BQuick On Aug. 21: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
Visitors gather near the Trident Nariman Point Mumbai (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

BQuick On Aug. 21: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

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

1. India Tightens More Norms To Curb China’s Influence

India is stepping up its curbs on Chinese activity in the country, adding extra scrutiny for visas and reviewing Beijing’s links with local universities, as relations between the two nations continue to nose-dive.

  • India’s Ministry of External Affairs has been told that visas for Chinese businessmen, academics, industry experts, and advocacy groups will need prior security clearance, said senior officials who asked not to be identified, citing rules for speaking to the media.
  • The measures are similar to those that have long been employed with Pakistan, India’s neighbor and arch-rival, they said.
  • The activities of India universities with tie-ups to Chinese institutions are likely to be drastically scaled down, one official said.

Officials say these institutions are being used to influence policymakers, political parties and corporates alike.

Also read: Japan, India and Australia to Seek Supply Chain Pact

2. Future Group Scampers As It Stares At Default

Future Retail Ltd. is in talks with banks to help fund a missed interest payment before a deadline Friday.

  • The company failed to pay $14 million of interest due July 22 on its 5.6% 2025 dollar notes, and is in a 30-day grace period that expires Friday.
  • If payment were not made within the grace period, it would constitute a default -- the first by an Indian company on a dollar security since March.
  • Adding to signs of strains in the broader conglomerate, another Future Group unit said it has defaulted on a rupee note interest payment.

Future’s cash crunch has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

3. Hope For India’s Troubled Real Estate Market

India’s diaspora offers hope to the nation’s beleaguered real estate market in a pandemic-marred year.

  • Home sales struggled to overcome multiple setbacks with sales in top eight cities falling to its lowest in a decade.
  • While not many Indians are buying, developers have seen a spike in enquiries and demand from non-resident Indians in the ongoing financial year.
  • Developers say a weaker rupee, return of several Indians from Middle East and lower interest rates for housing loans are some of the triggers.

As many as 40,000 NRIs could be looking to purchase assets in India. More details here.

4. Nifty Ekes Out Weekly Gain, U.S. Stocks Near Record Highs

Indian equity markets ended off the highest point of the day but managed to eke out a weekly advance, aided by positive global cues.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.56% higher at 38,434 while the NSE Nifty 50 index ended at 11,376; up 0.57%.
  • Both the indices ended higher in four out of the five trading sessions this week.
  • Among the sectoral indices, the Nifty Bank ended with gains of 1.4% while the index housing its state-run counterparts ended 1.8% higher.
  • The smallcaps outperformed in today's session with the index ending 1% higher. The midcap index was in-line with the benchmarks, ending 0.5% higher.
  • Max Healthcare Institute Ltd. made its stock market debut closing 5% higher at Rs 112 apiece.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

Globally, cases crossed 27.7 million with deaths passing 79,00,000.

  • Europe is grappling with a resurgence of coronavirus infections, with little appetite among top officials to resort to stringent restrictions that helped control the spread earlier this year.
  • A flareup of cases in Japan may be peaking, a government adviser said.
  • South Korea’s latest wave of infections has spread almost nationwide. Argentina reported record daily cases.
  • In the U.S., the outbreak in southern states is slowing and deaths should start to fall next week, said the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow the global spread of the virus here.

Also read: Pfizer Vaccine on Track for Regulatory Review in October

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