Opening Bell 29 December | Santa Claus rally fizzles

Opening Bell 29 December | Santa Claus rally fizzles

Mumbai: Anna Hazare’s hunger strike has ended in a whimper following a bout of deteriorating health but the government may continue to face hurdles in passing the Lokpal Bill. The UPA’s minority status in Rajya Sabha may be a spoiler because the Bharatiya Janata Party has already rebuffed efforts by the Congress party to strike a compromise. To make matters worse, a key ally, Trinamool Congress is proposing to move amendments to the government’s version of the Lokpal Bill.

Asian markets are also trading lower on Thursday morning tracking the weak closing on Wall Street amid re-emergence of European debt jitters, reports MarketWatch. Reports that the European Central Bank significantly boosted lending to the banks has stoked concerns about the debt-stricken region. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average lost 1%, China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped over 1%.

Hero Eco Pvt Ltd is set to buy UK-based electric vehicles maker Ultra Motor Ltd for an undisclosed amount to expand its presence in Europe, China and Taiwan. Hero, which will house the Munjal group’s electric two-wheelers, bicycle exports, and light and heavy engineering goods businesses, is all set to become the world’s largest electric two-wheeler maker. The company will also set up a secondary research and development centre in India to save costs.

Indian car makers expect sales to rebound in 2012 as and when the central bank starts cutting interest rates which will boost demand for automobiles. The 50 new sports utility vehicles and car models that will be showcased at the auto expo New Delhi during the first week of January will also help improve sales.

Reliance Communications is in advanced talks with private-equity firms Carlyle Group LP and Blackstone Group LP for buying a substantial stake in its tower unit, Reliance Infratel Ltd, reports the Wall Street Journal. If the deal goes through, India’s second-largest telecom operator may be able to raise desperately-needed funds. Reliance Communications holds around 95% of Reliance Infratel, the rest 5% is owned by Galleon Group, George Soros’s Quantum Ltd, Drawbridge Towers Ltd and HSBC Iris Investments (Mauritius) Ltd. The sale of the tower asset will help RCom reduce the $6 billion debt on its books.

DLF is divesting its non-strategic asset after its joint venture partner Hubtown agreed to sell its stake in DLF Ackruti Info Parks (Pune) to a real estate fund of Blackstone Group for 810 crore, reports the Business Standard. DLF had a 6% stake in it, while rest was owned by Hubtown. The move has come after the commerce ministry allowed proposals from SEZ developers such as DLF to dilute project equity. DLF plans to bring down its debt from 22,519 crore at the end of September to 19,000 crore by end of FY12.

Lastly, there will be a rival to iPad soon, Google has revealed that the company is planning to bring its Android tablet to the market in the next six months, reports the Economic Times. Google will bring out a tablet equivalent of its own-branded Nexus Android phones in next six months.