Today’s top business news: Shares rise for eighth session on earnings boost, passenger vehicle wholesale sales up 14% in October, world stock market capitalization hits new all-time high, and more

The benchmark stock indices opened the day on a  positive note, continuing the bull run in stocks.

The auto sector has showed further signs of revival with SIAM reporting a boost in passenger vehicle wholesale sales.

Join us as we follow the top business news through the day.

4:30 PM

World stock market capitalization hits new all-time high


4:00 PM

Sensex rallies 316 points to finish at fresh peak; Nifty crosses 12,700

The stock indices continue to hit new highs on renewed enthusiasm after the US Presidential election and coronavirus vaccine hopes.

PTI reports: “Rallying for the eighth consecutive session, equity benchmark Sensex surged 316.02 points to close at a fresh lifetime high on Wednesday, tracking largely positive cues from global markets and strong foreign fund inflows.

After touching its all-time peak of 43,708.47 during the session, the 30-share BSE index settled 316.02 points or 0.73 per cent higher at 43,593.67.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty touched a fresh intra-day high of 12,769.75. It finished 118.05 points or 0.93 per cent up at its closing record of 12,749.15.

Tata Steel was the top gainer among the Sensex constituents, surging around 8 per cent, followed by Axis Bank, Bajaj Finserv, ITC, Infosys, Sun Pharma, Kotak Bank, ONGC and UltraTech Cement.

On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, Reliance Industries, Titan, Asian Paints and HDFC Bank were in the red.

Domestic markets remained upbeat and extended gain for the eighth consecutive day as positive sentiments among investors following clarity of coronavirus vaccine by BioNTech-Pfizer and strong 2Q corporate earnings persist, said Arjun Yash Mahajan Head Institutional Business at Reliance Securities.

“While market witnessed some amount of volatility today led by profit booking in some of heavyweights, a sharp rebound in pharma, metals, IT and auto stocks supported market rally,” he added.

Additionally, NDA’s win in Bihar assembly elections bode well for domestic equities, he noted.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Hong Kong ended in the red, while Seoul and Tokyo closed with gains.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a positive note in early deals.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 3.12 per cent higher at USD 44.98 per barrel.”

3:30 PM

Green shoots of recovery visible in retail business, but yet to reach last year’s levels: RAI

A reality check on the ongoing economic recovery.

PTI reports: “Consumer durables and electronics category recorded positive sales growth in October as compared to last year as retailers overall continued to witness a steady month-on-month recovery, although business is yet to reach last year’s levels, according to a survey by RAI.

As per its 9th round of business survey, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) said consumer durables and electronics category saw a growth of 8 per cent in October, a further increase from 2 per cent growth witnessed in September.

“While consumer durables have done well, other categories (are) yet to recover significantly,” the survey said.

In October, apparel and clothing sales saw 35 per cent decline, while beauty, wellness and personal care witnessed a 55 per cent dip in sales.

Footwear category also clocked 30 per cent decline, while quick service restaurants saw a degrowth of 35 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, “We are beginning to see green shoots of recovery with a steady month-on-month improvement for businesses. However, we are yet to catch up to last year’s levels.”

Further improvement in business will depend on how the pandemic situation further plays out and how fast the businesses can go towards recovery, he added.

Across India, RAI said, the survey showed that the overall decline in retail business was at 31 per cent, an improvement from 50 per cent decline in Q2 and 78 per cent drop in Q1.

Region wise, south India was better placed with an overall decline of 24 per cent in October, followed by east with 27 per cent dip and north with 28 per cent degrowth. West India was the worst affected with 43 per cent decrease in October.”

3:00 PM

2 crore construction workers get Rs 5,000 crore as relief during pandemic: Gangwar

An update on the relief offered by the government to workers during the lockdown.

PTI reports: “Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on Wednesday said Rs 5,000 crore has been deposited into bank accounts of two crore construction workers who were badly hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was speaking at a felicitation function organised here by the labour ministry on Wednesday to acknowledge the efforts put in by ‘Corona Warriors’ of Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) Office, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to redress the problems of workers.

He awarded certificates of appreciation to acknowledge the dedication of officials and regional offices of these organisations.

In a statement, Gangwar said, “The labour ministry undertook historic steps for the betterment of workers and the industry, and Rs 5,000 crore has been deposited in the bank accounts of two crore construction workers.”

The minister said CLC (Central) had deputed 80 officers to ensure smooth implementation of the same.

Nodal officers of ESIC and EPFO, along with their regional offices, were working day and night to redress the problems faced by the workers.

The minister also said that through 20 control rooms, about 16,000 complaints were received. Of these, 96 per cent were resolved in a time-bound manner by CLC (Central) , EPFO and ESIC, he added.

He expressed gratitude towards all officials and regional offices of these three organisations for their collective dedication.

Retirement fund body EPFO’s offices across the country have settled 47.58 lakh COVID-19 advance claims, disbursing an amount of Rs 12,220.26 crore to claimants.

Under the COVID-19 non-refundable advance facility, the members can withdraw three months’ basic wages (basic pay plus dearness allowance) or half of the total accumulation in his or her employees’ provident fund (EPF) account, whichever is less.

This advance is provided to members to meet exigencies due to the COVID-19 situation in the country. This facility was provided after amending the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme through issuance of a notification from March 27.

During the pandemic period from April to September 2020, a total of 19.20 lakh claims (with EPFO) were filed online through UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) app.

This was a mammoth 274 per cent increase as compared to the pre-COVID-19 period from October 2019 to March 2020.

Last month, the recognition programme under Santushti was started by the labour minister while making a visit to the EPFO Delhi West office, which has been processing 100 per cent COVID-19 claims within 24 hours for non-stop 178 days (till October 18, 2020).

Now, the EPFO Delhi West office is on its 200th non-stop days (from April 24 to November 11). Till now, it has assisted some 97,000 workers and their families by disbursing about Rs 218 crore between April 24 and November 11.

Keeping in view the lockdown, 20 control rooms were established in 20 regional offices of the CLC (Central) organisation to function on a 24X7 basis.

The intervention of control rooms, the government was not only able to facilitate disbursal of Rs 295.33 crore as wages to 1,86,365 workers of Central Sphere but also facilitated disbursement of Rs 2.63 crore as wages to 3,863 workers working in the state Sphere.

The control rooms also coordinated with state authorities in case distress calls were received from migrant workers regarding food, shelter or ration, among others.”

2:30 PM

India approves spending 2 trillion rupees to boost manufacturing – minister

Liberal economists might have an issue with the Centre’s latest policy announcement.

Reuters reports: “India’s cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to provide production-linked incentives of about 2 trillion rupees ($27 billion) over five years to create jobs and boost manufacturing in the country, the finance minister said.

The incentives will be given to manufacturers in 10 sectors including automobiles and auto parts, pharmaceuticals, textiles and food products to attract investment and enable India to become a part of the global supply chain, Nirmala Sitharaman said.”

1:30 PM

What went into Apple’s new M1 chip?

At the November 10 ‘One More Thing’ Special Event, streamed virtually from Apple Park, California, Tim Cook and his team at Apple unveiled the first Apple Silicon SoC (system on a chip): M1. Apple Silicon, which has taken close to a decade to perfect, was first announced at the virtual Worldwide Developer Conference 2020 (WWDC20) but now, let’s get into the M1’s intricacies.

Macs and PCs have traditionally used multiple chips for the CPU, input-output, security, and more. Now with M1, these technologies are combined into a single SoC, delivering a whole new level of integration for greater performance and power efficiency. M1 also features a unified memory architecture that brings together high-bandwidth, low-latency memory into a single pool within a custom package. This allows all of the technologies in the SoC to access the same data without copying it between multiple pools of memory, further improving performance and efficiency.


1:00 PM

12 companies to be part of MSCI India Index; Trent shares zoom nearly 12%

A rejig to the MSCI index to chuck out the losers and add in some winners.

PTI reports: “As many as 12 companies, including Trent and Kotak Mahindra Bank, have been added to the MSCI India Index, while Bosch and LIC Housing Finance will move out, according to the latest MSCI Global Standard Index rejig announcement.

Other who made their way to the MSCI India index are ACC, Adani Green Energy, Apollo Hospitals, Balkrishna Industries, IPCA Laboratories, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Larsen & Toubro Infotech, MRF, Muthoot Finance, PI Industries, Trent Limited and Yes Bank.

The changes in constituents for the MSCI global standard indices will take place as of the close of November 30, 2020.

Bosch and LIC Housing Finance will move out from the list.

Shares of Trent zoomed 11.66 per cent, Apollo Hospitals jumped 6.19 per cent, Adani Green Energy 5 per cent, Balkrishna Industries rose 4.99 per cent, Yes Bank gained 4.95 per cent, IPCA Laboratories 3.86 per cent and PI Industries 3 per cent.

Kotak Mahindra Bank rose 2.97 per cent, Larsen & Toubro Infotech 2.61 per cent, Muthoot Finance 2.41 per cent, MRF 1.58 per cent and ACC advanced 1.22 per cent on the BSE.

MSCI Global Standard Index is widely used by international fund houses for benchmarking global equities portfolios.”

12:30 PM

Vellayan Subbiah appointed new chairman of Chola

Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Co. Ltd. (Chola), a Murugappa group firm, has named Vellayan Subbiah as the chairman in the place of M.M. Murugappan, who will step down on Wednesday upon reaching the retirement age.

On November 11, the board appointed Vellayan Subbiah as an additional director of the company.

Mr. Subbiah was the Managing Director of the company from August 19, 2010 to August 18, 2017. He is the MD of Tube Investments of India Ltd (TII) since August 2018. He is on the board of various companies, including Shanthi Gears Ltd.

Mr. Murugappan will step down as chairman and as a director of the company on the closing business hours of Wednesday as he turns 65 on Thursday. He wishes to pursue philanthropy and other interests as mentioned by him in his letter to the Board, the company said in a regulatory filing.


12:00 PM

Passenger vehicle wholesale in India up 14% in October: SIAM

The recovery in the auto sector continues to gather momentum.

PTI reports: “Passenger vehicle wholesale in India increased by 14.19 per cent to 3,10,294 units in October against 2,71,737 units in the same month last year as companies despatched more units to dealers to cater to enhanced demand in the festive season, auto industry body SIAM said on Wednesday.

According to the latest data by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), two-wheeler sales also rose 16.88 per cent to 20,53,814 units, compared with 17,57,180 units in the same month last year.

Motorcycle sales were at 13,82,749 units as against 11,16,886 units in October 2019, up 23.8 per cent.

Scooter sales were also up 1.79 per cent at 5,90,507 units from 5,80,120 units in the same month last year.

Three-wheeler sales, however, declined by 60.91 per cent to 26,187 units last month as against 66,985 units in the same month last year.

“The month of October saw continuity in sales growth trajectory, drawing on from the previous month. There were marked improvements witnessed across certain segments due to very good festive demand,” SIAM Director General Rajesh Menon said.

Three-wheelers saw a slight improvement in sales, compared to the last month, however, it has still registered a de-growth of 60.91 per cent, over the corresponding month of last year, he added.

“October wholesale numbers have been good on account of dealers preparing to serve demand for the upcoming Diwali festival, which is in November this year,” Menon said.

During the month, wholesale of Maruti Suzuki India stood at 1,63,656 units, up 17.64 per cent from the same month last year. Similarly, Hyundai Motor India sales rose to 56,605 units, up 13.9 per cent from October 2019.

Kia Motors dispatched 20,621 units last month, an increase of 61.25 per cent over October 2019.

In the two-wheeler space, Hero MotoCorp wholesale stood at 7,91,137 units in October, up 34.78 per cent from the same month last year.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India sales stood at 4,94,459 units last month, up 1.36 per cent from October 2019.

TVS Motor Company saw its wholesale increase by 19.27 per cent to 3,01,380 units last month as compared with the same month last year.

Earlier this week automobile dealers’ body FADA had reported an 8.8 per cent dip in passenger vehicle (PV) retail sales in October at 2,49,860 units.

According to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), which collected vehicle registration data from 1,257 out of the 1,464 regional transport offices (RTOs), PV sales stood at 2,73,980 units in October 2019.

Total retail sales across categories declined 23.99 per cent to 14,13,549 units, last month compared to 18,59,709 units in the year-ago period.”

11:30 AM

IRCTC plans tour packages to boost Tejas Express patronage

In a bid to increase occupancy of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express, the Indian Rail Catering Tourism Corporation on Tuesday announced tour packages between Mumbai and Vadodara-Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

Addressing a press conference here, Rahul Himalian, group general manager of IRCTC’s west zone said rates of these packages, likely to be launched in December, had not been fixed as yet, but it could approximately be ₹2000 per person per day.

“The travel includes optional tourist itineraries of 3 nights/4 days and 4 nights/5 days covering historical, cultural and exotic destinations in and around Vadodara and Ahmedabad with the Statue of Unity in Kevadia as one of the main attractions,” he said.

“Passengers can travel on board the Tejas Express and explore Vadodara and Ahmedabad from Mumbai. Similar packages for Mumbai for passengers traveling from Gujarat are also being prepared by IRCTC. These tours will have accommodation in three or four star hotels and vehicles for sightseeing,” he added.

11:00 AM

Borrowing rates for junk borrowers fall to record lows

10:40 AM

Rupee slips 9 paise against US dollar in early trade

The rupee didn’t gain from the bullish sentiment in stock this morning.

PTI reports: “The rupee depreciated 9 paise to 74.27 against the US dollar in opening trade on Wednesday, owing to increased demand of the greenback by banks and importers amid strengthening crude prices.

However, positive trend in the domestic equity market and a weak US dollar supported the local unit and capped the fall, forex dealers said.

At the interbank forex market, the rupee opened lower at 74.24 against the US dollar, then slipped further to 74.27 in early deals, registering a fall of 9 paise over its last close.

In the previous session, it had settled 3 paise lower at 74.18 against the US dollar.

Surging crude oil prices in the overseas market added pressure to the domestic unit, dealers said.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 1.08 per cent to USD 44.08 per barrel.

“Crude gained another 2 per cent, extending its 10 per cent rally of the previous session. The US dollar though has recovered a bit with the Euro and commodity currencies retracing from highs,” Abhishek Goenka, Founder and CEO, IFA Global, said.

After touching its lifetime peak of 43,675.59 in the opening session, BSE Sensex was trading 353.60 points or 0.82 per cent higher at 43,631.25.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty touched a fresh high of 12,752.90. Later, it was trading with 108.95 points or 0.86 per cent gain at 12,740.05.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, slipped 0.09 per cent to 92.65.

Foreign institutional investors remained net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 5,627.32 crore on Tuesday, according to provisional exchange data.”

10:20 AM

EU charges Amazon with anti-competitive action, opens second probe

EU regulators charged Amazon on Tuesday with distorting competition in online retail and opened a second investigation into its business practices, as antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager takes aim at another U.S. technology giant.

The European Commission has been investigating Amazon’s dual role – as a marketplace for merchants and also a rival seller – since July last year, triggered by complaints from traders about the company’s practices.

It has also looked into how Amazon uses competitively sensitive merchant data to select winners for its “buy box”, which allows customers to add items from a specific retailer directly into their shopping carts.

“We must ensure that dual-role platforms with market power, such as Amazon, do not distort competition,” said Ms. Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, has a reputation of being one of the world’s toughest antitrust regulators.


10:00 AM

Indian shares rise for eighth session on earnings, pharma boost

The bull run in stocks continues without any correction.

Reuters reports: “Indian shares rose for an eighth straight session on Wednesday, hitting record highs, driven by a handful of strong earnings reports and gains in pharmaceutical stocks.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.79% to 12,729.3 by 0354 GMT and the S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.72% to 43,591.36.

Natural gas explorer GAIL (India) rose 4.5% after it reported a higher September-quarter profit on Tuesday.

Automaker Mahindra and Mahindra gained nearly 3% each after it posted a higher quarterly revenue and said it expected strong demand for vehicles until the end of the year.

Both the stocks were among the top gainers on the Nifty.

Drugmaker Cipla Ltd rose 1.3%, helping the Nifty pharma index gain 0.9%. Divi’s Labs rose 1.1%.”

9:30 AM

Banks must not distance customers: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Banks must not shy away from lending, especially when the economy is facing major challenges, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday. Lenders should also offer all Indian customers the Rupay card first, discourage non-digital payments, and link every account with the customer’s Aadhaar number by March 31, 2021, she added.

“The pandemic has created distance among us, but I hope it is only that distance to keep the virus away, not our customer[s] away,” Ms. Sitharaman said at the Indian Banks’ Association annual general meeting. Bankers, she asserted, no longer needed to fear the three Cs (CBI, CVC and CAG) and must not hesitate in taking decisions.

“We are keen that the fear that was voiced when we came in 2014 about the 3Cs has to go away from your mind. No more fears of the 3Cs… the CVC himself is developing your training courses, so you can take commercially justifiable decisions and you need not fear taking decisions, that came into your mind during some unfortunate period,” she said.


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