Opening Bell 17 November | Government gets a move on

Opening Bell 17 November | Government gets a move on

Mumbai: With the earnings season coming to an end, investor focus is turning towards external factors and macroeconomic issues. Even as the Euro zone seems to have avoided a financial Armageddon by coming up with a crisis plan, lack of clarity and differences over the implementation is making the markets jittery.

Meanwhile, stock markets in the US tumbled after Fitch Ratings warned that further contagion from Europe’s debt crisis will pose a risk to American banks. The S&P 500 at 1,236 lost 1.66%. Asian markets also opened on a weak note. The Fitch Ratings warning has revived concerns about the global financial system. The Nikkei at 8,429 is down 0.39%.

Back home, with winter session of parliament around the corner, the government is expediting the decision making process. The cabinet has approved changes to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, which will pave the way for 26% FDI in pension fund management companies. The bill is now expected to be taken up in the winter session of parliament starting on November 22.

Expect some action in the stocks of road construction companies. The cabinet committee on infrastructure has approved 15 highway projects worth 15,680 crore. The projects are expected to be awarded in a month’s time.

To save on sales tax, Kingfisher Airlines had approached the Directorate General of Foreign Trade to allow direct import of aviation turbine fuel. The proposal, according to a commerce ministry official, will be considered on merit.

In another report, Kingfisher Airlines is reportedly considering the option of hiving-off its engineering department into a separate unit. According to the report, this is one of the several measures the airline is considering to tide over the current crisis.

The board of Patni Computer Systems has approved the delisting of its shares from the stock exchanges. IGate has set the the floor price (the minimum price it will offer for buying back the Patni shares) at 356.74. The delisting is expected by May 2012.

Ashok Leyland is planning to consolidate its associate companies into one entity. According to reports, the consolidation exercise also includes its light commercial vehicles joint venture with Nissan and construction equipment manufacturing venture with John Deere.

After raising rates in the domestic market, Bharti Airtel has increased international call tariffs by up to 10%. According to reports, the company has also reduced certain benefits on add-on services for its pre-paid subscribers.

Finally, to tide over the tough economic conditions, a struggling barber in the US is asking customers to pay whatever they can afford for a hair-cut. His business picked up immediately as the offer raised curiosity and attracted more clients. Read more.