L A T E S T      N E W S

Sensex breaches past 19,000-mark; up by 188 points

MUMBAI: The Sensex on Thursday breached the 19,000 mark for the first time in 15 months as it rose 188 points ahead of the Cabinet meeting that is likely to consider big-ticket reforms like opening the pension sector to foreign investment and raising FDI cap in the insurance sector. 

After resuming 30 points lower compared to Wednesday, the BSE benchmark index hit 19,107.04, its highest since July 2011, around mid-session as investors poured funds across stocks in realty, consumer goods, banks, capital goods and power shares in anticipation of fresh reforms, said brokers. 

Rising for the fourth straight day, the 30-share Sensex closed at 19,058.15, up 188.46 points or 1 per cent, as 20 stocks led by Bhel (6.57 pc), ICICI Bank (2.93 pc), Dr Reddy (2.16 pc) and SBI (2.15 pc) ended higher. Sensex has gained 480 points in the last four days. 

Smart gains logged by ITC, HDFC Bank, L&T and TCS counters also helped the index sustain above the 19K mark today. 

The 50-share NSE Nifty after breaching 5,800-level, ended at 17-month high levels of 5,787.60 -- up 56.35 points. 

In the overall market, over 1,700 stocks rose while 1,244 scrips declined. Total investor wealth rose by Rs 48,000 crore to Rs 66.71 lakh crore, shows BSE data. 

“Sensex has closed above 19,000 for the first time since July mainly on the wave of positive sentiment on account of expected reforms announced by the government. Liquidity infused by FIIs through consistent buying in the past few days also played a part,” said K Subramanyam, AVP-Institutional Research, Asit C Mehta Investment Intermediates. 

Shares of companies with exposure to insurance business such as Aditya Birla Nuvo, Max India and Reliance Capital surged as much as 5 per cent today. 

The Cabinet later today is likely to consider measures like opening pension sector to foreign investment, raising FDI cap in insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per, the Forward Contract Regulation Act (Amendment) Bill and the Companies Bill. A proposal to set up a National Investment Board (NIB) for according fast-track clearances to infra projects is also expected be be taken up at the meeting. 

Meanwhile, rupee gained for a fifth day to touch a five-and-half month high, breaching 52 to dollar for the first time since April 20, 2012. — PTI





Kingfisher employee group says talks ended in failure

NEW DELHI: Kingfisher Airlines Ltd's efforts to resolve a labour dispute were dealt yet another blow after a group of employees said negotiations in Delhi had "ended in failure" because the Indian airline did not commit to paying overdue salaries.

Kingfisher, once India's second-largest airline, is more than half a year behind on salary payments and has grounded its fleet since Monday after a protest by engineers over the weekend turned violent. Talks with employees in Mumbai on Wednesday ended in a stalemate.

"Employees demanded payment of long pending salary (seven months) prior to resuming operations. All employees expressed their keenness to resume work provided their dues are cleared expeditiously," the group of unidentified employees in Delhi said in a statement on Thursday.
The shutdown has further dimmed the outlook for the airline controlled by liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Kingfisher, which has never turned a profit since its founding in 2005, is saddled with $1.4 billion in debt, owed mostly to government banks led by State Bank of India.

The lenders, which have refused to provide more funds without a capital injection into the carrier, planned to meet with the airline later on Thursday.

Indian banks rarely pull the plug on big companies, with state lenders perceived to be especially willing to help out companies in distress.

"We want a concrete plan from Kingfisher. We need to know how the capital will be infused and then we can see how banks can help," S Vishvanathan, deputy managing director of SBI, told Reuters ahead of the meeting between the airline and its lenders.

"I don't want people to start speculating. This is a routine meeting to keep ourselves updated," he said.

While the airline has said it is in talks with potential investors including foreign carriers, none has publicly expressed an interest in taking a stake in Kingfisher. India last month allowed foreign carriers to own up to 49 percent in domestic players, a rule change that was sought by Kingfisher.

No pay, no fly

"There is a stalemate," Vikrant Patkar, a pilot in command, told reporters on Wednesday after a meeting with Kingfisher's chief executive and chief operating officers in Mumbai.

In Delhi on Thursday, several members of Kingfisher's ground crew outside the hotel near the airport where the meeting took place said they were willing to return to work.

A company official also said some employees in Delhi had agreed to go back to work, and that the airline expected to resume operations in four or five days.

"About 100 people here agreed to return to work unconditionally," Sanjay Bahadur, vice-president of corporate affairs, had told reporters after the meeting.

He also said the airline expects to pay salaries for March "within a week or so."

However, the later statement by a group of pilots and engineers based in Delhi said the talks had collapsed.

An official with India's aviation regulator said on Tuesday that Kingfisher would not get government approval to resume flying unless it pays salaries and submits an acceptable recovery plan.

Kingfisher's website was not accepting bookings for flights before October 8.

Before this week's shutdown, Kingfisher operated just 10 planes out of a fleet that once numbered 64, and its market share was the smallest among India's six main carriers.

Kingfisher's troubles have enabled India's other airlines to push up fares in a market long characterised by fierce competition and overcapacity.

Shares in Jet Airways India Ltd and SpiceJet Ltd rose 2.4 and 2.7 percent, respectively, on Thursday. Kingfisher shares fell 4.8 percent to 13.90 rupees, effectively at their daily limit of 5 percent for the fourth straight session. — Reuters





Cauvery row: Central team holds talks with TN govt

CHENNAI: Amid protests by farmers in Karnataka over sharing of Cauvery River water, a Central team on Thursday held discussions with the Tamil Nadu government and said it would submit a report to the Centre in four days.

A team led by Union Water Resources Secretary D.V. Singh held discussions with Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi and others on issues regarding reservoir levels and status of standing crops dependent on Cauvery water.

Singh later told reporters that the team will visit the Cauvery delta area and would submit its report to the Central government in about four days.

The team is also scheduled to visit Karnataka as part of its two-day programme.

The team’s visit comes against the backdrop of heightened protests by farmers’ outfits in Karnataka who have been protesting over the last four days against release of 9000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

The Karnataka government began releasing water after the Supreme Court asked it to abide by the September 19 directive of the Cauvery River Authority headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, till October 15.

Tamil Nadu had demanded two tmcft under the distress sharing formula following deficient rainfall even as the CRA had awarded 9000 cusecs.

Security has beefed up on the inter-state border and traffic movement has been disrupted following the protests. — PTI





Abu Jundal sent to Tihar jail

NEW DELHI: Key 26/11 suspect Abu Jundal was Thursday sent to Tihar Jail by a Delhi court here. 

Sending Jundal to judicial custody, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Vidya Parkash directed jail authorities to present him in two different courts on Oct 8 and Oct 12. 

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the court that Jundal was required to be present in a special NIA court Oct 8. 

The CMM’s court had Sep 28 issued a fresh warrant for Jundal for Oct 12. 

Jundal was brought before the court by Maharashtra police, who told court that he was not required for investigations in their state anymore. — IANS




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