Opening bell 23 March

Opening bell 23 March

Mumbai: In case you have been wondering, things didn’t change much overnight. Crude prices continued their rise and the battle in Libya is on. Here’s a list of things to watch out for before trading starts.

US stocks fell on concerns of rising crude oil prices and intensifying battle in Libya. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 1,293. Early Wednesday, Japanese stocks fell for the first time three days as investors start focusing on the cost of the disaster. Other Asian stock markets are trading mixed with investors booking profits from the recent rally.

Meanwhile, the allied forces are preparing for more attacks on Gaddafi’s ground forces.

That pushed up oil prices to a two-week high. Brent crude oil for May settlement rose to $115.87 a barrel on concerns of continuing supply disruptions from Libya and the unrest in the Middle East.

In India, it is redemption time for Pranabda. He introduced the banking reforms bill and the goods and services tax law in Parliament. Bills on pensions and financial services are likely to follow. If Parliament functions, we guess. Read more...

But that was not the only boy scout moment of the day for the finance minister. There were roll backs on levies such as the service tax in healthcare and other tax breaks for companies with foreign operations. For more details of the sops for garment makers, go here....

Jyothy Laboratories which is bidding for Henkel India and has just completed the purchase of a Delhi-based laundry company might announce more buys in coming months. Read more...

In a world of volatile commodity prices and scarce raw materials, the hunt for natural resources intensifies. Here’s a look:

Tata Steel has initiated talks to buy coking coal mines in British Columbia.

The Aditya Birla group is preparing to submit second round bids to buy Australian coal miner Whitehaven Coal.

Monnet Ispat and Energy, which just bought a mine for 290 crore, is in talks to buy another coal mine in Indonesia.

Adani group’s Mundra Port & SEZ has won a bid to develop a coal import terminal at Visakhapatnam.

A consortium headed by Lanco Infratech has emerged as the lowest bidder for a 1,980-MW power project in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh. The project involves developing a coal mines which is estimated to have reserves of 650 million tonnes.

With the governments taking steps to discourage iron ore exports, Sesa Goa is steadily getting into steel production. Sesa Goa purchased debt-ridden Bellary Steels and Alloys for 220 crore.

Tata Power is planning to build India’s first floating solar plant in partnership with an Australian company. The company said it will start constructing a pilot plant that will use Liquid Solar Array technology from August this year.

Mahindra Satyam woes seem to be never ending. Now, the income tax department has demanded 616.54 crore from the company.

SKS Microfinance’s loan-dues from in Andhra Pradesh have risen to 1,250 crore in the last five months, the company’s CEO M R Rao said. Read more...

And finally, here is Karl Marx’s true successor. Capitalism may have ended life on Mars, says Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan president who holds capitalism responsible for many problems is warning that water on earth is drying up. Read more...