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Markets surge, SoftBank’s India woes and IndiGo’s results

1. SoftBank’s big write-down

The SoftBank Group revealed a $1.4 billion reduction in the value at which it is holding stakes in two major Indian businesses. The Japanese investor said in an earnings report that the total value of its investments in online selling platform Snapdeal and taxi service provider Ola is down $1.4 billion, Mint reported on Wednesday. SoftBank still recorded its second best annual profit despite these losses, aided by cost cuts. This has helped the stock outperform its benchmark index during 2017 so far.

2. Government predicts record food production

The government said that it expects the country’s food production to be 273.4 million tonnes for 2016-17. This would make it the best year for food production in Indian history. Tuesday’s estimates place production 8.7% higher than 252 million tonnes in 2015-16. The previous record was 265 million tonnes in 2013-14.

3. Soldier found killed at Shopian

Kashmiri lieutenant Ummer Fayaz was found dead on Wednesday in Kashmir’s Shopian region. Militants abducted him from Batpura village. He had gone there to attend his cousin’s wedding. Defence minister Arun Jaitley condemned the attack, calling it cowardly. Fayaz was 22 years old and was with the Rajputana Rifles. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the attack. The levels of violence in Kashmir, though, have

4. Markets touch all-time highs

BSE Ltd’s Sensex and the National Stock Exchange’s Nifty 50 index continued their winning streak during the week. Both touched fresh all-time highs on Thursday. The Sensex closed at 30,250.98 points. The Nifty ended at 9,422.40 points. Forecasts of a good monsoon helped buoy sentiment. Better rains bode well for agriculture and help keep inflation down. On Friday, the Sensex fell 0.21% to close at 30,188.15 points and the Nifty dropped 0.23% to close at 9,400.90 points. Another factor supporting higher stock market valuations is lower domestic interest rates.

5. Snapchat disappoints

Popular social media application Snapchat’s parent company reported lower than expected revenues on Wednesday. Snap Inc. added fewer users than it had expected to, and had deeper losses as well. The results were the first since the company listed. The stock was down 26%. The company’s app allows users to send videos and photos that delete themselves. It now has 166 million users.

6. French elect Macron

France elected a new president on Sunday, when results showed that 39-year old Emmanuel Macron had won the election. He had more than 30 percentage point lead over closest rival Marine Le Pen. His victory was seen as a relief by many commentators who feared a continuation of the kind of politics that resulted in the election of Donald Trump in America and the exit of Britain from the European Union.

7. IndiGo continues profit run

InterGlobe Aviation Ltd which runs low-cost airline IndiGo, recorded its ninth straight quarter of profit, according to results declared on Tuesday. Its annual profit of Rs1,659 crore was lower than Rs1,986 crore last year. Higher fuel costs have cut into profits. The company also announced that it would be buying 50 new aircraft as part of its regional operations.

8. Passenger vehicle sales rise

Customers bought 277,000 passenger vehicles in April, registering a 14.68% growth over the previous year. Data released by industry lobby group Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) on Tuesday noted that this was fueled by a demand for compact cars. Analysts believe that the trend is likely to continue for 2017-18.

9. Solar tariffs fall to fresh record low

Solar tariffs fell to a low of Rs2.62 per unit in Rajasthan during the auction of Adani Power’s 250MW capacity solar in Bhadla. On Friday, tariffs fell further at the auction of 500MW of solar capacity, also at Bhadla. Analysts have raised concerns about whether such bids are sustainable.

10. Government sells stake in Hudco

The government launched the initial public offering of the Housing and Urban Development Corp. Ltd (Hudco) this week. The offering opened on Monday. The government is looking to sell 10.19% stake in the company which provides funding for housing and urban infrastructure projects, for Rs1,200 crore. The move is part of the government’s divestment push. It has seldom met targets in recent years, according to data on the divestment department’s website.

Graphics by Prajakta Patil/Mint.

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