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Business News/ Weekend / Mint's Best of the Week | Vacations end, bull runs don't
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Mint's Best of the Week | Vacations end, bull runs don't

Best of the Week, 16 December: rising markets, sustainable investments, and the startup sector's year of reckoning.

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Best of the Week

Dear reader,

Returning from a long leave is always arduous. The first few days of your leave, you gradually let go of your work-related habits. The next few days, you start to enjoy some breathing room. But by the time the vacation was over, I started feeling like I did back in school, when summer vacation ended.

After two weeks away from my duties, I landed back in Mint's Bombay office. My first conversation was with Shayan Ghosh, Mint's national editor and a whiz when it comes to India's corporates and banking sector.

I asked him what he was breaking today. He replied simply, "today, just my head".

These conversations made me feel right at home. No more post-vacation dread. Writing this edition of Best of the Week also allowed me to catch up on our newsroom's work from the week gone by:

🐂 Both Nifty and Sensex hit record highs this week. Both crossed the 21,000 and 70,000 mark respectively for the first time in history. A potential overvaluation seems likely, as the charge is led by small and midcap stocks. Manvi Agarwal writes about the current trend on the bourses.

🏡 As interest rates rise, home loans get more expensive. The housing market, as is, is getting more expensive. So potential homebuyers remain disappointed. But as Madhurima Nandy writes, the situation might improve next year. Prices were high due to raging pent-up demand. With that easing, buyers in Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Pune might see some favourable prices.

💵 Morgan Housel has quickly become a very popular personal finance writer. Managing one's money is a complicated process, but following some basic principles helps. Vivek Kaul writes down 10 important lessons from Housel's two books, distilling them to provide the salient points that could come in handy.

🔌 We all know someone that really whose dream is to buy an electric vehicle. But Sajjan Jindal, the chairperson of JSW Group, wants to sell them. It planned to go solo, but shareholders balked at the idea. After multiple attempts, JSW finally entered the automotive business after buying more than a third of MG Motor. While Jindal wants to launch cars under the JSW brand, how that will play out in this particular partnership is unknown. Sumant Banerji writes about the deal, and the huge challenges for JSW and Jindal laying ahead.

☀️ Most entities in the universe are beholden to diminishing utility margins. Does that apply to the sun too? Akshat Rohatgi writes about investing in solar projects, including an attractive option of investing in fractional ownership of rooftop solar projects. While stocks, mutual funds, and bonds have been staples of retail investors, solar energy could be a new category —if you're bullish on sustainability measures and the power of the sun.

📄 Currently, 14 companies have an operational account aggregator license. But the business model seems unsustainable: pricing wars have rendered unit economics unviable, and large-scale banks remain uncooperative. Arti Singh writes about this web of data, information, entities, tech support, and the goal of financial inclusion, which is on a rough pathway right now.

Insurance isn't really an investment.
View Full Image
Insurance isn't really an investment. (REUTERS)

💰 For decades, insurance schemes were sold as investment opportunities. With LIC, many policies offered “lifetime income", which was lapped up by individuals. But an analysis of these returns by Aprajita Sharma shows that they stood at 5.7% annually, as opposed to NPS (9%) and hybrid mutual funds (10%). While payouts are guaraneed and not linked to market performance, many other financial instruments are available for investors looking to get payouts.

🌀 The Sunderban area in West Bengal isn't a very fruitful location when it comes to livelihoods or incomes. While fishing and honey collection used to be some jobs available, climate change-induced extreme weather events have ruined any agricultural prospects. Guest writer Ritwika Mitra gives an on-ground report of how the region has suffered over the years, and writes about the current sociological problems of the cyclone capital of India.

👎 Vedanta's decision to restructure $3.8 billion in corporate bonds to ease its immediate debt burden disappointed S&P's Rating agency, which downgraded Vedanta Resources to “distressed" in its latest analysis of the conglomerate. The Anil Agarwal-led firm plans to partially pay off and delay three bond series, which led S&P to downgrade the rating to CCC from B- earlier this year. Nehal Chaliawala, Mint's newest addition, brings you the details on what this means for the company.

✂️ 2023 was largely a year of grounding for tech startups. After raising billions of dollars over the last few years, many companies faced a cash crunch, as funding dried up all over the board. Niti Kiran takes a look at the data, and illustrates the Indian startup sector's year of reckoning.

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

If you have any thoughts, credit card-related discussions, ideas, or feedback on our journalism (or subscription), please feel free to write to me (shashwat.mohanty@htdigital.in). We're a perpetually evolving news product, so any and every input is appreciated!

Best,

Shashwat Mohanty

Assistant Editor

Subscriber Experience Team

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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: 15 Dec 2023, 09:52 PM IST
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