Mumbai: The fate of the Lokpal Bill is in limbo after voting failed to take place in the Rajya Sabha, reports The Times of India. The government was defeated in the Upper house as Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party refused to back the parts of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 that aims to create anti-corruption ombudsmen at the centre and in the states. Analysts said that this would add to policy paralysis which has slowed growth and scared off foreign investors from India.
Upbeat economic data buoyed US markets on the second last-trading day of the year, reports the Wall Street Journal. Investors cheered the modest improvement in the housing and employment sectors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.12%, to 12287.04, Standard & Poor’s 500 pushed back into positive territory for 2011 as it added 1.07%, to 1263.02 and Nasdaq Composite rose 0.92%, to 2613.74, leaving the index down 1.5% for 2011. Initial jobless claims were below 4,00,000 for the fourth consecutive week and contracts to buy existing homes increased in November to the highest level in 19 months.
Asian markets were also trading higher on the last trading day of the year following firm closing on Wall Street; investors are awaiting China’s manufacturing data due later in the day, reports MarketWatch. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average added 0.4%, China’s Shanghai Composite also gained 0.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.6%.
Godrej Properties has raised Rs 45 crore by selling 49% stake in a Gurgaon project to private equity firm Sun Apollo. The realty firm has a subsidiary Godrej Premium Builders that is developing a project in Gurgaon. Godrej Properties is developing projects in 12 cities across India and the amount raised will help in efficient capital management, said the management.
Indian companies may have a reason to cheer next year as the Reserve Bank of India will embark on monetary policy reversal. Analysts said that RBI may cut rates by as much as 100 basis points next year. Indian companies are hit by high borrowing costs after 13 consecutive rate hikes by the central bank to douse inflation which has remained stubbornly high - over 9% for the twelfth consecutive month. On Thursday, the Union Bank of India blinked first and reduced its base rate by 10 bps to 10.65% with immediate effect which signals the beginning of the softening interest rate regime.
State-run oil marketing companies plan to raise petrol prices by about Rs 2.25 per litre from Sunday unless the government asks them to defer the move because of the assembly elections next year, reports the Economic Times. OMCs are expected to change petrol prices every two weeks but the government asked them to refrain from doing so this month because of the winter session of parliament. Analysts expect the price hike to be steeper this time as oil firms need to make up for the losses. Moreover Brent crude has also surged almost 5% in less than two weeks.
Power Finance Corporation, National Thermal Power Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation are likely to launch medium to long-term infrastructure bonds in the first week of January to raise Rs. 3,000-5,000 crore each in order to tap pension funds, reports Economic Times. Pension Funds have to invest a major portion of their corpus in infrastructure bonds. Most of the companies are planning to issue bonds with maturities between 3-10 years at coupon rates around 9.63-9.64%. This issue comes on the heels of successful bond auction by National Highway Authority of India which received subscriptions worth about Rs 25,000 crore.
Lastly, the much talked about re-union of the Ambani brothers which had sent the media into frenzy, raises hopes that Mukesh and Anil Ambani may do business together, reports Reuters.