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Air India sold its 115 properties for Rs 738 crore since 2015: Government

July 29, 2021 - 5:04pm
Air India has sold its 115 properties for Rs 738 crore since 2015 to offset its debt, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh said on Thursday. According to the decision of Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) in 2018, disinvestment-bound Air India has been monetising its immovable assets to offset its debt. The carrier had a debt of around Rs 60,000 crore as on March 2019. In his written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Singh said on Thursday, "Air India has identified 111 parcels of properties for monetization; out of which 106 parcels of properties are in India and the rest five are overseas properties." The 111 parcels of properties consist of 211 units, which are under monetization, he added. Singh said, "Air India has so far received Rs 738 crore from sale of 115 units from 2015 to 12th July, 2021. Air India also realises about Rs 100 crore per annum from lease rental income." The Centre is currently in the process of selling Air India. Financial bids for the carrier are likely to be received from qualified interested bidders by September 15.
Categories: Business News

Market darling Tencent turns into world's worst stock bet with $170 billion wipeout

July 29, 2021 - 5:04pm
China’s unprecedented crackdown on its technology industry has turned Tencent Holdings Ltd. from a market darling into the world’s biggest stock loser this month.The Chinese Internet giant had tumbled 23% in July as of Wednesday, set for its worst month ever after erasing about $170 billion of market value. That marks the fastest evaporation of shareholder wealth worldwide during this period, Bloomberg data shows. Nine of the top 10 losers in shareholder value this month are Chinese companies, including Meituan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.Tencent’s shares rebounded by 7.1% on Thursday morning, tracking broader gains in Chinese stocks after Beijing intensified efforts to alleviate concerns about its crackdown on the private education industry.The Shenzhen-based firm is one of the key casualties of an official campaign that targets some of the nation’s tech behemoths considered posing a potential threat to China’s data security and financial stability. The selloff in its shares intensified earlier this week after Beijing broadened the regulatory clampdown to include other once high-flying industries such as private education. 84853941“I don’t see an end to the regulatory crackdown. Data security is a top priority to policy makers in the coming years. It’s a new normal,” said Paul Pong, managing director at Pegasus Fund Managers Ltd. “Valuations will have to be adjusted to cope with that, especially for technology giants like Tencent.”The regulatory storm has resulted in penalties such as the loss of exclusive music streaming rights and anti-trust fines for Tencent. This week, the company said it was also suspending new user registration for its popular WeChat services and was ordered to fix mobile app-related issues.Despite concerns about further punitive measures from regulators, the company’s stock is starting to look cheap and most analysts have refrained from cutting their price targets: Among the 68 analysts who have a rating on Tencent, 62 still recommend the stock as a “buy.” The average target price among analysts is HK$736.3, representing a 65% premium over Wednesday’s close of HK$447.2, Bloomberg data shows.At HK$447.2, the stock was trading at 22.5 times forward earnings, well below its historical average of 30 times. It also has fallen to the most oversold level in more than six years. 84853979“Tencent trading below HK$500 is attractive, but the upcoming earnings will be a key thing to watch,” said Pong, adding that if the firm can achieve 20%-30% growth, its shares could enjoy a solid rebound. “Because that would show they can still maintain good profitability in this tough environment.”To Citigroup analysts including Alicia Yap, any substantial share buyback by the company could also help reverse currently poor investor mood.“We believe if major Internet companies announce new share buyback programs or increase size of existing buybacks, it would demonstrate the management’s confidence in fundamentals and reassure investors on profit growth outlook,” Yap and her colleagues wrote in a research note. Yap has a ‘buy’ rating on the stock.
Categories: Business News

5G roll out: Juhi Chawla withdraws HC plea

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
NEW DELHI: Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla Thursday withdrew from the Delhi High Court her plea in connection with the dismissal of her lawsuit against 5G wireless network technology. Justice Jayant Nath allowed the withdrawal of the plea after a statement made by Chawla's counsel, advocate Deepak Khosla. "Learned counsel for the plaintiff (Chawla) wants to withdraw the application with liberty to avail remedy before the appellate court. Application is dismissed as withdrawn," the court said. Chawla had moved the application seeking that her lawsuit against 5G roll out be declared "rejected" instead of "dismissed". Chawla's counsel argued that the plaint, which "never went up to the level of suit", could only be rejected or returned in terms of the Civil Procedure Code, and not dismissed. The court had then also granted a week's time for deposit of Rs 20 lakh costs after Chawla decided to not press the application for its waiver. Application for refund of court fees was also withdrawn by Chawla. In June, the court had described the lawsuit by Chawla and two others against 5G roll out as "defective", "abuse of process of law" and filed for "gaining publicity" and dismissed it with costs of Rs 20 lakh. Justice J R Midha said the plaint in which questions have been raised about health hazards due to the 5G technology was "not maintainable" and was "stuffed with unnecessary Scandalous, frivolous and vexatious averments" which are liable to be struck down. The court said the suit filed by actress-environmentalist and others was to gain publicity which was clear as Chawla circulated the video conferencing link of the hearing on her social media account which resulted in the repeated disruptions thrice by unknown miscreants who continued disruptions despite repeated warnings. ADS SA
Categories: Business News

Bengal extends curbs till August 15

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
Keeping in mind the warning of experts about a possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Bengal government on Thursday extended the existing restrictions till August 15, but also announced certain relaxations. The administration allowed government programmes at indoor facilities with 50 per cent seating capacity, according to an order. Buses, taxis, autorickshaws have been permitted to operate with 50 per cent capacity. Offices, both government and private, are also allowed to function with half the manpower, it said The restrictions, imposed on May 16, were last extended till July 30. All the district administrations were asked to ensure strict compliance of directives related to wearing of masks and social distancing. "Any violation of the restriction measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and relevant sections of the IPC," the order stated.
Categories: Business News

World faces shortage of sailors to crew ships

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
LONDON: There could be a shortage of merchant sailors to crew commercial ships in five years if action is not taken to boost numbers, raising risks for global supply chains, a report said on Wednesday.The shipping industry is already struggling with crewing shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic, a situation that will exacerbate expected labour supply problems over the next few years, according to the study published by trade associations BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).The Delta variant of the coronavirus has hit hard in parts of Asia and prompted many nations to cut off land access for sailors. That's left captains unable to rotate weary crews and about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their stints, in a flashback to 2020 and the height of lockdowns when over 200,000 merchant sailors were stuck on ships.The study released by BIMCO and ICS estimated that 1.89 million seafarers were operating over 74,000 vessels in the global merchant fleet.The Seafarer Workforce Report, which was last published in 2015, predicted that an additional 89,510 officers would be needed by 2026, based on projections for growth in shipping trade, and said there was a current shortfall of some 26,240 certified officers, indicating that demand for seafarers had outpaced supply in 2021."We are far beyond the safety net of workforce surplus that protects the world's supply of food, fuel and medicine," said ICS secretary general Guy Platten."Without urgent action from governments the supply of seafarers will run dry." The report said more emphasis was needed to recruit and retain seafarers.Platten, citing industry surveys, added that as few as 20% of seafarers around the world had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and urged governments to prioritise "essential transport workers for vaccinations"."Combined with a surge in demand for labour, this is pushing global supply chains to breaking point," he added."Countries which supply most of the world's seafarers, such as the Philippines, Indonesia and India have limited access to COVID-19 vaccines, threatening further supply chain instability without rapid action at a national level."
Categories: Business News

Best mutual fund SIP portfolios to invest in 2021

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
If you are looking to invest in mutual fund schemes to meet your long-term financial goals and don’t know how to go about creating your portfolio, here’s some help. This article will help you with ready-made SIP portfolios based on your risk profile and investment amount. Here is a monthly update on our list of best SIP portfolios in July. There is no change in the list. ETMutualFunds.com launched its recommended mutual fund portfolios to invest through SIPs in October 2016. Since then, we have been closely monitoring the schemes in these portfolios and coming up with an update on them regularly. In this article we will tell you which schemes you can pick if you are starting your investment journey in 2021. If you have been investing in the earlier portfolios, you can continue to invest in them. Creating a mutual fund portfolio involves several steps. To begin with, you should shortlist some schemes with a consistent long-term performance record. Next, you should pick the schemes that are in line with your risk profile and investment goals. Then you would hit the next roadblock: how to fix the composition of the portfolio? The task is not finished yet. You should also need to monitor and review the performance of the portfolio regularly and take remedial steps if needed. Many investors find the task a bit too difficult to handle. That is why we launched these SIP portfolios. ETMutualFunds.com's best mutual fund SIP portfolios are meant for three different individual risk profiles: conservative, moderate and aggressive. We have also considered three SIP baskets – between Rs 2,000-5,000, between Rs 5,000-10,000 and above Rs 10,000 – while creating these portfolios. Take a look at our recommended portfolios. Keep an eye for our monthly updates. We would keep a close watch on these schemes and update to you about their performance every month. We will keep a close track of the performance of these schemes and update you regularly every month.Recommended portfolio for conservative investors SIP amount Scheme name Allocation (%) Rs 2000-5000 Axis Bluechip Fund 50% ICICI Prudential Regular Savings 50% >Rs 5,000-10,000 Axis Bluechip Fund 30% Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund/ Canara Robeco Bluechip Equity Fund 20% ICICI Prudential Regular Savings 50% >Rs 10,000 Axis Bluechip Fund 25% Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund/ Canara Robeco Bluechip Equity Fund 15% Kotak Standard Multicap Fund/ Aditya Birla Sun Life Equity Fund/ SBI Magnum Multicap Fund 10% ICICI Prudential Regular Savings 50% Recommended portfolios for moderate investors SIP amount Scheme name Allocation (%) Rs 2000-5000 Axis Bluechip Fund 65% ICICI Prudential Regular Savings 35% >Rs 5,000-10,000 Axis Bluechip Fund 40% UTI Equity Fund/ Kotak Standard Multicap Fund/ Aditya Birla Sun Life Equity Fund/ SBI Magnum Multicap Fund 25% ICICI Prudential Regular Savings - Direct Plan - Growth 35% >Rs 10,000 Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund/ Canara Robeco Bluechip Equity Fund 15% Axis Bluechip Fund 30% UTI Equity Fund/ Kotak Standard Multicap Fund/ Aditya Birla Sun Life Equity Fund/ SBI Magnum Multicap Fund 20% ICICI Prudential Regular Savings 35% Recommended portfolios for aggressive investors SIP amount Scheme name Allocation (%) Rs 2000-5000 Parag Parikh Long Term Equity Fund 50% Axis Bluechip Fund 50% >Rs 5,000-10,000 Parag Parikh Long Term Equity Fund 30% Axis Bluechip Fund 20% Mirae Asset Hybrid Equity Fund/ SBI Equity Hybrid Fund/ Canara Robeco Equity Hybrid Fund 15% Mirae Asset Emerging Bluechip Fund - Direct Plan - Growth 35% >Rs 10,000 Axis Bluechip Fund 25% Axis Small Cap Fund/ SBI Small Cap Fund 10% Parag Parikh Long Term Equity Fund 20% Mirae Asset Emerging Bluechip Fund 20% Mirae Asset Hybrid Equity Fund/ SBI Equity Hybrid Fund/ Canara Robeco Equity Hybrid Fund 10% Axis Mid Cap Fund or Tata Equity PE Fund 15% Here is our methodology: Methodology for equity funds: ETMutualFunds.com has employed the following parameters for shortlisting the equity mutual fund schemes.1. Mean rolling returns: Rolled daily for the last three years. 2. Consistency in the last three years: Hurst Exponent, H is used for computing the consistency of a fund.he H exponent is a measure of randomness of NAV series of a fund. Funds with high H tend to exhibit low volatility compared to funds with low H. i) When H = 0.5, the series of return is said to be a geometric Brownian time series. These type of time series is difficult to forecast. ii) When H is less than 0.5, the series is said to be mean reverting. iii) When H is greater than 0.5, the series is said to be persistent. The larger the value of H, the stronger is the trend of the series 3. Downside risk: We have considered only the negative returns given by the mutual fund scheme for this measure. X =Returns below zero Y = Sum of all squares of X Z = Y/number of days taken for computing the ratio Downside risk = Square root of Z 4. Outperformance: It is measured by Jensen's Alpha for the last three years. Jensen's Alpha shows the risk-adjusted return generated by a mutual fund scheme relative to the expected market return predicted by the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). Higher Alpha indicates that the portfolio performance has outstripped the returns predicted by the market. Average returns generated by the MF Scheme = [Risk Free Rate + Beta of the MF Scheme * {(Average return of the index - Risk Free Rate}5. Asset size: For Equity funds, the threshold asset size is Rs 50 crore Methodology for debt funds: 1. Mean rolling returns: Rolled daily for the last three years. 2. Consistency in the last three years: Hurst Exponent, H is used for computing the consistency of a fund. The H exponent is a measure of randomness of NAV series of a fund. Funds with high H tend to exhibit low volatility compared to funds with low H. i) When H = 0.5, the series of return is said to be a geometric Brownian time series. These type of time series is difficult to forecast. ii) When H is less than 0.5, the series is said to be mean reverting. iii) When H is greater than 0.5, the series is said to be persistent. The larger the value of H, the stronger is the trend of the series 3. Downside risk: We have considered only the negative returns given by the mutual fund scheme for this measure. X =Returns below zero Y = Sum of all squares of X Z = Y/number of days taken for computing the ratio Downside risk = Square root of Z 4. Outperformance: Fund Return – Benchmark return. Rolling returns rolled daily is used for computing the return of the fund and the benchmark and subsequently the Active return of the fund. 5. Asset size: For Debt funds, the threshold asset size is Rs 50 crore Methodology for hybrid funds: 1. Mean rolling returns: Rolled daily for the last three years. 2. Consistency in the last three years: Hurst Exponent, H is used for computing the consistency of a fund. The H exponent is a measure of randomness of NAV series of a fund. Funds with high H tend to exhibit low volatility compared to funds with low H. i) When H = 0.5, the series of return is said to be a geometric Brownian time series. These type of time series is difficult to forecast. ii) When H <0.5, the series is said to be mean reverting. iii) When H>0.5, the series is said to be persistent. The larger the value of H, the stronger is the trend of the series3. Downside risk: We have considered only the negative returns given by the mutual fund scheme for this measure. X = Returns below zero Y = Sum of all squares of X Z = Y/number of days taken for computing the ratio Downside risk = Square root of Z 4. Outperformance i) Equity portion: It is measured by Jensen's Alpha for the last three years. Jensen's Alpha shows the risk-adjusted return generated by a mutual fund scheme relative to the expected market return predicted by the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). Higher Alpha indicates that the portfolio performance has outstripped the returns predicted by the market. Average returns generated by the MF Scheme = [Risk Free Rate + Beta of the MF Scheme * {(Average return of the index - Risk Free Rate} ii) Debt portion: Fund Return – Benchmark return. Rolling returns rolled daily is used for computing the return of the fund and the benchmark and subsequently the Active return of the fund. 5. Asset size: For Hybrid funds, the threshold asset size is Rs 50 crore (Disclaimer: past performance is no guarantee for future performance.)
Categories: Business News

Paper stocks buzzing on Dalal Street. Here's why

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
New Delhi: Shares of paper stocks were abuzz on Thursday on the back of multiple reasons, including a sharp up move in prices of raw material and opening up of the economy.Lumber prices could be due for a late summer rally, Bank of America said. Wildfires in parts of the United States and Canada have raised concerns on supply constraints, the global brokerage added.The prices of lumber, a key raw material for industry, have moved up sharply in China, making Indian players more competitive.Also, the gradual opening up of the localised lockdown across states augurs well for the writing and printing segment. "The companies manufacturing paper from own pulp have started doing well," said S Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP Securities.Shares of NR Agarwal Industries surged 20 per cent, its daily circuit limit, to 301.70 on Thursday. Star Paper and Shree Ajit Pulp and Paper gained 6 per cent each to Rs 172.30 and Rs 334.95, respectively.JK Papers, West Coast Paper Mills, Pudumjee Paper Products, Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers, Nath Industries, Ganga Papers and B&A Packaging India advanced up to 5 per cent each. Most of them were locked in the upper circuit."The long-term outlook for the Indian paper industry remains favorable, driven by increasing literacy levels, growth in print media, higher government spending on education sector, changing urban lifestyles as well as economic growth," said Likhita Chepa, Senior Analyst, CapitalVia Global Research.According to Ranganathan, many paper companies have de-risked from W&P paper into multilayer boards, which will propel growth going forward and accelerate the earnings trajectory for such companies.The paper industry is one of the worst-affected industries due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. "Pure play paper and board companies like JK Paper, West Coast Paper & NR Agarwal should reap the benefits next fiscal," said Ranganathan.Chepa is bullish on JK Paper in this industry as it has the potential to generate decent returns over the long term.
Categories: Business News

What is the right time to buy Zomato?

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
I know some of the international research reports have pegged the valuations higher compared to current levels but we do not subscribe to that view and we will advise investors not to get involved in Zomato at this stage, says Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Group Chairman, Inditrade Capital. Are you a shareholder of Zomato? If not, what is holding you back?I do not want to be a shareholder of Zomato right now at the kind of valuation at which it is listed and the kind of valuation it is currently quoting. I am not for a minute saying it is a bad business or that the future will be uncertain. I think they have a good future. They have raised a lot of money and they are in a segment where the growth potential is significant. But the valuation at which it is currently quoting leaves very little room for error or growth on this level. I know some of the international research reports have pegged the valuations higher compared to current levels but we do not subscribe to that view and we will advise investors not to get involved in Zomato at this stage. Keep watching the space. If and when it is available at a significantly reduced valuations, it may be worth looking at. Where within insurance are you finding comfort?SBI Life has been our favourite pick for some time. We also like Max Financial Services. Max Life Insurance is also doing a whole lot of right things. The agency channel which Max has developed is kind of unparalleled and that is a channel which probably is the least cost insurance mobilisation channel and that has been standing Max in good stead. We believe that there is significant opportunity for price appreciation and value accretion in that space in Max Life and of course Max Financial Services through that. These are the two companies where investors can even now consider buying if they have a long term view. But having said, the Covid second wave has given a jolt to the sector. The sharp rise in claims have led to significant erosion in profitability and margins but that is an one off. Hopefully, we will not see a recurrence of that in the near future. It is a great sector to be in but at this stage, these are the only two companies where we will recommend buying.
Categories: Business News

Devang Mehta on why ITC is getting punished

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
In the last five years, it has not been able to deliver on the PAT front as well as on the market cap creation front. It is going to be a difficult choice for a lot of people, says Devang Mehta, Head -- Equity Advisory, Centrum Wealth Management. On ITCThe problem with ITC has been that over the last five years, it has underperformed its peer set -- right from HUL to Nestle to Britannia to companies which have also underperformed in the last one or two years like Dabur or Marico. On the valuation front ITC could be, 14-15-16 times one year forward while all these companies be anywhere in the range of 40 to 80-85 in terms of their forward price earnings ratios. But what ITC has promised over the last five years about the demerger for the FMCG business, for the food business -- has never happened. It’s cigarette business has done all the heavy lifting which is considered a sin business and which always is subject to a lot of regulatory overhangs in terms of increasing taxes, has always marred the sentiment of this business. Again, in terms of dividend yield, ITC is a great stock but if something gives you a dividend yield of say 6-7% but there is a wealth destruction as stock price falls from Rs 350 to Rs 210-215, it does not sound great for the portfolio investors. There are people who still say that it is a value buy and it will give you returns over the longer term, but there is something called opportunity cost. In the last five years, it has not been able to deliver on the PAT front as well as on the market cap creation front. I think it is going to be a difficult choice for a lot of people. But yes, for the next three, four years, it is a value buy for somebody in for good dividend yield as well as some growth prospects. But growth investors like us would typically prefer the Nestles or the HULs of the world though they are expensive. On the Tatas picking up stake in Tejas Networks & what is happening in Bharti AirtelTata picking up stake in Tejas actually summarises the mood of India -- the passion as well as the expansion that India Inc is getting into. Secondly, capex is happening in the old economy sectors and cement, steel and other old economic companies are expanding. There has been a lot of productivity enhancement. A lot of people are getting into a lot of these big companies and are not targeting smaller entrepreneurs. These companies have held their businesses over the last five-10 years. All the new age IPOs are also getting a lot of subscriptions. Plus a lot of mergers and acquisitions are going on, a lot of takeovers are happening and a lot of people taking stake in the new age businesses like broadband or AI or robotics or those dealing with productivity enhancement. Coming to Bharti Airtel, it is trying to evolve as a company which probably has some pricing power left. There was intense competition for the better part of the last three-four years but now with only three companies surviving -- Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone -- the pricing power is coming back. It is too premature to say it, but after the price hikes by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea might also follow suit. So, probably better times are ahead for telecom players as well as companies who are in niche work or broadbands or AI. A lot of investor interest augurs very well as it probably suits everyone. For the longer term, companies are taking strategic stakes in other businesses. Tata Motors has said the semiconductor situation will improve only in the second half of FY22. Maruti also said they foresee chip shortage for the next 12 months. In the backdrop of a big miss from Maruti both on the PAT, bottom line and EBITDA fronts, are the price targets on Maruti going to be revised lower?The numbers as well as the management commentary and the body language were not very positive. The market had realised earlier that the Q1 numbers could show a severe lockdown impact. I do not think there would be a very negative reaction as such as the Street was sort of expecting this. But a couple of OEMs reiterating the same thing about the chip shortage continuing for the next few months would not go down very well. Also, the demand scenario does not seem to have improved as much for at least the car as well as the bike manufacturers. However, one has to look at the next three months. August is when the festive demand in India starts a little bit and goes up in October or November. So these three months would be very crucial because I expect the lockdowns are over and the economy is opening up. If the demand now transmits into real buying, it would make a difference. Also, these companies have taken price hikes to just counter the raw material cost hikes. So, in the next three-four months, we should see if momentum is coming back in the auto sector. This sector probably is undervalued and under owned at the moment. I will reserve my comments after looking at one more quarterly number or at least see how the sales pan out over the next three-four months. Could there be a flatlining of pharma stocks from here onwards?What we are seeing in the overall market in the last one and a half years has been more a case of sector rotation. Among the pharma stocks -- the Indian pharma, the generic stocks or the companies which are into niche MNC companies or even diagnostic or hospital stocks for that matter -- have seen sectoral rotation. One, one and half year back, MNC pharma companies, CRAMS used to do well. Suddenly the Indian generic companies took the lead and a lot of companies which were developing Covid vaccines or drugs for lifestyle diseases, also started to do very well. Now again, a couple of them have not been very well received by the Street and missed their estimates in terms of margins as well as revenues. I think the money has started to shift back to MNC pharma companies like Abbot, Sanofi or Pfizer in a way. Also, these companies have come up with a good set of numbers in the last one or two quarters. The diagnostic space has evolved over a period where the collective market cap of the three listed companies would be around Rs 60,000-70,000 crore and the market size would be roughly around Rs 3-3.5 lakh crore. So one can say that inside pharma also, there has been a little bit of a sectoral churning among different types of pharma businesses. I would not write off this sector. IT and pharma would remain investors’ favourites over the longer term but there would be some knee-jerk reactions to some numbers which one can expect after such a huge rally.
Categories: Business News

COVID: 6-member Central team to visit Kerala

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
The Union Health Ministry will depute a six-member team to Kerala for effective COVID-19 management as the state reports a spike in daily cases. The team headed by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Director S K Singh will reach Kerala Friday and visit some districts reporting a high case positivity rate, the Health Ministry said in a statement. In a tweet, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, "The Central government is sending six-member team to Kerala headed by NCDC Director. As a large number of COVID cases are still being reported in Kerala, the team will aid state's ongoing efforts in COVID-19 management." The ministry's statement said the team will work closely with state health authorities, take a stock of the ground situation and recommend necessary public health interventions to contain the spread of the virus. With an active caseload of 1.54 lakh as of latest update, Kerala accounts for 37.1 per cent of the total active cases in the country. Average daily cases being reported in the state are above 17,443. The state has also reported a high case positivity of 12.93 per cent cumulatively and 11.97 per cent weekly. Six districts are reporting more than 10 per cent weekly positivity, the statement stated.
Categories: Business News

Ramco Systems tanks 13% after reporting loss in Q1

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
New Delhi: Shares of Ramco Systems plunged as much as 13 per cent in early trade on Thursday after the company posted a poor set of numbers in the June 2021 quarter.The IT solutions provider reported a net loss of Rs 6.15 crore in the quarter ended on June 30, 2021, the company said in a regulatory filing. It had reported a net profit of Rs 8.77 crore in the year ago quarter.Shares of Ramco Systems tanked over 13 per cent to Rs 538.20 on Thursday. However, it was trading at Rs 556.05 at 9.50 am. BSE Sensex was trading 197.26 points, or 0.38 per cent, higher at 52,640.97 at the same time. The scrip settled at Rs 621.75 on Wednesday.The company reported a decline of 9 per cent in sales to Rs 68.90 crore in the quarter ended June 2021 as against sales of Rs 75.71 crore during the same quarter previous year.However, veteran investor Vijay Kedia purchased more than 58,000 shares of the company during the June quarter. His holding in the company is worth Rs 34.5 crore.As of June 30, he held 5,56,034 equity shares, or 1.81 per cent, stake in the company, which was 4,98,014 equity shares, or 1.62 per cent, at the end of March 2021 quarter.
Categories: Business News

India ordered 100 crore vax doses till July 16

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
The government has so far ordered about 100 crore doses of Covid vaccine, two-thirds of that in the last two weeks. This was revealed in a health ministry response to a question in Rajya Sabha. According to the reply, 66 crore doses were ordered on July 16 out of 100.6 crore doses ordered so far by the central government.Junior health minister, Bharati Pravin Pawar, was answering a question from Congress MP Kapil Sibal on Covid vaccines ordered by the government so far from various manufacturers. The data does not include doses that India got from Covax (a global mechanism for pooled procurement for various countries), those procured by the states and the doses directly procured by private hospitals from the two manufacturers. 84844589Till March 12, the government had ordered only 18.6 crore doses, after which it ordered 16 crore on May 5. Till May end, it had ordered 26.6 crore doses of Covishield and eight crore doses of Covaxin.In response to the question seeking details of orders placed with foreign vaccine manufacturers, the minister said that the government had constituted a team to deal with various issues related to procurement of Covid vaccines from foreign manufacturers and that “this team is in continuous dialogue with foreign manufacturers”.
Categories: Business News

How top cryptocurrencies are faring today

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
New Delhi: After a decent rally, major cryptocurrencies were trading flat at 9:30 hours IST on Thursday. Crypto bulls were tired after a sharp run in the last one week. However, XRP emerged as an exception, which was just shy of a double-digit gain.The global crypto market cap jumped to $1.54 trillion, almost flat compared to the last day. However, the total crypto market volume declined 11 per cent to $86.65 billion.Bitcoin broke above $40,000 on Wednesday and was headed for another attempt at breaking from its months long range as short sellers bailed out and traders drew confidence from recent positive comments about the cryptocurrency by high-profile investors."The next few days are likely to be quite interesting for the largest asset by market capitalization, Bitcoin (BTC), as it crossed the $40,000 mark and Ethereum (ETH), too, is looking promising at current levels," ZebPay Trade Desk."This week’s price action has, in fact, flipped the market sentiment to some degree. For the first time since the mid-May crash, we are witnessing volumes return gradually as investors are cautiously contributing to inflows positively," it added.The bullish boost in the crypto cart has come after the partnership between Japan’s money transfer provider, SBI Remit, and Philippines’s mobile payments service Coins.ph was finalised. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;rTech View by Giottus Cryptocurrency ExchangeAlgorand (ALGO) is one of the most notable DeFi projects with a sophisticated environment, community, and blockchain network. ALGO is a strong project that could see a potential breakout by October and for the long term should be highly considered.In the case of a DeFi wave, Algorand will likely lead the way. Since its inception, ALGO has been in repeated rallies, registering new all-time highs every time. It is currently among the top 40 cryptocurrencies by market cap. ALGO is showing great promise and the recent dip in its price could be an excellent opportunity to buy. 84848983ALGO has been making a double-bottom on both four hour and one-day time frames. Double-bottom is a fundamentally bullish pattern that signifies a trend reversal from bearish to a bullish trend.But for a double-bottom to work, a breakout and confirmation is essential. Buying near the critical support area (green line) will be ideal. But it is also important to notice that the market is unstable, and hence breaking the double-bottom's support will undoubtedly continue the downtrend.Major LevelsSupport: $0.674, $0.55Resistance: $1.15, $1.54Time is in UTC and the daily time frame is 12:00 AM - 12: 00 PM UTC(Views and recommendations given in this section are the analysts' own and do not represent those of ETMarkets.com. Please consult your financial adviser before taking any position in the asset/s mentioned.)
Categories: Business News

Why the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
What science supports masking after vaccination?Masks help stop the spread of the coronavirus. They're a literal layer between you and any virus in the air and can help prevent infection. The reason public health officials are calling for more mask-wearing is that there is clear and mounting evidence that - though rare - breakthrough COVID-19 infections can occur in people who are fully vaccinated. This is particularly true with emerging variants of concern. The good news is that COVID-19 infection, if it does happen, is much less likely to lead to serious illness or death in vaccinated people. Some conditions make a breakthrough infection more likely in a vaccinated person: more virus circulating in the community, lower vaccination rates and more highly transmissible variants. If vaccinated people can get infected with the coronavirus, they can also spread it. Hence the CDC recommendation that vaccinated people remain masked in indoor public spaces to help stop viral transmission. Where will the guidelines apply? The CDC mask recommendation targets areas in the US with more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents or that had more than 8% of tests come back positive during the previous week. By the CDC's own definitions "substantial" community transmission is 50 to 99 cases of infection per 100,000 people per week, and "high" is 100 or more. Los Angeles County, for example, far surpassed that mark in mid-July, with more than 10,000 coronavirus cases per week. Using these criteria, the CDC guidance applied to 63% of US counties on the day it was announced. Who's actually protected by masking recommendations? The recommendation that fully vaccinated people continue wearing masks is primarily intended to protect the unvaccinated - which includes kids under age 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccines in the US. The CDC further recommends masking in public for vaccinated people with unvaccinated household members, regardless of local community transmission rates. Unvaccinated people are at a substantially higher risk of getting infected with and transmitting SARS-CoV-2, and of developing complications from COVID-19. How do new variants like delta change things? Preliminary data suggests that the rise of variants like delta may increase the chance of breakthrough infections in people who received only their first vaccine dose. For instance, one study found that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine had an effectiveness of just 34% against the delta variant, compared with 51% against the older alpha variant in terms of warding off symptomatic disease. The data is more reassuring for those who have been fully vaccinated. After two doses, the Pfizer vaccine still provides strong protection against the delta variant, according to real-world data from Scotland and a variety of other countries; and in preliminary studies out of Canada and England, researchers noted only a "modest" decrease in effectiveness against symptomatic disease, from 93% for the alpha variant to 88% for delta. Other recent preliminary reports from highly vaccinated countries like Israel and Singapore are sobering, however. Before the delta variant became widespread, from January to April 2021, Israel reported that the Pfizer vaccine was 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease. Since June 20, 2021, with the delta variant circulating more widely, the Pfizer vaccine has been only 41% effective in preventing symptomatic disease, according to preliminary data reported by Israel's Ministry of Health in late July. An analysis using government data from Singapore demonstrated that 75% of recent COVID-19 infections were in people who were at least partially vaccinated - though most of them were not severely ill. In all reports and studies, however, vaccines remain very good at preventing hospitalizations and severe disease due to the delta variant - arguably the outcomes we most care about. All of this emerging data supports the WHO's global recommendation that even fully vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks. Most of the world still has low vaccination rates and uses a range of vaccines with variable efficacies, and countries have different burdens of circulating SARS-CoV-2 virus. With US case counts and breakthrough infection numbers headed in what public health officials consider the wrong direction, it makes sense that the CDC would modify its masking recommendations to be more conservative. What conditions in the US warrant masking up (again)? It makes sense that the CDC didn't immediately change its recommendations to fall in line with the WHO's June guidelines. With an overall high countrywide vaccination rate and a low overall COVID-19 hospitalization and death burden, the U.S. has a COVID-19 landscape very different from that in most of the world. Additionally, some experts worried that an official message that the vaccinated should don masks might dissuade unvaccinated individuals from seeking vaccines. But as President Joe Biden put it on July 27, "new research and concerns about the delta variant" are behind the CDC's change in masking recommendations. Some locations are seeing further increase in community transmission, even among vaccinated people. New preliminary research yet to be peer reviewed suggests the delta variant is associated with a viral load a thousand times higher in patients than seen with older strains. And early reports show infected vaccinated people with the delta variant can carry just as high an amount of virus as the unvaccinated that they can in turn spread to others. The shifting recommendations don't mean that the old ones were wrong, necessarily, only that conditions have changed. The bottom line? Masks do help cut down on coronavirus transmission, but it's still vaccines that offer the best protection.The writer is from University of California, San Francisco.This piece is syndicated from The Conversation by PTI.
Categories: Business News

Setting up of petrochemical complex in Kakinada hangs fire as Centre, AP govt continue wrangling over VGF

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
The petrochemical complex, proposed to be jointly set up by GAIL and HPCL at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, seems to be getting delayed as the Centre and the state governments wrangle over the viability gap funding (VGF). While the Centre insists that the Rs 5,615 crore VGF "is necessary to make the project viable," the state contends that the Rs 32,901 crore project could become viable without any VGF due to the reduction in corporate tax and interest rates. Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the AP government has to take "an appropriate decision" on the issue "in the overall interest of the state" as the project would have a "direct, indirect and induced impact on the economy." "The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has conveyed to the AP government that refinery and petrochemical projects are capital-intensive and require huge amounts of investment. Oil Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) have indicated to the state that VGF is necessary to make the project viable," Teli noted. Establishing a greenfield crude oil refinery and petrochemical complex has been mandated under Schedule XIII of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, but the project has been hanging fire for over seven years now. After a feasibility study by Engineers India Limited, GAIL-HPCL signed a memorandum of understanding with the AP government during the Partnership Summit in January 2017 for setting up the 1.5 MMTPA petrochemical complex at a cost of Rs 32,901 crore on a 2,000-acre site in the Kakinada Special Economic Zone. But the project did not take off as the VGF became a bone of contention between the Centre and the state. The proposed complex, with a cracker unit, was supposed to produce ethylene and its derivatives. BJP MP G V L Narasimha Rao, who raised the issue in Rajya Sabha, told P T I that the project could be revived if the state government was willing to contribute towards VGF. He said the state's economy would have benefitted hugely from this investment, rather than the unbridled expenditure under 'freebie' schemes. "It makes eminent sense for a state like AP, which is heavily deficient in manufacturing and industrial activity, to secure the project. (Chief Minister) Jagan is making a wrong decision by not grabbing it," Narasimha Rao remarked. It was due to the shortsightedness of both (former CM) Chandrababu Naidu and Jagan Mohan Reddy that AP was being deprived of a huge petrochemical complex, the MP lamented. "Our Chief Minister has already requested the Centre for its support to take forward the strategic project without any VGF. This will go a long way in fulfilling the commitment made under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014," state Industries and Infrastructure Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy said. Official sources said the Centre has asked Engineers India Limited and SBI Caps to re-work the financials, following the recent changes in the corporate tax structure and interest rates, to possibly salvage the project.
Categories: Business News

Supreme Court reserves verdict on Amazon's pleas against FRL-Reliance deal

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
The Supreme Court Thursday reserved verdict on the pleas of e-commerce giant Amazon against the Rs 24,713 crore deal for merger of Future Retail Ltd (FRL) with Reliance Retail.Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC and FRL are embroiled in a bitter legal fight over the deal and the US-based firm has sought in the apex court that the Singapore's Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award, which restrained FRL from going ahead with the merger, was valid and enforceable.“So we close the case now. The judgement is reserved,” a bench of justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai said after senior advocates Harish Salve and Gopal Subramanium, appearing for FRL and Amazon respectively, concluded their submissions in the case.Salve, appearing for FRL, referred to judgements on validity and the enforceability of arbitral awards and said that there was no notion of EA under the Indian law on arbitration and conciliation and, in any case, there was no arbitration agreement to this effect.There was no provision for EA under the Indian Law and “it cannot be done by the process of construction”, Salve said referring to the single-judge order of the Delhi High Court which had held the award of the EA to be valid.On the other hand, Amazon has told the bench that the Biyanis of Future Group had negotiated with it to enter into certain agreements and are bound by Singapore's EA award restraining FRL from going ahead with its merger deal with Reliance Retail. It reiterated that EA's award was enforceable.Amazon had moved the top court against the Delhi High Court's division bench order which paved the way for the Reliance-FRL deal.On February 8, the division bench had stayed the single-judge direction to FRL and various statutory authorities to maintain the status quo on the mega deal.The interim direction was passed on FRL's appeal challenging the February 2 order of the single judge which had ruled in favour of the US firm saying that the EA's award was valid and enforceable.Amazon had first filed a plea before the high court (single judge) for enforcement of the October 25, 2020, EA award by Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) restraining FRL from going ahead with the deal with Reliance Retail.In August last year, the Future group had reached an agreement to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehousing units to Reliance.Subsequently, Amazon took FRL into EA before the SIAC over alleged breach of contract by the Future group.
Categories: Business News

India's inflation may accelerate past RBI target

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
India’s retail and wholesale inflation will probably accelerate during the second half of this year, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.The wholesale price index is expected to continue to grow in double-digits, at 10.71% from a year during the July-September quarter, up from the previous forecast of 10.12%, before slowing to 9.13% in the last quarter of the calendar year, according to the survey. Economists also upgraded their outlooks for consumer inflation to 5.7% and 5.2%, respectively, for the final two quarters of 2021.Forecasts for gross domestic product were raised to a 9.2% expansion in the fiscal year ending March 2022, from the previous 9%, while the gross value added outlook edged down slightly to 9%.Headline inflation will stay above the RBI’s 4% target, said Bernard Aw, head of Asia-Pacific economics at Coface in Singapore. “Should CPI remain persistent at current elevated rates, and stay around or above the top end of the 2%-6% target band, we don’t rule out a hike as early as January-March 2022.”Indian monetary policy makers have maintained that the country’s current inflation is due to supply-side problems and won’t persist, while they focus resources on an economic rebound.
Categories: Business News

The most ridiculed Nifty stock gets largest retail attention in June quarter

July 29, 2021 - 2:04pm
NEW DELHI: Last month, a technical analyst from a prominent Mumbai brokerage posted a peculiar stock recommendation on his WhatsApp account:CMP: Rs 200Resistance: Rs 200Support: Rs 200Target: Rs 200Stop loss: Rs 200Stock: ITCThis ridiculous recommendation was obviously not serious, but in jest. Though, it was just one of those memes running around in the financial circles, exploiting the fact that the share price of ITC has not moved much from Rs 200 level in the last one-and-a-half year.The underperformance of the stock vis-à-vis its peers has generated some scathing criticism from the likes of fund manager Manu Rishi Guptha (which also elicited Rs 100 crore defamation lawsuit from ITC), at the same time became the butt of harmless jokes on the Internet.Notwithstanding all these, data suggests the stock was among the most favourite investment for retail investors among all 50 Nifty stocks during the June quarter.Number of retail investors in the company grew by 4.31 lakh during the quarter to 25 lakh. They together now hold a 12.6 per cent stake in the company, up from 11.5 per cent at the end of March quarter. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;rWhy such retail exuberance?The question arises, despite ridiculed mercilessly and virtually no performance even in an unprecedented bull run, why are retail investors attracted to the stock? The answer is multilateral.One, the stock is one of the cheapest FMCG name available. Two, it is a large professionally managed company with a decent growth potential. Three, most brokerages think it is a sleeping giant and are bullish on it. Four, its products have good brand visibility even among first time investors who are coming to Dalal Street in flocks. Five, it has developed a cult-like following among investors and hence gets a lot of eyeballs.All these reasons are complemented by unbridled hopes that the stock will make money for them. In the June quarter, even though the stock did not move much, business-wise the company impressed many analysts.For the quarter, ITC’s revenue from operations for the quarter rose 36 per cent to Rs 12,959.15 crore. The net profit climbed 28.62 per cent to Rs 3,013.49 crore. Operating performance was well ahead of analyst forecasts aided by beat in cigarettes and paperboard businesses.However, its problems with FMCG and hotel businesses persisted.ITC’s ever expanding FMCG portfolio includes from atta to biscuits to soaps to hand sanitisers, which have managed to grab some market share from its competitors. But that has come at a cost. It sells these products at a fraction of margins to its competitors.For June quarter, its non-cigarette FMCG Ebit margin was 4.7 per cent. In comparison, HUL said its margins stood at 24 per cent. The company management has repeatedly made claims of recovering margins for some time now, but has failed to deliver on the promise.Besides, due to the pandemic its hospitality business under which it runs luxury hotel chains and resorts has suffered extensively. This has drawn criticism from shareholders with demand to offload such asset-heavy businesses that are bleeding cash. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;rDue to these shortcomings, analysts say, the stock has not moved much. Concerns over its non-performing businesses outweigh the superb growth of its cigarette and packaging portfolios. However, that has not deterred them to be bullish about its prospects. Most analysts expect the stock to anywhere between Rs 250-280, meaning a potential upside of about 35 per cent from current levels.All these retail investors who entered into the stock last quarter will definitely hope that these projections come true. Rest of us, till then, can sit back and enjoy the memes.
Categories: Business News

Supply snarls can go on till Feb: Freight-Broker

July 29, 2021 - 11:04am
A worsening traffic jam clogging global cargo arteries won’t ease up until after the 2022 Chinese New Year in February, said the head of one of the world’s largest freight brokers. The supply chain is suffering from a “dramatic lack of capacity” for ships, trucks, trains, containers and warehouse workers, said Bob Biesterfeld, chief executive officer of C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. said. Labor shortages are keeping trucks idle and containers stuck at distribution centers, which is capping capacity. “There’s really not any point in the supply chain that is not experiencing some sort of dislocation or issues,” Biesterfeld said in an interview. Containers stuck in freight yards with no one to pick them up are at record levels, as are the charges related to such so-called detention of equipment, Biesterfeld said. Some shippers are turning to costly air freight out of concern about ocean-cargo delays. C.H. Robinson is now operating an average of 15 to 20 cargo flights a week, which it had done much less frequently before the pandemic, Biesterfeld said.Adding to the overcrowding, large retailers are shipping holiday merchandise early. “Clearly as we think about back to school, as we think about the holidays, there is going to be incremental demand layered on top of what is an already tight market,” Biesterfeld said. “I don’t think there’s any sign that it’s going to get better.
Categories: Business News

3 rule changes that will impact your money from Aug

July 29, 2021 - 11:04am
There are a few rule changes which will come into effect from August 1 that will impact the average person's personal finances. Here is a look at them. NACH system to be available on all daysThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that the National Automated Clearing House (NACH) system will be available on all days, including Sundays and bank holidays, effective from August 1, 2021.NACH is a bulk payment system operated by NPCI which facilitates one-to-many credit transfers, such as payment of dividend, interest, salary, pension, and also collection of bill payments pertaining to electricity, gas, telephone, water, periodic instalments towards loans, investments in mutual funds, insurance premium, etc.At present, auto-debit instructions given by the bank account holder does not get processed on days the bank is closed like Sundays, bank holidays and even gazetted holidays. Further, since most companies use NACH for salary credits these also do not happen on bank holidays.From August 1, your salary credit into your bank account, auto-debits related to mutual fund SIPs, home/car/personal loans EMI payments, bill payments such as telephone bills, gas payments, electricity bills etc. will take place even on bank holidays.Click here to read the full story: Now a bank holiday won't stop your loan EMI, SIP debits, salary credits: So track account balancePenalty on self-assessment tax dues above Rs 1 lakh A government press release issued on May 20, 2021, stated that if an individual taxpayer's tax dues, after subtracting TDS and advance tax dues, exceeds Rs 1 lakh for FY 2020-21, then the payment must be made on or before July 31, 2021. The penal interest, as per under 234A of the Income-tax Act, 1961, will be levied at the rate of 1 per cent per month from August 1, 2021, till the date of filing of ITR. The press release clarified that if senior citizens (who are not required to pay advance tax as per income tax laws) pay any taxes before July 31, 2021, then the taxes paid will be treated as advance tax. Further, if due to this the final tax liability goes below Rs 1 lakh, then penal interest will not be levied under section 234A.However, such relief has not been provided for individuals aged below 60 years. Therefore, they need to pay all their tax dues if it exceeds Rs 1 lakh to avoid penal interest from August 1.Click here to read the full story: Form 16 delayed till July 15, deadline for self assessment tax over Rs 1 lakh remains July 31Revision in ICICI Bank transaction chargesAccording to ICICI Bank's website, the service charges of various transactions of regular savings account will be revised from August 1, 2021. Here is a look at some of the revisions according to the website: Cash transaction chargesValue limit (sum total of deposits and withdrawals) the value limit is inclusive of both Home and Non home branch transactions.a) Home Branch (Branch where account is opened or ported)Rs 2 lakh. (w.e.f Aug 01, 2021 - Rs 1 lakh) Free per month per account.Above Rs 2 lakh (w.e.f Aug 01, 2021 - Rs 1 lakh) - Rs 5 per Rs 1,000, subject to a minimum of Rs 150b) Non-Home branchNo charges for cash transactions value up to Rs 25,000 per day.Above Rs 25,000 - Rs 5 per Rs 1,000 subject to a minimum of Rs 150Cheque booksNil for 20 (w.e.f Aug 01, 2021 - Nil for 25) payable-at-par cheque leaves in a year; Rs. 20 for every additional cheque book of 10 leaves
Categories: Business News

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