BQuick On June 23: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
Residential and commercial buildings stand in the Worli area of Mumbai, India (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On June 23: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

Here's a roundup of the day's story in brief.

1. Patanjali’s Splashy Launch And Then A Reality Check

Hours after Yogi Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurveda launched a product claiming to be the cure for the highly infectious Covid-19, the Indian government moved to stop the company from advertising or publicising it till its efficacy is examined.

  • The facts and claims made by Patanjali of its medicine, branded ‘Coronil’, were not known to the Ministry of Ayush, according to a statement by the ministry.
  • The Ministry has asked to provide details of the composition, where the research on its efficacy was conducted, the sample size and the results of the study.

Patanjali has been cautioned by the ministry that advertising such a product is regulated under law.

2. Yes Bank Gets More Help From The RBI

The Reserve Bank of India has extended by three months a special liquidity window for Yes Bank Ltd. to help the private lender cover for any shortfall in deposits, according to a person aware of the development.

  • The bank can access the Rs 50,000-crore liquidity window if outflow of deposits exceeds the accretion of fresh deposits, the person said on condition of anonymity.
  • Yes Bank was first provided the special liquidity window when it was coming out of a moratorium.
  • According to the person quoted earlier, the bank utilised the window in March and April to repay depositors who were seeking to exit the bank.

The special window will help the bank post a higher liquidity coverage ratio and cover for any urgent liquidity needs.

3. The Future Of Reliance: Ambani’s Vision

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani has laid out a growth plan for his digital business, days after netting over $15 billion in a fundraising blitz by selling stake in his digital and telecom unit and by issuing new shares.

  • “We’re in a rapidly changing world where digital connectivity, abundance of data and intelligent harnessing of data are reshaping value creation models across verticals,” Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd., told shareholders in a letter on Tuesday.
  • Jio Platform Ltd., the holding unit of Reliance’s telecom and digital assets, will use its partnership with Facebook Inc. to digitally enable and empower 60 million MSMEs, 120 million farmers, 30 million small merchants and millions of SMEs in the informal sector, Ambani said.
  • Reliance Retail and WhatsApp have entered into a commercial partnership agreement to accelerate the latter's business on the JioMart platform using the messaging app, he said.

Reliance’s working on the “contours of a strategic partnership” with Saudi Aramco. Find out more here.

4. Trump Freezes H1-B Work Visas. Should Indian IT Be Worried?

President Donald Trump signed an order Monday temporarily halting access to several employment-based visas, affecting hundreds of thousands of people seeking to work in the U.S. The technology industry said the move would hurt the economy.

  • The order freezes new H1-B and H-4 visas, used by technology workers and their families, as well as L visas for intra-company transfers and most J visas for work- and study-abroad programs, including au pairs, through the end of the year.
  • The issuance of new green cards will also remain halted through the end of the year.

The tech industry has responded forcefully against the order.

Analysts expect U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to temporarily suspend work visas to have little impact on Indian IT companies as reliance on such permits has reduced.

  • Indian information technology companies have reduced their dependence on these visas over the last few years and hired more locally, said Harit Shah, senior analyst at IndiaNivesh Securities.
  • According to Emkay Research, the initial H-1B visa approvals for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd., Wipro Ltd., Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and HCL Technologies Ltd. fell to less than 5,200 as of March 2019 from more than 23,000 in 2012-13.
  • Over the last five years, approvals for continuing visas have also come down, the brokerage said.

That will accelerate projects being handled from offshore, leading to even less dependence on work visas.

5. Radhakishan Damani’s Three-Year Long Chase

In the last three years, while most of Dalal Street was watching the rise in Radhakishan Damani’s retail fortune, the veteran investor was already eyeing his next big venture. And it couldn’t be more different than DMart, the supermarket chain that catapulted Damani from investor to successful entrepreneur and the fifth-richest Indian.

Damani now has his eye on cement.

  • That’s evident from the large shareholding he’s built in India Cements Ltd. in the last 10 months. It’s an opportunity he’s been in pursuit of since 2017.
  • In February 2006, the Damani family incorporated GSD Metals Pvt. with its registered office in Maharashtra.
  • Radhakishan Damani was appointed as an additional director in 2017 and towards the end of that year, the company’s name was changed to GSD Cements.
  • In early 2018, the articles of association were altered to change the company’s business objective to manufacture and deal in cement and related products. Its trademark was registered as ‘Damani Cement’.

But Damani’s interest did not stop there. Read this BQ Blue Exclusive to find out more.

Also read: India Shadow Bank Stock With 58% Gain Seen Facing Growth Hurdles

6. Nifty, Sensex Extend Rally

Indian equity markets continue to extend their rebound, ending higher for the fourth straight day.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 1.49% higher at 34,843 while the NSE Nifty 50 index ended at 10,471, up 1.55%.
  • Both benchmark indices have now advanced in five out of the last six trading sessions.
  • The Sensex has advanced 2,202 points while the Nifty has gained 658 points in the last six trading sessions.
  • Among the sectoral indices, the Nifty Bank ended with gains of 2.6%. The index has gained over 2,350 points in the last six trading sessions.
  • The Nifty PSU Banking index remained the top sectoral performer, ending with gains of 3.4%.
  • Broader markets moved in tandem with the benchmarks with the midcap and smallcap index gaining 1.5% each.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

Also read: Atul Suri On Why India’s Stock Rally May Not Be Done Yet

7. Asian Paints Profit Hit By Lockdown

Asian Paints Ltd.’s quarterly profit fell as the lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic hurt demand.

  • Net profit of the paintmaker fell 2.1% year-on-year to Rs 461.9 crore.
  • The company’s revenue fell 7.1% to Rs 4,636 crore.
  • Operating margin, however, widened to 18.5% compared with 17.8% a year ago.

Crimping demand for paints offset even the benefit of cheaper raw materials.

8. HDFC Ready To Go Shopping

Housing Development Finance Corp. is raising $1.8 billion of new capital to help it make acquisitions in areas ranging from lending to insurance, according to Keki Mistry, vice chairman and chief executive officer of India’s biggest mortgage lender.

  • “If there is a good acquisition opportunity which comes our way we will not want to miss that opportunity just because the capital is not in place at that point in time,” Mistry said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
  • It also wants to have adequate capital in place to expand its lending business once economic growth picks up from the downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • One tranche of the new capital will be raised through an equity issue to institutional investors, and the other via an instrument that will be convertible to equity, Mistry said.

Some part of the new capital might be used to infuse money into the HDFC subsidiaries, helping them with potential acquisitions.

9. Covid-19: Over 14,000 Dead In India

The Covid-19 outbreak in India continued to spread rapidly with the country reporting over 4.4 lakh confirmed cases so far, on Tuesday.

  • The country added nearly 15,000 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total tally to 4,40,215, according to Health Ministry’s 8 a.m update on June 23.
  • In the last three days alone, we have added 45,167 new cases.
  • The total includes 2,48,190 patients who've been discharged and 14,011 who've succumbed to the disease.
  • Authorities reported 14,933 new cases, 312 deaths and 10,994 recoveries in the 24 hours preceding the update.

Track news and developments around the outbreak in India here.

Globally, cases crossed 9.1 million leaving over 4,72,700 dead.

  • Covid-19 cases continue to mount in warmer U.S. states including Florida, Texas and Arizona.
  • Iran’s death toll from the virus reached 9,863 out of a total of 209,970 known cases.
  • The Philippines recorded its highest number of daily infections on Tuesday.

Follow the global spread of the virus here.

10. India’s Seeks Russian Missiles Even As China Conflict Begins To Cool

India is pushing Russia to speed up the delivery of a missile defense system as ties with China deteriorate following the worst military clash between the Asian nations in four decades.

  • The request comes as China and India’s foreign ministers met on Tuesday in their first face-to-face interaction since a fight along their disputed Himalayan border killed 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops.
  • India and China agreed to deescalate the situation along their undemarcated boundary, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular news briefing Tuesday in Beijing.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted the virtual trilateral meeting with China’s Wang Yi and India’s Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after Moscow emerged as a key player in thawing relations between the two neighbours.

India and Russia are now expected to discuss New Delhi’s desire to ensure an unimpeded and early supply of military spares.

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