13 January 2024 : Important Financial News in India


Source: Economic Times, “Today’s ePaper”
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Table of Contents

IT’s Not So Bad: D-St Indices Soar to Fresh Highs

The Indian stock market witnessed a significant rise, reaching new all-time highs, particularly in the information technology sector. This surge was largely attributed to better-than-expected third-quarter earnings from industry leaders TCS and Infosys. Investors were pleasantly surprised as the results were not as adverse as anticipated, leading to a boost in market confidence and investment in IT shares.

India Blocks Global Crypto Sites Over Laundering Fears

The Indian government took a decisive action against foreign cryptocurrency exchanges and virtual digital asset service providers like Binance, Kucoin, and OKX by blocking access to their web platforms. This move was motivated by concerns over potential money laundering activities, signaling India’s cautious stance on the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency market and its implications for financial security.

Consumer Inflation Tad Up, Factory Output Slips

India experienced a marginal increase in retail inflation in December, while simultaneously, November’s industrial production hit an eight-month low, only growing by 2.4%. These economic indicators suggest that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) might maintain its current policy approach in the upcoming Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, as economists look for ways to balance inflationary pressures with industrial output.

Tata Consumer Signs Pacts to Buy Capital Foods, Organic India

Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) announced its plans to acquire Capital Foods, known for Ching’s Secret and Smith & Jones brands, and Organic India, a company backed by Fabindia that specializes in organic teas and health products. This strategic move by TCPL signifies its ambition to expand its presence in the fast-growing food and wellness sectors.

HCLTech Bucks Trend, Wipro Net Profit Falls Again

In contrast to the general trend of moderate growth in the $245-billion IT services industry, HCLTech, India’s third-largest software exporter, reported better-than-expected performance in the third quarter of the financial year. Meanwhile, Wipro witnessed another fall in its net profit, highlighting the varying fortunes of companies within the IT sector.

Temple Run: Pvt Jets to Crowd Ayodhya Skies

Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that around 100 private jets are expected to land at Ayodhya airport on January 22, coinciding with the inauguration of the Ram Mandir, a significant event to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This statement underscores the high-profile nature of the event and its importance in the cultural and political landscape.

From $22B to $1B: Byju’s Valuation at BlackRock Bottom

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, dramatically reduced the valuation of Byju’s, a leading edtech firm, from $22 billion to about $1 billion. This drastic 95% decrease in valuation since the last fundraising in October 2022 reflects the challenges and uncertainties facing the edtech industry and the reevaluation of tech investments globally.

Impact of US-UK Attack on Houthis on Oil Prices

The recent military strikes by the US and UK on Houthis in Yemen have raised concerns about their potential impact on global oil prices, particularly in the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha (LS) polls in India. This development is being closely monitored by India, given its geopolitical significance and potential economic consequences. The strikes could escalate tensions in West Asia, a key region for global oil production and supply, thereby affecting oil prices worldwide.

India-US Collaboration on Critical Mineral Processing Technology

India and the United States are in talks to develop a collaborative mechanism for jointly advancing technologies to process critical minerals. This potential cooperation is an extension of the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), which includes 14 nations and the European Union. The successful implementation of this collaboration could significantly enhance both countries’ capabilities in processing these vital resources, essential for numerous industrial applications.

Jaishankar’s Upcoming Visit to Iran Amid West Asia Tensions

India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, is scheduled to visit Iran on Monday in the wake of escalating tensions in West Asia. This visit is particularly noteworthy following the recent US-UK military actions against Houthi positions in Yemen and Jaishankar’s discussions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The visit symbolizes India’s active diplomatic engagement in the region and its efforts to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape of West Asia.

National Credit Framework (NCrF) in India

India has introduced a groundbreaking credit system, the National Credit Framework (NCrF), designed to overhaul the education and skill development landscape. This framework aims to facilitate a more integrated approach to learning, enabling students and youth to acquire skills while pursuing their formal education, thereby enhancing their employability and practical expertise.

Major US Investment in India Announced by Piyush Goyal

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has announced that a US-based fund house plans to invest approximately $50 billion in India over the next decade. This investment reflects the strong confidence in India’s macroeconomic stability and growth potential and represents a significant boost to the Indian economy.

US Concerns Over India’s New Import Requirements for IT Products

The United States has expressed concerns over India’s newly implemented import requirements for computers and tablets. The US government has urged India to ensure that these requirements, along with the current online system and related policies, do not hinder trade in the IT sector. This issue highlights the complexities of international trade regulations and their impact on bilateral trade relations.

India’s Plans for Financial Sector Reforms Including PSB and Insurer Privatisation

The Indian government is expected to announce significant reforms in the financial sector in its upcoming interim budget. These reforms are anticipated to include plans for the privatisation of a state-run bank and a general insurance firm in the fiscal year 2024-25, reflecting the government’s commitment to financial sector reform and economic liberalization.

Hindustan Unilever: A Key Player in Unilever’s Global Operations

Unilever’s CEO Hein Schumacher has acknowledged Hindustan Unilever (HUL) as one of its most significant and largest operations globally. This recognition highlights HUL’s strong performance and strategic importance within the Unilever corporation, underscoring its role in the multinational’s global business strategy.

Surge in Sales of Spiritual Merchandise Due to Temple Frenzy

The upcoming consecration of the new temple in Ayodhya has sparked a notable increase in sales of spiritual merchandise. Products like T-shirts with ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans, Hanuman flags, and Ram Mandir replicas are experiencing a 100% surge in sales, indicating a strong consumer response in both offline retail and e-commerce platforms.

Google Play Store Opens Up to Real Money Gaming Apps in India

Google has announced that its Play Store will now include real money gaming (RMG) apps in India. This move allows RMG apps that meet legal requirements to be available for download, expanding the range of gaming options in the country. This includes daily fantasy sports and rummy game apps, reflecting a significant shift in Google’s policy for the Indian market.

Coca-Cola’s Bottling Arm Decentralizes Operations in India

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), the bottling arm of Coca-Cola, is transferring some of its company-owned bottling operations in India to its existing franchise bottlers. This strategic shift affects territories in the north, east, and northeast of India, and represents a realignment of Coca-Cola’s operational strategy in these regions.

Supermax Personal Care Enters Bankruptcy

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has initiated an insolvency resolution process for Supermax Personal Care, a firm specializing in men’s grooming and personal care. The company, known for its blade manufacturing, is facing financial challenges, leading to this significant development in its corporate journey.

India’s Drug Regulator Targets Fixed-Dose Combinations

India’s central drug regulator is taking stringent measures to regulate fixed-dose combinations (FDCs). Manufacturers who received state licenses before October 2012 are now required to obtain approval from the central authority. This move is aimed at ensuring the safety and efficacy of FDCs in the pharmaceutical market.

Record Car Sales in India in 2023

India’s car sales have reached a new milestone, surpassing 4 million units in 2023. This record-breaking sales figure is attributed to factors such as rising disposable incomes, the popularity of sport-utility vehicles, and attractive loan rates, indicating a robust growth trajectory in India’s automotive sector.

Marriott’s Optimistic Outlook for India in 2024

Marriott International, the largest hotel chain globally in terms of room count, is anticipating 2024 to be another record year in India. This optimistic forecast is driven by strong demand in both leisure and business travel sectors, with plans to introduce new brands in the Indian market.

REC’s Landmark Yen Bond Sale

REC, a leading Indian financial services company, has raised approximately ₹3,500 crore through the sale of yen bonds. This transaction, amounting to JPY 61 billion, is noted as the largest yen bond sale by an Indian company, marking a significant achievement in international finance.

Jindal Power Eyes Acquisition of Lanco Amarkantak

Jindal Power Ltd (JPL) is considering a bid for Lanco Amarkantak Power, competing against major players like Reliance Industries, Adani Power, and a Power Finance Corp-led consortium. This interest from JPL indicates its strategic intentions in the energy sector, particularly in the distressed power production segment.

Indian Rupee Reaches Four-Month High, Surpasses Other Asian Currencies

The Indian rupee has achieved a significant milestone, reaching its highest level in four months and outperforming other Asia-Pacific currencies. This surge is attributed to substantial US dollar inflows in anticipation of India’s inclusion in global bond indices, coupled with a positive outlook on the country’s GDP growth, enhancing India’s attractiveness in the global financial market.

IT Stocks Experience Rally Following Third Quarter Results

Shares in the information technology sector witnessed a notable rally, buoyed by the December quarter earnings of industry giants like TCS and Infosys. These positive financial results, along with encouraging management commentaries, have dispelled earlier concerns, leading to a surge in investor confidence and stock values in the IT sector.

HCL Technologies Boosts IT Sector with Strong Quarter Performance

HCL Technologies (HCLTech) reported impressive numbers for the December quarter, surpassing expectations. This performance boost is credited to the successful ramp-up in the Verizon deal and a strong showing in the software licence and subscription business, signaling a potentially better overall performance by IT companies based on deal counts.

Cryptocurrencies Rebound with Introduction of Bitcoin ETFs in the US

In a significant turnaround from last year’s turbulence, cryptocurrencies are witnessing a fresh start with the introduction of Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in the United States. The SEC’s approval for 11 asset managers, including prominent names like BlackRock and Fidelity, to launch these ETFs marks a new era for cryptocurrency investment opportunities.

Lexdale International Sells Nykaa Shares in a Major Deal

In a notable transaction on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Lexdale International sold its shares in the e-commerce company Nykaa. The bulk deal, valued at Rs 495.44 crore, involved the sale of 2.62 crore shares at Rs 188.83 each, reflecting significant movements in the e-commerce investment landscape.

Adventz Finance Divests Shares in Gillette

Adventz Finance executed a significant bulk deal by selling shares of Gillette India worth Rs 405.4 crore on BSE. The sale of 6 lakh shares at Rs 6,757.60 each represents a major divestment by Adventz, which held a 3.41% stake in Gillette as of September 2023. Notably, Nippon India MF was among the buyers, acquiring shares worth Rs 222.9 crore.

RBI Imposes Penalties on Dhanlaxmi, Punjab & Sind Bank, and ESAF

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has penalized Dhanlaxmi Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, and ESAF Small Finance Bank for non-compliance with banking regulations. A penalty of Rs 1.2 crore was levied on Dhanlaxmi Bank for three specific violations, highlighting the RBI’s commitment to enforcing strict adherence to banking rules and regulations in the country.

US and UK Conduct Strikes Against Houthis in Yemen

In a significant military operation, the United States and the United Kingdom conducted a series of bombings targeting over a dozen sites used by the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. Utilizing warships, submarines-launched Tomahawk missiles, and fighter jets, this operation represents a major retaliatory strike by the US and UK, as confirmed by US officials.

Israel Responds to Genocide Charges at International Court of Justice

Israel has strongly refuted accusations made by South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), labeling them as false and grossly distorted. These charges claim that Israel’s military operations in Gaza constitute a state-led genocide campaign against the Palestinian population, an allegation Israel vehemently denies, insisting on its right to defend itself.

European Union to Inspect Chinese EV Makers, Including BYD

European Union (EU) investigators are set to inspect Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, including BYD and two others, as part of an ongoing investigation. This probe aims to determine whether punitive tariffs should be imposed to protect European EV makers, indicating rising scrutiny in the global EV market.

Increased FAA Oversight of Boeing Operations Following Incidents

Following a series of mishaps, including a panel blowing off a jetliner in midflight last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States is intensifying its oversight of Boeing. This includes auditing aircraft production processes, highlighting ongoing concerns with Boeing’s marquee aircraft.

China Experiences First Export Decline Since 2016

For the first time since 2016, China has reported a full-year decline in exports. This downturn is attributed to weakened global demand and falling prices, signaling a significant challenge to a crucial growth pillar for the world’s second-largest economy.

Tesla’s Stock Falls Due to Red Sea Attacks and European Plant Shutdown

Tesla’s shares experienced a drop in early trading following the announcement of a disruption in its only European factory due to attacks in the Red Sea. In addition to this, Tesla has also reduced car prices in China, reflecting challenges the company is facing in different markets.

Adani Group to Launch Largest Ammunition Plant in South Asia in Kanpur

The Adani Group is set to inaugurate a major ammunition plant in Kanpur, billed as the largest integrated facility of its kind in South Asia. This follows the group’s recent delivery of its first Indian-made drones to the Navy, marking a significant expansion of Adani’s defense manufacturing capabilities.

Railway’s New Fencing Strategy Reduces Cattle Hits Significantly

The Indian Railways has successfully halved incidents of cattle hits by implementing a new fencing design between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. The replacement of concrete walls with metal railings has proven effective in reducing such accidents, demonstrating a practical solution to a longstanding problem for the railways.

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