Friday, November 25, 2011

Europe Factors-Shares to fall for 7th day on euro zone woes

 European shares are set to fall for a seventh straight session on Friday, with a lack of progress and clear strategy to contain the region's two-year old debt crisis and Germany's persistent opposition to issue joint euro zone bonds hurting sentiment.
    Financial spreadbetters predicted Britain's FTSE 100 to open 19 to 21 points lower, or as much as 0.4 percent, Germany's DAX to fall 8 to 10 points, or as much as 0.2 percent, and France's CAC-40 to drop 9 to 10 points, or as much as 0.4 percent.
    French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, after talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, said on Thursday they had agreed to stop arguing in public over whether the European Central Bank should do more to resolve the crisis.
    Merkel said she would not soften her opposition to issuing joint euro zone bonds, and added that the proposals for more intrusive powers to enforce EU budget rules, including the right to take delinquent governments to the European Court of Justice, were a first step towards deeper fiscal union.
    "Yesterday's meeting between Sarkozy, Monti and Merkel sapped trader's hopes for the creation of a euro bond, and made them roll their eyes as it was made resolutely clear that EU policy makers intend to try and solve the debt crisis through increasing fiscal union," said Jonathan Sudaria, dealer at Capital Spreads.
    "Such a solution is likely to be a long drawn out bureaucratic affair, exactly the opposite of what the markets are looking for to restore confidence. Whilst Merkel sticks to this line and opposes the creation of euro bonds, market sentiment will continue on its downward trajectory."  

    The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares hit a seven-week low on Thursday and closed 0.3 percent lower at 899.50 points in choppy trade.  

Prime Minister to meet private airlines officials

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet officials from domestic private carriers on Saturday, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said today. The meeting assumes importance because most domestic carriers are facing financial crisis. Domestic airlines like Kingfisher, Jet Airways and Spicejet have all reported losses due to high costs of operation and rising crude prices.

While the agenda of the meeting is not known, a discussion on the proposal to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) by foreign airlines in Indian carriers might take place.

A draft Cabinet note by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Commerce Ministry has recommended 26 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) by foreign airlines in domestic carriers. Anything below 26 per cent would not attract strategic investment from foreign airlines because in that case they will not have any powers to block a special resolution in a board meeting under the Indian company laws.

Current rules allow 49 per cent FDI in Indian aviation companies, but do not allow foreign airlines to own stake in India’s carriers.

Some airlines in India have opposed FDI because they worry that foreign partners will eventually take over the airlines they invest in.

Vijay Mallya, whose Kingfisher Airlines is in dire financial straits, has been urging the government to allow foreign airlines to invest in domestic carriers

Banks are finding it hard to extend more loans to India’s airlines – foreign investment could provide the assistance needed.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had backed a financial assistance to debt laden Kingfisher Airlines. "Private sector companies have to be managed efficiently but if they get into difficulties we have to find ways and means to get them out of the process," he had said.

Syria faces Arab sanctions deadline over monitors

Syria faces a Friday deadline to sign an Arab deal allowing monitors into the country or incur sanctions over its crackdown on protests including halting flights, curbing trade and stopping deals with the central bank.

Arab foreign ministers warned in Cairo that unless Syria agreed to let the monitors in to assess progress of an Arab League plan to end eight months of bloodshed, officials would consider imposing sanctions on Saturday.

Under a November 2 Arab League initiative, Syria agreed to withdraw troops from urban centers, release political prisoners, start a dialogue with the opposition and allow monitors and international media into the country.

Since then hundreds of people, including civilians, security forces and army deserters, have been killed as the unrest which the United Nations says has claimed at least 3,500 lives since March continued unabated.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based opposition group, said at least 47 people were killed in Syria on Thursday, including 16 soldiers and 17 army deserters, mostly around the rebellious city of Homs and near the town of Rastan to the north.

The violence has prompted former ally Turkey to bluntly tell President Bashar al-Assad to step down and led France to propose "humanitarian corridors" in Syria to help transport medicines or other supplies to civilians in need.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he would discuss the idea with the Arab League but a source at the 22-member body said the proposal was not brought up at the Cairo meeting.

"In the case that Syria does not sign the protocol ... or that it later violates the commitments that it entails, and does not stop the killing or does not release the detainees ...  will meet on Saturday to consider sanctions on Syria," the Arab ministers said in a statement.

They said possible sanctions, which were not intended to affect ordinary Syrians, included suspending flights to Syria, stopping dealings with the central bank, freezing Syrian government bank accounts and halting financial dealings.

They could also decide to stop commercial trade with the Syrian government "with the exception of strategic commodities so as not to impact the Syrian people," the statement said.

Syria's economy is already reeling from the eight months of unrest, aggravated by U.S. and European sanctions on oil exports and several state businesses.

Mumbai journalist arrested in J Dey murder case

Mumbai-based journalist, Jigna Vora, was on Friday arrested in connection with the murder case of Mid-Day journalist J Dey.

Vora, who is employed with an English daily, is accused of being a part of the conspiracy to kill Dey.

The police are probing the underworld link in connection with Dey's murder, in this case that of Chhota Rajan as he is believed to be the matermind behind the murder.

Dey was shot dead outside his house at Powai in Mumbai on June 11, 2011.

Sachin Tendulkar misses 100th international century

Sachin Tendulkar fell six runs short of becoming the first batsman to score an unprecedented 100 international centuries during the third and final Test against the West Indies.

Tendulkar, who resumed on 67 at his home ground of Wankhede stadium on Friday, was dismissed for 94 when he slashed at a delivery from pace bowler Ravi Rampaul and was caught by Darren Sammy at second slip early on the fourth day.

Tendulkar faced 20 deliveries in the morning session and smashed a total of eight fours and two sixes in a 153-ball knock.

This is the tenth time that Tendulkar has got out in the nineties equalling the record of Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid.

The 100th century has been tensely anticipated since he notched two 100s during this year's World Cup to reach a total of 99. He has scored 51 Test centuries and 48 in one-day internationals.

Sensex down 151 points on profit-booking

The BSE benchmark Sensex fell by over 151 points in opening trade Friday as participants booked gains recorded in the previous session amid a weakening trend on other Asian bourses.

The 30-share Sensex, which closed 158.52 points higher in the previous session, fell by 151.47 points, or 0.95 percent, to 15,707.02 in opening trade Friday.

In a similar fashion, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty Index shed 46.75 points, or 0.98 percent, to 4,709.70.

Bucking the trend, stocks of retail firms were in good demand after the government cleared 51 percent foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail sector yesterday.

Stocks of Pantaloon Ltd climbed 10.47 percent to Rs 221.30, while Shopper's Stop gained 7.39 percent to Rs 399.75 after the government took a decision to allow 51 percent FDI in the multi-brand retail sector, which was earlier off-limits to foreign players.

All the sectoral indices were trading in the negative zone, with losses of up to 1 percent.

Brokers said apart from profit-booking by speculators after yesterday's gains, a weakening trend in other Asian markets on concerns over the eurozone debt crisis dampened the trading sentiment at home.

Meanwhile, in the Asia region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down by 1.22 percent and Japan's Nikkei shed 0.32 percent in morning trade Friday. The US market was closed yesterday for 'Thanksgiving Day'.

Kamal al-Ganzuri appointed as new Egyptian PM

Egypt's ruling military council has tasked former prime minister Kamal al-Ganzuri with forming a new cabinet, Egyptian state media reported.

Ganzuri headed the government from 1996 to 1999, under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The reports of his appointment came yesterday after the ruling military council on Tuesday accepted the resignation of caretaker premier Essam Sharaf's cabinet, amid spiralling unrest, and invited the country's political forces for crisis talks on the formation of a "national salvation" government.

After the popular uprisings earlier this year that toppled Mubarak, Ganzuri distanced himself from the former leader in a television interview, prompting several Facebook pages to recommend him as a future presidential candidate.

Born in 1933, Ganzuri served as minister of planning and international cooperation before his first tenure as Egyptian premier.

He then made a name for himself by working to strengthen ties between Egypt and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.