News Digest: Rupee touches 51, HDFC Bank trumps SBI, Govt. opens Pension FDI


Last few days has seen Indian stock markets slipping on the fears of Italy debt crisis worsening further and sending jitters across the global markets on the thoughts of the euro zone breaking up into pieces.

Moreover, it is widely speculated that Italy, which is third largest economy in the euro zone, could be too big to bailout and could lead to prolonged recession in the region. In fact, IMF head Christine Lagarde has warned that the Europe’s debt crisis could risk the world economy plunging into a “lost decade” and erosion of confidence.


Rupee-Dollar Exchange Rate kisses 51-mark

Yeah, it’s almost a free fall for the Indian currency. The Rupee touched a low of 51 against a US dollar amidst foreign institutional sell off in the Indian equities, higher demand for dollars from banks and importers and reemergence of the American dollar as a safe-haven global asset.

However, Rupee recovered late afternoon to crawl back to 50.75 per dollar.

HDFC Bank pips SBI by market capitalization

Blame it purely on Moody’s downgrade of SBI’s stand-alone rating to D+ from C- on account of its weakening asset quality, that has led to value erosion in market capitalization of India’s top most public sector bank on the Indian bourses.

HDFC Bank has now emerged as India’s most valued lender with a market capital of Rs.1.10 lakh crore, displacing SBI from the numero uno position.

However, at the close of the session, SBI regained its position at the top slot with a market capital of Rs.1.12 lakh crore. But, given the negative trend prevailing in the state-run bank, SBI is much likely to lose the race in the days to come.

BHEL and L&T at 52-week low

Capital goods index has been hit badly by the negative trend prevailing in power equipment maker BHEL and engineering major L&T. The share price of BHEL has been under downward pressure since a long time now, marred by execution delays in its orders, slowdown in the power sector and increased competition from low-cost Chinese equipment manufacturers.

The order book of India’s largest power equipment maker BHEL is valued at Rs.1.61 lakh crore as on September 2011.

26% FDI in Pension Sector

Media reports indicate that the cabinet has approved FDI of up to 26% in the pension funds, which is expected to bring in assets worth $12 billion from global players in the lucrative pension market of India.

The New Pension System has about 24 lakh subscribers including central government employees. This proposal needs Parliamentary nod to be turned into law in the upcoming winter session.

Titan goes for Swiss shopping

Watch and branded jewellery maker Titan Industries has acquired Swiss watch brand Favre Leuba for Rs.13 crore to strengthen the existing watch brand portfolio of the company with a Swiss heritage brand and expand its product portfolio. This acquisition will provide the Indian watch major with global rights to the trademarks of this brand.

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