BQuick On Nov. 9: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
Here is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.
1. Covid Vaccine Optimism
The Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE prevented more than 90% of infections in a study of tens of thousands of volunteers, the most encouraging scientific advance so far in the battle against the coronavirus.
- Eight months into the worst pandemic in a century, the preliminary results pave the way for the companies to seek an emergency-use authorisation from regulators if further research shows the shot is also safe.
- The findings are based on an interim analysis conducted after 94 participants, split between those who got a placebo and those who were vaccinated, contracted Covid-19. The trial will continue until 164 cases have occurred.
Confirmed cases of Covid-19 continued to rise in India albeit at a slower pace.
- India added 45,903 fresh cases in a matter of 24 hours, taking the total tally to over 85.5 lakh, according to the Health Ministry.
- Daily additions have remained below the 60,000 mark since Oct. 19.
Track all news updates around the Covid-19 outbreak in India, here.
2. Global Markets Hit All-Time Highs; Crude Surges
The clearest sign yet of progress on a Covid-19 vaccine is fueling a rally across global stock markets.
- The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to all-time highs.
- The strongest gains in the market were among small-cap stocks, which have been hit hard by the economic toll of lockdowns.
- West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 10% to $40.86 a barrel.
Get your daily fix of global markets.
Sensex, Nifty Scale New Peaks
Indian equity markets ended higher for the sixth straight day, and in the process, ending at record high levels.
- The S&P BSE Sensex ended 1.7% or 700 points higher at 42,597.
- The NSE Nifty 50 index too ended at a record high, ending 1.6% higher at 12,461.
- Nifty Bank was the top-performing index, ending 800 points or 2.7% higher.
Follow the day’s trading action here.
3. Another Month Of Equity MF Outflows
Equity mutual funds witnessed outflows for the fourth straight month as investors continued to take money off the table.
- Equity and equity-linked mutual fund schemes witnessed a net outflow of Rs 2,724.95 crore in October compared with an outflow of Rs 734 crore in September, according to data released by the Association of Mutual Funds in India.
Here’s what the recent outflow in equity schemes can be attributed to.
4. How An Investment Theory Hurt A Generation Of Indian Investors
The investor ends up believing that higher returns are proportional to higher risk. This simply is not true, write Saurabh Mukherjea and Harsh Shah.
- Investors expect to be compensated for risk and the time value of money.
- Not only is there no positive relationship between beta and stock level returns, there also seems to be strong evidence that lower beta leads to higher returns.
- In fact, there is a strong negative correlation between share price volatility and returns.
You need to minimise four types of risks to generate steady and healthy investment returns.
5. Ashok Leyland: Post Diwali Cheer?
Ashok Leyland Ltd. expects demand for commercial vehicles, the worst-hit segment within the slowdown-battered automobile sector, to improve in the upcoming quarters as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has started to wane.
- “Demand post Diwali should go up,” Gopal Mahadevan, whole-time director and chief financial officer at the Hinduja Group’s flagship company, told BloombergQuint in an interview.
- An increase in infrastructure investment by the government and improvement in core industries such as cement and steel should aid demand for commercial vehicles, he said.
The company is also seeing a pick-up in the replacement market.
6. Can Biden Help Indian IT Sector?
As Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump in the U.S. elections, analysts say visa restrictions for software engineers sent by Indian IT companies could ease.
- Trump has tightened norms for H-1B visas, mostly used by software services providers to send engineers for on-site work.
- That prompted IT companies to ramp up hiring local talent in the past three years, increasing costs in the market that contributes 50-65% of the revenue for India’s five largest IT firms.
- A Biden presidency is, however, seen to be less hostile to immigrants.
Here’s how Biden’s win is likely to impact IT companies, according to analysts.
7. Google Faces CCI Probe
The Competition Commission of India ordered a probe against internet giant Google for alleged unfair business practices with respect to Google Pay.
- "... the Commission is of the prima facie view that the Opposite Parties have contravened various provisions of Section 4 of the Act... These aspects warrant a detailed investigation," it said in a 39-page order.
- The watchdog has ordered a detailed probe by its Director General, which is the investigation arm, for alleged anti-competitive practices with respect to Google Pay.
- Section 4 of the Competition Act pertains to abuse of dominant market position.
8. WhatsApp Pay Vs Google Pay Vs PhonePe
With the entry of WhatsApp Pay — which was permitted to launch services to 20 million users last week — the battle to grab a share of transactions via India’s fast-growing Unified Payment Interface is expected to intensify.
- At present, Google Pay and Walmart-owned PhonePe have cornered 80% of the market, split evenly between themselves.
- Paytm comes in at a distant third position.
While the rollout of WhatsApp Pay will happen in stages, many believe it has an edge right from the start. Find out why.
9. Where Are The Jobs?
India's vast workforce is still finding it hard to get work even as the economy is reopening.
- The employment pain is replicated across the country, where employment — formal and informal — continues to lag other indicators which are showing a pick-up in economic activity.
- The unemployment rate as compiled by the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy stood at 6.98% in October compared to 6.67% in September.
- This, according to a blog on CMIE website, is actually below the 7.6% reported in 2019-20 but it masks the fact that the country’s active workforce has declined.
When will the job scenario improve?
10. BigBasket Users' Data Stolen
Cyberattackers have stolen the personal details of million users of top Indian internet grocer Bigbasket, the latest e-commerce data breach to emerge as home-bound consumers flock online.
- Bigbasket co-founder and chief executive officer Hari Menon confirmed the attack, which was first reported by U.S. cybersecurity researcher Cyble Inc.
- The stolen data, which includes sensitive information including email IDs, mobile phone numbers and full addresses, has been put up for sale on the dark web for more than $40,000, the Atlanta-based outfit said in a blogpost.
At a time when cybercrimes are surging, Indian authorities are ill-equipped to handle digital investigations.