BQuick On Nov. 11: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes    
Bottles of raw oil, undergoing processing, sit in a laboratory of the quality assurance department at an edible oil refinery plant in India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

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

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

1. Rs 1.46 Lakh Crore Incentive Programme

India approved an incentive program worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore ($20 billion) to attract companies to set up manufacturing in the South Asian nation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

  • The government will offer production-linked incentives to 10 sectors including automobile, solar panel and specialty-steel makers over a five-year period, she said after a meeting of a ministerial panel on Wednesday.

  • Textile units, food processing plants and specialized pharmaceutical product makers are also eligible for the incentives.

“This is something that will immediately give greater impetus to manufacturing,” Sitharaman said.

2. Ambani's Newest Price War

As India this week hits the peak of its biggest shopping season, Mukesh Ambani’s retail websites -- including JioMart -- are elbowing their way into a space long dominated by Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s local unit Flipkart Online Services Pvt.

  • Ambani’s portals are offering blockbuster discounts of as much as 50% on popular sugary confections and other holiday staples like spice mixes for India’s rice delicacy, biryani.

  • Meanwhile, his Reliance Digitalwebsite is selling some flagship Samsung smartphones at prices cheaper than rivals, with as much as 40% rebates.

In retail, Ambani’s firm has a huge edge.

3. SpiceJet Seeks Debt Repayment Waiver

SpiceJet Ltd. has deferred dues to vendors and statutory authorities, and is in talks with lenders for a waiver as the coronavirus pandemic crushes travel in what was until recently the world’s fastest growing aviation market.

  • The no-frills carrier, one of the biggest buyers of Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max jets, is renegotiating various contracts including with lessors as the virus curtails flying operations, it said in a stock exchange filing Wednesday.

  • It is also reviewing repayment obligations with its lenders, SpiceJet said.

SpiceJet is the latest airline to fall behind on payments.

4. Lower-Than-Feared Post-Covid Restructuring

A one-time restructuring permitted by the Reserve Bank of India saw limited demand in the first month after the provision was announced, according to disclosures made by some banks as part of their quarterly earnings.

  • Some banks, as part of commentary made during earnings calls, have also given an estimated amount of restructuring they foresee.

  • Early indications suggest that the pool of restructured loans will be much lower than the Rs 8.4 lakh crore estimate India Ratings & Research had released in August.

But analysts remain cautious.

5. Sensex Extends Record Run; U.S. Tech Stocks Rally

India’s benchmark equity index climbed to a record as the National Democratic Alliance won Bihar assembly election, adding to positive sentiment amid a pick-up in business activity.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.7% or 316 points to close at 43,593, after falling by an equal measure earlier in the session.

  • The NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.9% to close at 12,749.

  • Both gauges completed their longest string of gains in a month to end at new peaks.

  • Still, both measures’ relative strength indexes are above 70, a level that may signal they’re overbought, while a measure of volatility climbed for a second day to a one-week high.

  • Gland Pharma Ltd.'s initial public offering was subscribed 2.05 times on the final day of the issue.

Follow the day's trading action here.

8. How To Survive The 'Central Bank Bull Market' Climax

Central banks across the globe pumped in more than $28 trillion when debt, equity and commodities markets crashed in March after the coronavirus outbreak.

That, according to S Naren, gave rise to a ‘central bank bull cycle’, something most fund managers haven’t experienced in their lifetimes.

And he said it will reach a climax.

No one is saying the climax will happen in the next one, two or three months because none of us in India know when it will happen and that is the reality.
S Naren, Chief Investment Officer, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund

Indian fund managers could likely to be victims of the event, Naren warned.

Also read: BQ Edge | Chart Advise’s CK Narayan Sees Limited Upside For Nifty 50

9. India's Active Covid Caseload Drops Below 5 Lakh

The number of active coronavirus cases in India dropped below the 5-lakh-mark for the first time in over three months.

  • India added over 44,000 fresh cases in a matter of 24 hours, taking the total tally to over 86.3 lakh, according to the Health Ministry’s update.

  • Total recoveries have now crossed 80 lakhs, making up for 92.7% of the total Covid-19 caseload.

  • This took active cases to below the 5-lakh mark for the first time since July 28.

Pfizer’s Vaccine Only For The Rich?

When Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine rolls off production lines, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. will be waiting to distribute it through a complex and costly system of deep-freeze airport warehouses, refrigerated vehicles and inoculation points across China.

  • After they reach vaccination centers, the shots must be thawed from -70 degrees celsius and injected within five days, if not they go bad.

  • Then the herculean journey from warehouse freezer to rolled-up sleeve must be undertaken all over again -- to deliver the second booster shot a month later.

These hurdles could put Pfizer's vaccine past poor nations' reach.

10. OTT Platforms: Censorship Coming?

In a step towards regulating digital media, the Indian government has approved an amendment to bring online news portals and content providers such as Netflix under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

  • Nikhil Pahwa, founder and editor of Medianama, said this will result in the government imposing regulations on online streaming services to regulate their content, which will lead to their censorship.

  • As a next step, the Broadcasting Ministry will put in place a framework to implement the regulation, Chandrima Mitra, partner at DSK Legal, told BloombergQuint.

  • “Regulation of online and digital media will follow the same or similar journey as the theatrical films have been following through the censorship certificate route," said Mitra.

The Ministry had expressed the need for regulation of online media during a Supreme Court hearing in the Sudarshan TV case.

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