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Business News/ Weekend / Best of the Week | Of nicks, cuts, and important life decisions
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Best of the Week | Of nicks, cuts, and important life decisions

Best of the Week, June 6: stock market news, ITR filing, and skincare gurus.

A Sunday well spent. (Pixabay)Premium
A Sunday well spent. (Pixabay)

Dear reader,

This week, I made an important life decision: I changed my barber.

I like to sport a beard, but I also prefer that my beard is groomed. That means going to a local barber maybe once a week and asking them to “set" my beard. A fine shave and some trimming is followed by a bludgeoning of my skull, often known as a head massage. All of this is set to some 90s Hindi tunes—some hit melodies by Udit Narayan and Kumar Sanu. You'll often see Bollywood stars of yesteryears running down some hill, chasing their lovers.

If you're a man, you're very familiar with this type of a salon.

This is an important weekly ritual for me. My father insisted on accompanying me to the salon till I was about 18. He wanted to make sure that my hair was short enough, and that I wasn't paying too much. I think he'll get a little heartburn knowing that I splurge 250 a week on my grooming. Sorry, Pops. Both my hair and I are a little grown out these days.

But journalists are all too familiar with tough decisions. We're faced with dilemmas often—often, you'd find a reporter “sitting" on a story because their editor wants more details, or would like to be careful. A copyeditor might wonder how much of the original text to rewrite. My friend and co-writer of this newsletter Siddharth might wonder if another coffee is necessary at 11 pm. We're making decisions all the time, honestly.

But we always make them in an informed way. That's why our newsroom is as sharp as it is, never one to drop the ball. Here are some of the best stories from the week gone by:

📶 When Reliance Jio entered the telecom industry in 2016, it took the entire sector for a toss. Suddenly, anyone could get free talktime and internet. The next four years saw competition get decimated. Today, we only have Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and state-owned BSNL still operating in the market. After garnering a huge chunk of India's users, Jio now controls the pricing. Last weekend, it decided to increase its rates. Airtel and Vi shortly followed. Average tariffs have increased by 10% to 25%. Gulveen Aulakh explains that while this might upset consumers, such a hike is a huge shot in the arm for India's anaemic telecom sector. Even after these hikes, India will still continue to have some of the cheapest internet across the globe.

🪑 Usually, the elections of board members and directors are routine affairs for any listed entity. More so, when you're a large multinational corporation. So it was interesting to see that Nandan Nilekani's re-appointment as the director of the board of Infosys received some blowback from its investors. Nilekani was one of the co-founders of the IT giant, and had received more than 99% of the votes in earlier polls. This time, his approval was only at 86%. While this was above the required 75% mark, Nilekani faced questions over his absence from board meetings and his profile as a non-independent director. Jas Bardia and Varun Sood bring you some sharp insights in this deftly reported and researched story.

🥊 It's difficult to keep the Adani Group out of our headlines. This week, the markets regulator panned Hindenburg Research for its report, calling it biased. It said that Hindenburg had an agenda. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) also put the scanner on Hindenburg's financial partners, noting that they had vested interests in publishing such a research report after shorting (betting on the shares to fall) Adani Group stocks. Sebi alleges Hindenburg made $14.7 million. Hindenburg clapped back, saying that it had only made $31,000 from shorting Adani stocks. Varun brings you a meticulous summary of the entire saga, and explains this latest skirmish between the two sides that now has Sebi and Kotak Mahindra Bank as side characters.

🔫 "The easiest job in finance is to be right in retrospect", muses Abhishek Mukherjee, Mint's markets writer. He puts a lens on India's burgeoning defence sector. Defence stocks have been one of the stars of the current bull run in the Indian equity markets. The Nifty Defence Index has shot up nearly 400% since January 2022. Individual defence stocks have turned into multibaggers. Abhishek contextualises these eye-popping gains against other sectoral indices, and writes about the opportunities that India's defence sector still possesses. If you're interested in investing in some defence-related stocks, make sure to read this longform story first.

📊 Well, if you haven't invested yet, we still have something for you. Sebi has a voluntary certificate exam that will help you start your investing journey. If you pass this test, the markets regulator reckons you're ready to play with equities. Of course, this exam is not mandatory—but it's a fun exercise for both new and existing investors to understand where they stand. Mint Money's Shipra Singh writes that this hour-long test quizzes you on budgeting and investing, financial instruments, and behavioural investing. Even though I don't personally invest in stocks, I think I too should take this test.

🏦 Prior to 2019, banks were quick to pass on the rate hikes from the Reserve Bank of India to their floating loanees, but reluctant to pass on the benefits when RBI reduced its repo rate. Then, RBI, helmed by Shaktikanta Das, took a decision: Indian banks have to anchor their floating loan rates to certain financial instruments. They could either use the repo rate or the bond yields as the benchmark. Any change in these rates would either disappoint or cheer the consumers. Shayan Ghosh examines this particular policy decision by RBI, and how it has positively impacted the banking sector in India.

🤔 RBI's decision has played a part in strengthening India's loan book. The banking industry's ledger of retail loans—that's loans given out to ordinary people like you and me in the form of home, car, or education loans—has never been bigger. So with a lot of loans, spending should also proportionally increase, right? That's not the case, notes Vivek Kaul. He juxtaposes these two trends, pointing out that higher borrowing hasn't translated to higher spending at all. This is a thought-provoking read, and yet another example of how economics in India rarely translates from the textbooks.

📈 HDFC Bank shares are up 16.5% in just a month. This rally is fuelled by the anticipation that MSCI, a New York City-based fund, will double the weight of HDFC in its India index. MSCI is set to make this move after HDFC's foreign holdings reduced to under 55%. But why this number? Manish Josh of our Mark to Market team explains why this sudden surge might not matter much in the long run.

📄 It's July. The last date to file your taxes is fast approaching. If you don't submit your form, you'll face a penalty. If you submit an incorrect form, you'll face a penalty. Filing the correct form is as important as filing your income tax returns in time. Sashind Ningthoukhongjam outlines the multiple types of forms, and helps you choose the one most suitable for your type of income.

🧴 I'll end this week's newsletter with a fun read from our Lounge team. Mahalakshmi Prabhakaran spoke to Mohit Yadav, the co-founder of skincare brand Minimalist. Minimalist is a huge hit among skincare enthusiasts—it's science-forward direction and, uhm, minimalist packaging has found many buyers in India's crowded skincare segment. Yadav spoke about co-founding Minimalist with his brother and building a company that now has annual revenues of 350 crore. Read this story to understand the man behind the label.

That's all for this week. I hope you all have a pleasant weekend!

If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback, please feel free to write to me (shashwat.mohanty@htdigital.in) or reply to this mail. We are a constantly evolving news product, so any input is much appreciated!

Best,

Shashwat Mohanty

Assistant Editor

Subscriber Experience Team

3.6 Crore Indians visited in a single day choosing us as India's undisputed platform for General Election Results. Explore the latest updates here!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shashwat Mohanty
Shashwat works in the Subscriptions team, often thinking and executing ideas that could get people to pay for news. He is interested in editorial-led iniatives, as he believes that genuined journalism is still extremely valuable. He is a co-writer of Mint's flagship newsletter, Top of the Morning, and also writes the script of the podcast by the same name. Shashwat is also the producer and acontributer to the Best of the Week newsletter. When he's not missing deadlines, he likes attending live music gigs, discussing baseball, and complaining about the mileage of his car.
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Published: 06 Jul 2024, 06:00 AM IST
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