

7. RBI Issues Framework For Umbrella Retail Payments Entity

The Reserve Bank of India has issued final guidelines for a new umbrella entity for retail payments systems, which will have an option to operate as a “for-profit” entity.

  • Payments system operators, and payments and technology service providers with three years of experience are eligible to apply and set up the new pan-India platform, according to the central bank’s notification on its website.
  • “It’s expected that the [new] umbrella entity shall offer innovative payment systems to include hitherto excluded cross-sections of the society, and which enhances access, customer convenience and safety, and the same shall be distinct yet interoperable,” said the RBI’s ‘Framework for Authorisation of Pan-India Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments’.

Read more to see the scope of activities that the umbrella entity will be allowed to do.

Also read: JPMorgan Flags Populism as a Key Risk to Indian Economy, Stocks

8. Dream 11 Is The New IPL Title Sponsor

Fantasy gaming platform Dream11 on Tuesday won the IPL title sponsorship rights with a bid of Rs 222 crore, replacing Chinese mobile phone company Vivo for a four and a half month deal.

  • While the BCCI managed a title sponsor at a short time but the money coming in is less than what it was getting from Vivo.
  • BCCI insiders feel that Dream11 deal, along with the official sponsorship amount coming from Unacademy and payment app Cred -- the two companies that have come on board in Central sponsorship pool -- will cover the losses to a considerable degree.
  • Dream11 has been one of the IPL sponsors for a couple of years now.

Tata Group is said to have not placed a final bid while Byju’s came second.

9. No PM CARES To NDRF Transfer; Vedanta’s Tamil Nadu Plant To Remain Shut

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to direct the Centre to transfer the contributions made to the PM CARES Fund for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic to the National Disaster Response Fund.

  • A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising justices RS Reddy and MR Shah said that voluntary contribution can always be made to the NDRF as there is no statutory bar under the Disaster Management Act.
  • The verdict came on litigation, filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, seeking a direction that all the money collected under the PM CARES Fund for the Covid-19 pandemic should be transferred to the NDRF.

More details here.

The Madras High Court rejected Vedanta Ltd.’s plea challenging the closure of its copper smelter unit in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, putting on hold the billionaire Anil Agarwal-led mining conglomerate’s plan to reopen the plant that accounted for nearly half of India’s output.

  • The order said statements given by the public in villages around the unit are all “tutored” and these submissions deserve to be “outrightly rejected”.
  • The company argued that the orders of closure did not allege any pollution and it was passed for extraneous reasons and was mala fide.

Vedanta had requested the court to quash the pollution control board's April 2018 ruling.

10. In A First, India’s Covid-19 Recoveries More Than New Cases

Covid-19 cases in India rushed past the 27-lakh mark but there were signs of some improvement as authorities, for the first time, reported more recoveries than fresh cases in a day.

  • The country added over 55,000 new cases in a matter of 24 hours, taking the total tally to over 27.02 lakh.
  • This includes over 51,700 deaths and more than 19.7 lakh patients who have recovered.
  • This is the second time India has reported less than 60,000 new cases in a week.
  • At the same time, recoveries per day have increased to nearly 58,000 today.

Track all Covid-19 related news and updates for India, here.

Globally, cases have now crossed 21.8 million with over 7,74,000 dead.

  • Germany recorded the highest number of new cases in almost four months.
  • The U.K., the continent’s hardest-hit country, reported the lowest tally of deaths in 20 weeks.
  • Hong Kong’s government will roll out a third round of anti-epidemic measures.

Follow the global spread of the virus here.

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