Business highlights: Short news on March 20

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 21 2014, 13:47pm hrs
Following are the highlights of the happenings in the world of business on March 20 (Thursday):

* The Centre will provide Rs 1,351 crore financial assistance to farmers affected by untimely rains and hailstorms in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, a government source said.

* Losses to be borne by Indian Oil Corporation and other retailers of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas may quadruple to Rs 3,700 crore in this fiscal as the finance ministry is unwilling to provide additional subsidy.

* The BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty closed at their weakest level in two weeks in line with a slump in global equity markets after US Federal Reserve signalled it would raise interest rates by the middle of 2015.

* The Indian rupee depreciated 39 paise, logging its biggest daily loss in nearly two months, to end at 61.34 versus the United States dollar on fears of capital outflows from emerging markets after Federal Reserve chief signalled a sooner than expected hike in US benchmark interest rates.

* Gold prices fell for the third straight day by dropping Rs 255 to Rs 30,425 per 10 grams in the national capital on sustained selling by stockists in tandem with weakening global trend.

* Foreign direct investment (FDI) into India grew by a meagre 1.5 per cent to USD 2.18 billion in January, according to the data by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

* With Sebi declaring Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies unfit to hold shares in stock exchanges and other related entities, it will have to dispose of holdings worth about Rs 2,500 crore in five companies.

* Amid a controversy over a former Sebi chief coming under CBI scanner, industry leader Deepak Parekh has said that bureaucrats can not be blamed for not taking decisions if persons of such integrity are harassed.

* Perturbed by the probe initiated by CBI against former Sebi chairman C B Bhave, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the investigating agency should exercise great caution as such enquiries "tarnish" reputations.

* Helped by growing sales of its affordable and entry-level smartphones, homegrown handset maker Micromax expects to hit USD 1 billion (over Rs 6,100 crore) in revenues this fiscal, ending March 31.