Episode 427

Business News at 05:30 pm on 7th March 2023

Listen to the latest news on business and finance where we talk about Meta layoffs, Adani stocks exiting Nifty Alpha 50 index, JP Morgan’s expectation of another strong year for mergers and acquisitions in India, and palm oil imports. We also talk about Asian markets and PM Narendra Modi’s latest advice to private companies.

Today’s Latest Business News at 05:30 pm on 7th March 2023.

[Disclaimer: This transcript is auto-generated]

Let’s begin with the market. Four Adani group companies’ shares have been excluded from the Nifty Alpha 50 index as the National Stock Exchange of India rejigged its indices. Adani Enterprises, Adani Green Energy, Adani Transmission, and Adani Total Gas have been excluded from the Nifty Alpha 50 index, along with ten other stocks. The rejig and replacement is done on a quarterly basis, following a review of the strategy indices. The Adani stocks will exit the NSE index with effect from 31 March. The Nifty Alpha 50 index is a 50 stock index that selects stocks with high alphas, judging each security based on its liquidity and market capitalization. This, according to the NSE, will make them investable and replicable.

In some more market news, Asian financial markets were little changed today as investors awaited congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell due to start later in the day for clues on the central bank’s next move on interest rates, as per Reuters report. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. The index is up 2.9% so far this month. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes reached 3.9675%, compared with its U.S. close of 3.983% on Monday. The two-year yield, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 4.8945% compared with a U.S. close of 4.894%.

On to industry. Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is considering a fresh round of layoffs and is planning to cut thousands of employees this week, Bloomberg reported citing unidentified sources. This would follow a 13 per cent reduction in workforce in November 2022, which was done to make Meta an efficient organisation. After the last round of layoffs, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a message to his employees, quote, “I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13 per cent and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1,” unquote.

Meanwhile, dealmakers in India should expect another strong year for mergers and acquisitions as geopolitical tensions could propel companies to diversify into the South Asian nation, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co, reported Bloomberg. India sealed its busiest M&A year ever with about $191 billion worth of transactions in 2022, bucking a global slump in deal activity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While it’s unlikely for the country to repeat such a high mark this year, there will be decent deal flow to keep the bankers busy, said Nitin Maheshwari, JPMorgan’s head of M&A for India. Maheshwari said that smaller transactions will drive deal flow in India this year with the majority being in the range of $500 million to $2 billion.

Next up, economy. India’s palm oil imports could jump 16% in 2022/23 to a four-year high of 9.17 million tonnes, as consumption is set to jump after two years of contraction due to COVID-led lockdowns, a senior industry official told Reuters on Tuesday. Higher purchases by the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oils could lend further support to palm oil futures , which are trading near their highest level in four months. Sudhakar Desai, president of the Indian Vegetable Oil Producers’ Association said, quote, “Consumption fell for two straight years because of the pandemic. This year, it would rebound by about 5% as restrictions have eased and prices have fallen,” unquote.

Moving on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked the private sector to increase investments, following in the footsteps of the government increasing the capital expenditure budget to a whopping Rs 10 lakh crore in the upcoming financial year. Modi at an event today said, quote, “The government has increased outlay on capital expenditure to Rs 10 lakh crore, the highest ever. I would also call upon the private sector of the country to increase their investment just like the government so that the country gets maximum benefit from it,” unquote. Modi also pitched UPI as a future means of financial inclusion and empowerment for the whole world.

Lastly, some good news for auto lovers. Hero MotoCorp has launched a new feature-rich variant of the Super Splendor called the Super Splendor XTEC at a starting price of Rs 83,368, ex-showroom Delhi. The Super Splendor XTEC gets an all-LED headlamp, a digital instrument cluster among other features. In the extremely competitive 125cc segment, it rivals the Honda Shine and the Honda SP 125. The Super Splendor XTEC is offered in two variants – the front drum brake version which is priced at Rs 83,368 while the front disc brake variant costs Rs 87,268, ex-showroom Delhi.

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Business News at 05:30 pm on 7th March 2023