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Opening Bell 21 November | Markets eye Parliament session

Opening Bell 21 November | Markets eye Parliament session
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First Published: Mon, Nov 21 2011. 08 45 AM IST

Updated: Mon, Nov 21 2011. 08 45 AM IST
Mumbai: The stage is set for another confrontation between Anna Hazare’s activists and the government for the formation of the Lokpal during the month-long winter session of parliament which starts Tuesday. The government may also announce much-awaited reforms such as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail and insurance.
Elsewhere, the focus is again on Egypt with the police launching a massive assault to evict protestors from Tahrir Square. The protestors were demanding a quick transition to a civilian government from the military regime which took over from Hosni Mubarak in February. Over the weekend, at least 600 protestors were injured in the riots.
Moving on to Europe, things seem to be getting murkier there. The centre right opposition party leader Mariano Rajoy is set to win the elections in Spain but he is unlikely to have any time to enjoy the victory. This is because Spain, like Greece and Italy may need a bail out soon as the country is roiled by high debt and borrowing costs.
The new tranche of aid worth $11 billion which Greece was going to receive may not materialise after one of the three leaders from the new coalition refused to sign a document approving the austerity measures.
Adding to its woes, the European Central Bank and Germany have steered away from intervening in the bond markets to bail out debt ridden nations. The ECB said that the central banks’ credibility lies in remaining independent without any political pressures and focusing its fight on inflation. The statement comes after Italian and Spanish bonds yield took a breather on Friday following ECB purchase of bonds.
The US markets ended mixed on Friday due to losses in energy and technology shares. Investors are closely watching for signs of growth in the Thanksgiving holiday-thinned weekend which may set the stage for the next rally.
In Asia, markets marched lower as Europe’s debt problem continued to weigh on investors’ minds. Japanese exporter shares plunged on the back of a rising Yen after the trade deficit missed analysts forecast. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average slipped 0.2%, Korea’s Kospi Composite lost 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.5%.
Back in India, Bharti Airtel Ltd will be in focus this morning following reports that federal investigators searched the offices of Bharti and Vodafone India Ltd in connection with the irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation in 2001 and 2003. This will further broaden the scope of the ongoing 2G scam investigation in the country.
Bank of India said that it was looking at re-entering the mutual fund business in a few months. Earlier this year, the bank was in talks with Bharti Axa Investment Managers and Pramerica AMC, which were planning to sell their stakes.
Reliance Industries will also be closely watched after the company got a clean chit from the Directorate General of Hydrocarbon for the $2.5 billion spend on capital expansion until 2008 for developing the KG-D6 gas field. While the Comptroller Auditor General audit has not been able to quantify the loss to the exchequer, it will continue to inspect accounts of the KG-D6 blocks since 2008.
Consumer durable makers such as Whirlpool and Godrej raised their product prices by 10% due to the weakening rupee. The rupee has depreciated around 13% year to date and added to the cost of raw material.
Lastly, Adidas has announced that it will launch a shoe which costs one dollar per pair in India and will be sold in villages in India.
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First Published: Mon, Nov 21 2011. 08 45 AM IST
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