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Sensex nosedives by 615 points
Mumbai, August 1
The Sensex today tumbled 615 points on the back of global melt-down fuelled by fears of a shaky sub-prime housing markets in the US, dragging down indices universally.
Investors watch nervously at the trading screen outside the Bombay Stock Exchange, Mumbai, as the Sensex suffered its second major crash on Wednesday.
Investors watch nervously at the trading screen outside the Bombay Stock Exchange, Mumbai, as the Sensex suffered its second major crash on Wednesday. — AFP

India, Pak agree on bank branches across border
Commerce secretary G.K.Pillai (left) talks with Pakistan's commerce secretary Syed Asif Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday.New Delhi, August 1
New Delhi and Islamabad today arrived at a concrete agreement on opening up of banking sector and expediting export of cement from Pakistan to India.
Commerce secretary G.K.Pillai (left) talks with Pakistan's commerce secretary Syed Asif Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Deposit rates to come down: Chidambaram
New Delhi, August 1
The RBI’s measure to suck out liquidity from banking system would have marginal impact on banks’ net interest margins and would also lead to cut in interest rates on one-year bank deposits, finance minister P Chidambaram said here today.





EARLIER STORIES

 

Re surge takes toll on NRI-money inflow
Jalandhar, August 1
The flow of much-desired NRI dollars into Punjab and other parts of North India has got curtailed to a large extent because of the ongoing surge of Indian rupee and the constant downfall of dollar in the international market.

Murdoch wins control of Dow Jones
New York, August 1
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has won control of Dow Jones & Co. and The Wall Street Journal newspaper in a $5-billion takeover, the US company confirmed today.

Spice plans unit in Baddi
New Delhi, August 1
Indigenous mobile handset maker, Spice Mobile, plans to set up manufacturing hub in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, early next year and plans to capture 10 per cent market share, a senior company official said here today.



Bollywood actress and brand ambassador of Spice Mobile Priyanka Chopra holds newly launched Spice dual-mode phones in New Delhi on Wednesday. The phone has a in-built option of two SIM cards. It is priced at Rs 9,849. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal
Bollywood actress and brand ambassador of Spice Mobile Priyanka Chopra holds newly launched Spice dual-mode phones in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Posco project gets environmental clearance
New Delhi, August 1
The government has granted environmental clearance to South Korean steel giant Posco's 12 million integrated steel project in Orissa, removing a major roadblock in the way of the Rs 52,000 crore plant.

A model displays the world's smallest high-definition digital video camcorder "HDC-SD7" produced by Matsushita Electric Industrial in Tokyo on Wednesday.
A model displays the world's smallest high-definition digital video camcorder "HDC-SD7" produced by Matsushita Electric Industrial in Tokyo on Wednesday. The camcorder has three 560,000-pixel CCD to record high-definition images on a stamp-sized SD memory card. — AFP 

Export growth slows down
New Delhi, August 1
Hit hard by the appreciating rupee, India's export growth is tapering off and stood at 14.05 per cent in June 2007, considerably down from the 23.06 per cent growth rate at the start of the fiscal in April.

ICICI Bank eyes German market
Frankfurt, August 1
India’s second largest bank, ICICI Bank, plans to enter the German market, where it will target corporate clients, ICICI head Kundapur Vaman Kamath said.

Central Bank revises interest rates
Chandigarh, August 1
The Central Bank of India has revised downward interest rates on NRE and foreign currency non-resident (FCNR) deposits across all maturities, with effect from today. The interest on NRE time deposit is revised for one year to less than two years to 5.25 per cent from 5.43 percent, for two years to less than three years to 5.17 per cent, and for three years it has been revised to 5.21 per cent from 5.46 per cent.

15 Cos bid for Talwandi Sabo project
Patiala, August 1
Fifteen leading power companies have bid for the 2,000 MW Talwandi Sabo Thermal Power Project. They include NTPC, Tata Power, Reliance Energy, Lanco Infratech, Nagarjuna Construction, CESC Ltd, GMR Energy, M/S Suez Energy, Chambal Infrastructure Ventures Ltd, CLP Construction, Adani Enterprises Ltd, Bilt Power Ltd, SR Power Ltd, GVK Power, Jindal Steel & Power, Siti Energy & Sterlite Industries.

Corporate Results
Ansal profit up by 79 per cent
New Delhi, August 1
Ansal Housing & Construction Ltd today said its net profit increased by 79 per cent to Rs 12.63 crore for the quarter ended June 30 from Rs 7.05 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal. The company’s turnover jumped by 25 per cent to Rs 51.71 crore in the first quarter current fiscal from Rs 41.36 crore in 2006-07.


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Sensex nosedives by 615 points
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, August 1
The Sensex today tumbled 615 points on the back of global melt-down fuelled by fears of a shaky sub-prime housing markets in the US, dragging down indices universally.

The BSE benchmark today suffered its second major crash in as many weeks, to fall below 15,000 levels.

The barometer index has ended below 15K level for the first time since July 11. On July 27, it had tanked 541 points, following a melt-down in global stock markets led by fears of a credit crunch in the US, the world's biggest economy.

The Sensex closed at 14,935.77 points, after touching the day’s low of 14,910.52 and a high of 15,344.02. All 30 stocks in the BSE index declined.

In similar fashion, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty dropped by 183 points at 4,345.85. It had plunged to the day's low of 4,339.75 and had risen to a high of 4,532.90.

Marketmen said the current crash in the indices was attributed to worries over the sub-prime loan industry in the US and that it might prompt investors to withdraw from riskier assets.

They said a weakening US stock markets, following a fall in housing sale, and a credit crunch might impact markets across the globe.

Stocks also fell after crude oil topped $78 a barrel yesterday in New York, they said.

The US Standard and Poor's 500 index fell 1.3 per cent after American Home Mortgage Investment said it has been cut off from credit and didn't have money to make $300 million of mortgages it had already agreed to provide, marketmen said.

Today's losing pack was led by ACC, which fell 8.9 per cent or Rs 94 at close.

Reliance Energy, Hindalco, Reliance Communications, Tata Steel, Reliance Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel and BHEL were among the top losers. All the sectoral indices were trading in the red at closing time. The BSE metal took the worst hit, falling 4.8 per cent at the end of the day.

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India, Pak agree on bank branches across border
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
New Delhi and Islamabad today arrived at a concrete agreement on opening up of banking sector and expediting export of cement from Pakistan to India.

The two neighbouring countries set December deadline to clear the proposals for setting up of bank branches in each others country.

“Both sides agreed to finalise the processing of applications for the two bank branches in either country within six months of the receipt of applications or by December 31, 2007, whichever is later,” Pakistan’s commerce secretary Syed Asif Shah said, in the presence of commerce secretary G.K. Pillai, on the conclusion of the fourth round of India-Pakistan talks on economic and commercial cooperation here.

Replying to the prolonged delay in the establishment of bank branches, Shah said: “It is due to procedural delays and now we have set to move on the issue in a time-bound manner.”

As per the proposal, United Bank of Pakistan and National Bank of Pakistan would open its branches in India and the State Bank of India and Bank of India would open its branches in Pakistan, he said.

On import of cement from Pakistan to India, Pillai said India would complete all statutory certification-related formalities on a fast track.

“A team of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have already inspected the factories in Pakistan intending to export cement to India and the result of the quality tests would be received by the month-end, which would pave the way for export,” Pillai said.

Besides, he said, the Indian side was also in the process of making appropriate policy changes to accept third party certification.

Replying to a specific question, Shah said Pakistan has about 14 to 15 million tonnes of cement immediately available for export to India.

He was hopeful that export of cement would begin from August end.

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Deposit rates to come down: Chidambaram
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
The RBI’s measure to suck out liquidity from banking system would have marginal impact on banks’ net interest margins and would also lead to cut in interest rates on one-year bank deposits, finance minister P Chidambaram said here today.

“The impact of the twin measures of the RBI — CRR hike by 50 bps and withdrawal of cap of Rs 3,000 crore on daily reverse repo transaction, would have a marginal impact of 0.03 per cent on the banks’ net interest margins,” Chidambaram told newspersons after chairing a meeting of CEOs of public sector banks here.

Asked whether there will be cut in the deposit or lending rates, Chidambaram said “the impression what I have gained after interacting with them (bank chiefs) the interest rates on one-year bank deposits, which have risen to nearly 10 per cent, to come down by about 0.5 per cent.”

“Some banks have already done that and interest rates have come down to 8.5 per cent. My impression is that it will stabilise at that level,” the finance minister said.

On increasing lending to minorities, Chidambaram said the public sector banks have agreed to increase lending to minorities to 15 per cent from the present 9 per cent of total priority sector credit over three years.

As decided earlier, the banks have also agreed to expedite opening of bank branches in minority dominated area to ensure easy access of credit to minorities, he added.

Replying to a question, he ruled out revisiting a legislation that did away with payment of interest by RBI to banks for their mandatory cash deposits with the central bank.

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Re surge takes toll on NRI-money inflow
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 1
The flow of much-desired NRI dollars into Punjab and other parts of North India has got curtailed to a large extent because of the ongoing surge of Indian rupee and the constant downfall of dollar in the international market.

As they see huge loss in transmission of their dollars to India, the NRIs were preferring to adopt a wait and watch policy in respect of transmission of their dollars to their relatives. This phenomenon was not only causing problems to NRI-dependent people of Doaba region and Indian exporters, but was also affecting the ongoing NRI-funded development works in Punjab.

The unprecedented fall of the US dollar in the international market has been to the extent of an estimated 12.5 per cent while the Indian rupee has registered a big leap which was not seen during the past about nine years.

“The NRIs are withholding their money back abroad as they see a huge loss in value of their dollars in case they send these across to India. Since the families of NRIs here have to make payment in rupees and not in dollars to invest in property or acquiring other items, they are holding their money back in foreign countries,” said Ashwani Kohli, a Phagwara-based industrialist and senior vice-president of Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters.

“The NRIs are not in a mood to send money even for the village- level developmental works like construction of hospitals or schools for the reason that they have high hopes that the dollar will come back with a bang and would shine once again. According to estimates, there has been a 50 per cent fall in NRI money inflow, which was about Rs 1,600 crore in a month before January,” observed Kohli.

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Murdoch wins control of Dow Jones

New York, August 1
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has won control of Dow Jones & Co. and The Wall Street Journal newspaper in a $5-billion takeover, the US company confirmed today.

The coup for Murdoch's News Corp. after three months of intense negotiations is expected to lead to a dramatic shakeup of the US media landscape.

Under the deal approved by both boards of directors and "certain members of the Bancroft family," a five-member committee will be charged with "assuring the continued journalistic and editorial integrity and independence of Dow Jones' publications and services," the companies said in a statement posted on the Dow Jones website.

Murdoch, 76, has built a vast media empire over the decades and is planning to expand his interests further on October 15 with the launch of a News Corp. business news cable television channel, Fox Business Network, in the United States.

News Corp. will still need to get US regulatory approval for the deal, but Murdoch has said he does not anticipate any problem. The Journal said the deal could be closed by the end of the year. — AFP

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Spice plans unit in Baddi
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Indigenous mobile handset maker, Spice Mobile, plans to set up manufacturing hub in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, early next year and plans to capture 10 per cent market share, a senior company official said here today.

“We plan to set up manufacturing facilities in Baddi in the first half of 2008 and be the top five handset manufacturing player in the country,” Kunal Ahooja, CEO of Spice Mobile, said.

Asked about the investment plans, he said the talks were on with several players.

By 2010, our target in the market share will surge to 10 per cent, he said, adding it was estimated that around 8 per cent of mobile subscribers already own two numbers and we did foresee this trend to grow in future.

Earlier, the company unveiled a dual-mode handset, in which both GSM and CDMA-based connections could be activated.

The company said the dual-mode phones were for the non-metro areas. The company is planning to invest about Rs 8 crore on marketing and branding.

“The new phone is targeted at those who have two cell phone numbers and have been looking for a convenience of carrying just one phone,” Kunal Ahooja said.

The company will also launch 'People's phone' costing less than Rs 1,000 and “Movie phone” with in-built DVD player, he said.

The Spice dual phone comes with two variants — D-88, which supports both GSM and CDMA active connections at the same time and D-80, which supports two GSM connections.

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Posco project gets environmental clearance

New Delhi, August 1
The government has granted environmental clearance to South Korean steel giant Posco's 12 million integrated steel project in Orissa, removing a major roadblock in the way of the Rs 52,000 crore plant.

"The ministry of environment and forests has given the environmental clearance for Posco's mega steel project at Kujang near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa," highly-placed official sources told PTI.

The Korean steel giant had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Orissa government in June 2005, pledging an investment of Rs 52,000 crore for setting up the plant.

"The project authorities shall utilise Rs 1,525 crore earmarked for environmental pollution control measures judiciously to implement the conditions stipulated by the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) as well as the state government. The funds so provided shall not be diverted for any other purpose," a source quoted the environment and forests ministry as saying, while granting clearance.

The clearance has been granted to the world's third largest steel manufacturer for installing furnaces using FINEX technology only and on the condition that gaseous emissions from its various units should strictly conform to load/mass- based standards notified by the government.

Earlier in April, the MOEF had granted its approval under Coastal Regulation Zone to the Korean steel giant's proposal to set up a captive port at Jatadhari at a cost of Rs 17,113 crore.

The government has made it clear that the Korean steel giant must implement its relief and rehabilitation plan in a time-bound manner and report compliance to the state, sources said. — PTI

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Export growth slows down

New Delhi, August 1
Hit hard by the appreciating rupee, India's export growth is tapering off and stood at 14.05 per cent in June 2007, considerably down from the 23.06 per cent growth rate at the start of the fiscal in April.

The export growth rate was down in May at 18.07 per cent, slowing further to 14.06 per cent in June, when exports stood at $11.87 billion against $10.40 billion in the year-ago period.

This has brought down the overall increase in exports in the first quarter of April-June to 18.11 per cent, which is much below the 28 per cent growth targeted for the current financial year. In 2007-08, the government has targeted exports of $160 billion against $125 billion in the previous fiscal.

Exporters attribute the dip to the appreciating rupee, which has gone up by over 11 per cent since August last year. They say poor realisations due to rupee rise is impacting their competitiveness, forcing them to cut down on their order bookings. — PTI

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ICICI Bank eyes German market

Frankfurt, August 1
India’s second largest bank, ICICI Bank, plans to enter the German market, where it will target corporate clients, ICICI head Kundapur Vaman Kamath said.

He told the newspaper Handelsblatt that the bank would open its German headquarters some time in the next three months to take advantage of growing Indian-German economic ties and to counsel Indian companies planning acquisitions in Germany.

He said ICICI also wanted to launch an on-line banking service this year and offer German customers savings accounts carrying attractive interest rates.

The bank is present in 18 countries, mainly in south-east Asia and the Gulf. — AFP

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Central Bank revises interest rates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Central Bank of India has revised downward interest rates on NRE and foreign currency non-resident (FCNR) deposits across all maturities, with effect from today. The interest on NRE time deposit is revised for one year to less than two years to 5.25 per cent from 5.43 percent, for two years to less than three years to 5.17 per cent, and for three years it has been revised to 5.21 per cent from 5.46 per cent.

Interest on the FCNR-B deposit in US dollar are also revised to 4.50 per cent for one year to less than two years from 4.68 per cent, 4.42 per cent for two years to less than three years from 4.68 per cent, 4.46 per cent for three years to less than four years from 4.71 per cent, 4.54 per cent for four years to less than five years from 4.75 per cent and 4.61 per cent for five years from 4.79 per cent. The interest for euro, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars and FCNR-B deposits have also been revised.

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15 Cos bid for Talwandi Sabo project
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 1
Fifteen leading power companies have bid for the 2,000 MW Talwandi Sabo Thermal Power Project. They include NTPC, Tata Power, Reliance Energy, Lanco Infratech, Nagarjuna Construction, CESC Ltd, GMR Energy, M/S Suez Energy, Chambal Infrastructure Ventures Ltd, CLP Construction, Adani Enterprises Ltd, Bilt Power Ltd, SR Power Ltd, GVK Power, Jindal Steel & Power, Siti Energy & Sterlite Industries.

Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board, Y.S.Ratra said the site for the project has been cleared by the Central Electricity Authority and notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act has already been issued for acquiring about 2,100 acres of land.

He stated that work was going on at the site and with the launch of the project, power demand of the state would be met to great extent.

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Corporate Results
Ansal profit up by 79 per cent

New Delhi, August 1
Ansal Housing & Construction Ltd today said its net profit increased by 79 per cent to Rs 12.63 crore for the quarter ended June 30 from Rs 7.05 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal. The company’s turnover jumped by 25 per cent to Rs 51.71 crore in the first quarter current fiscal from Rs 41.36 crore in 2006-07.

Dalmia Cements

Dalmia Cement (Bharat) has reported a 63 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 81.84 crore for the quarter ended June 30 and the total sales during the quarter stood at Rs 348.16 crore, up by 68 per cent.

Cognizant Solutions

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation today announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30. It stated that quarterly revenue increased to $516.5 million, up by 53 per cent from the year-ago quarter and revenue for the second quarter increased to $516.5 million, up by 12 per cent. GAAP net income was $82.3 million.

Fortis net down

Fortis Healthcare Ltd has reported a net loss of Rs 23.94 crore during the quarter ended June 30, against a net loss of Rs 24.55 crore in the corresponding quarter previous fiscal. The company’s consolidated total income, however, grew by 10 per cent during the quarter at Rs 134.64 crore.

Shreyans Inds

Shreyans Industries, flagship company of Shreyans Group, has posted a net profit of Rs 2.51 crore in the quarter ending June 30, up by 300 per cent from the corresponding quarter last year. The turnover of the company has gone up from Rs 46.48 crore to Rs 59.76 crore, up by 29 per cent from the corresponding quarter last year. — Agencies, TNS

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BRIEFLY

Chhatru project
New Delhi, August 1
DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd (DSCL) today said it has bagged a Rs 700-crore project from the Himachal Pradesh government to execute 108 MW Chhatru Hydro-Electric project on Chandra river. DSCL would work on build own operate and transfer-basis to develop, finance, construct, commission and operate the power plan for a concession period of 40 years, the company said. — TNS

Brocade centre
Bangalore, August 1
Brocade, a US-based software company, has opened a world class research and development (R&D) facility here. The Bangalore-based R&D centre has the latest state-of-the-art infrastructure and according to Mike Klayko, CEO, Brocade, the new centre at Bangalore will make a significant milestone in the global growth of Brocade. — PTI

ITDC plans
New Delhi, August 1
ITDC has embarked upon upgradation of its hotels at an estimated investment of Rs 146 crore, while looking for duty-free business beyond India in tie-up with a Spanish firm. ITDC has formed a 50:50 JV with Spain’s Aldeasa, a senior ITDC official said. The JV has won the rights to run duty free shops at Mumbai international airport and is also planning to set up such shops at the sea-ports. — PTI

Logix buyout
Mumbai, August 1
Logix Microsystems today acquired ReckonUp, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) product from US-based Prize Corporation at $4 million. ReckonUp is a web-based application for automobile dealerships to improve operating efficiency and helps manage databases of current and prospective clients. — UNI

Convergys
New Delhi, August 1
Convergys has said it will open a new contact centre in Gurgaon and employ 1,000 persons over the next few months. The Gurgaon centre would be the company’s eighth one in India and fourth in Gurgaon, Convergys said. — PTI

Bata stores
Tiruchirapalli, August 1
Bata India Ltd, a leading footwear retailer, will open 200 stores across the country in next two years. These stores would be in operation in a four-tier retail format under a new retail model - upmarket flagship stores, smart and trendy city stores and super stores and traditional family stores, the company said. — PTI

Nokia studio
Bangalore, August 1
Nokia today announced opening of its first satellite design studio here, signalling the growing importance it attachés to India. The studio, also the company’s first in the world, will explore a range of design trends and themes, including detailed research into colour and material trends in India. It will also study use of mobiles for Internet in India and its implications for design, and examine innovative new features and uses for mobiles. — TNS

Jet-Citibank card
Mumbai, August 1
Jet Airways and Citibank have announced an extension of their successful partnership with the launch of super-premium Jet Airways Citibank Platinum and Jet Airways CitiBusiness Credit Cards. This is in addition to the already existing Jet Airways Citibank Gold credit Card. — UNI

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