BQuick On July 16: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes 
Attendees listen during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On July 16: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes 

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

1. Home Sales In India At A Decadal Low

Housing sales in India’s top eight cities fell to the lowest in a decade in the first half of 2020 as the world's biggest lockdown to contain the Covid-19 outbreak decimated business activity.

  • Housing sales declined around 54% year-on year to 59,538 units during the first half, according to Knight Frank India.
  • New residential product launches, too, fell nearly 46% over a year ago to 60,489 units during the period, the property consultancy said in its half-yearly report that studied Mumbai, Delhi-National Capital Region, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
  • Housing sales tumbled 84% year-on-year to 9,632 units in the second quarter of the calendar year as the lockdown stalled all activities in the real estate industry, it said.
  • The number of new launches slumped 90% over the year-ago period to 5,584 units in the second quarter.

The residential real estate sector, which was already going through a rough patch, has got severely hit by the current crisis.

2. ICRA’s Grim Forecast For The Indian Economy

ICRA Ltd. has sharply cut its forecast for the Indian economy in FY21, citing localised lockdowns and rising Covid-19 cases. Its forecast is now the most pessimistic among major institutional forecasters.

  • The rating agency now expects FY21 real GDP to contract by 9.5%, a sharp downward revision of its earlier forecast of a 5% contraction.
  • The climbing Covid-19 infections have resulted in a spate of localised lockdowns in some states and cities, arresting the nascent recovery that had set in during May-June 2020, it said in a statement on Thursday.
The unabated rise in Covid-19 infections in the unlock phase and re-imposition of localised lockdowns in several states, appear to have interrupted this recovery.
Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA

The agency said the economic impact would also be more uneven, as different regions move in and out of lockdowns.

3. Nifty’s Last Hour Recovery

Indian equity markets ended higher for the second day, ending the weekly options expiry session on a strong note, led by a last hour recovery in banking and pharma stocks.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 1.16% higher at 36,471 while the NSE Nifty 50 index ended at 1.15% higher at 10,739.
  • Gains were mostly led by Infosys - which ended 9.5% higher for its biggest single-day gain in four months. BPCL, Cipla also contributed to the recovery, ending 7% and 5.5% higher respectively.
  • Among the sectoral indices, the Nifty Bank recovered nearly 600 points from the day's low to end with gains of 1.2%, courtesy a reversal in private lenders like Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndusInd Bank.
  • Broader markets underperformed in today's trade. The Midcap index ended 0.5% higher while the Smallcap index ended 0.1% lower.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

Globally, total cases have topped 13.4 million with over 5,80,500 deaths.

  • California’s surge continued, with the largest U.S. state reporting near-record increases in cases and deaths.
  • The University of Oxford’s vaccine trial will report “positive news,” a U.K. journalist said, boosting AstraZeneca Plc shares.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. is striving to avoid a second spike of infections.

Follow the global spread of the virus here.

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