THE BRICS SUMMIT (2012)

BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) signed two agreements – The Master Agreement on Extending Credit Facility in Local Currency and the Multilateral Letter of Credit Confirmation Facility Agreement to provide financing facilities to businesses in local currencies. It also contemplated the possibility of setting up a BRICS Development bank on the lines of the multilateral lending agencies such as the World Bank to promote trade between these nations. The nations were also of the opinion that the selection process for the Chief of the World Bank be an ‘open and merit-based’ process. Tensions in Iran and Syria were also discussed at the summit. (Times of India)

MORNING EQUITY UPDATE

GLOBAL

According to the World Bank president Robert Zoellick, a plan to form a joint development bank by the BRICS group of the world’s most powerful emerging economies will have a hard time getting off the ground and could struggle to match the World Bank’s expertise. (Economic Times/Reuters)

ASIA

PSU Banks — Co.’s reporting RMB 623.61bn (USD 99bn) in annual profits in recent days, a roughly 30% surge. (WSJ)

INDIA

NBCC – EGoM fixed the issue price for state-owned National Buildings Construction Corporation’s (NBCC) initial public offering (IPO) at the upper band of INR 106 per share. Retail investors will receive shares at a 5 percent discount price of INR 100.70/share. The company’s IPO was oversubscribed almost 5 times which could enable the company to raise INR 125 cr as part of the government’s INR 40000 cr divestment plan. (Moneycontrol)

 The Indian Government disbursed a total of INR 6992 cr out of the provisional allotment of INR 9217 cr, to various states in India under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for FY 2011-12. The government aims to generate an annual growth of 4 percent in the agriculture sector. (Press Information Bureau, India)

According to a survey of 380 equity analysts polled by Reuters, emerging markets such as Russia, India, Japan, China and Brazil could spearhead any further rise in global stock markets in 2012. Analysts stated that growth in major markets in the Western-region had slowed down on account of the euro zone debt crisis. (Economic Times)

State Bank of India (SBI) – The bank plans to restructure loans owing to the tough economic environment in India. The company plans to restructure loans of around INR 2500-3000 cr in the fourth quarter of 2011 as compared to INR 2662 cr during 9M 2011. Sources cite that loan accounts of Bharti Shipyard, HCC, Hotel Leela Ventures, ARSS Infrastructure Projects, ICSA, Surya Pharmaceuticals and Vijay Electricals have been put up for restructuring. (Economic Times)

The Reserve Bank of India has pegged the aggregate normal Ways and Means Advances (WMA) limit for State governments at INR 10,240cr for 2012-13. (Business Line)

The Reserve Bank today said it will buy INR 10,000cr worth of bonds from the market today via open market operations. (CNBC TV18)

Eight core infrastructure industries grew by 6.8 per cent in February vs. previous 0.5 per cent vs. on account of healthy coal and power output. The eight industries include crude oil, petroleum refinery products, natural gas, fertilizers, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel have a weight of 37.90 per cent in the overall Index of Industrial Production. (Economic Times/PTI)

According to the CEO of ING Vysya Bank, banks may cut their lending rates in April to the same extent as that of the Reserve Bank of India reduced repo rates. (Business Line)

According to the BOFA research, Indian equities may continue to drift lower even if the RBI cuts interest rates in April, as uncertainty on taxation of foreign portfolio investment from some destinations is weighing on the rupee as well as equities. (ET/Reuters)

Bajaj Electricals – Co. plans a restructuring of its business into two verticals – consumer products division and business to business unit, both headed by Mr. Anant Bajaj. Segments such as appliances, fans, consumer durables, lighting and Morphy Richards will be a part of the consumer products vertical and luminaries and engineering projects business comprise the B2B unit. (Economic Times)

Central Public Sector Enterprises – Top 17 Co.’s are expected to Investments to the tune of INR 1.76 lakh crore in 2012-13 in their domestic business, as well as overseas assets, according to Praful Patel the Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises. (Business Line)

As many as 242 infrastructure projects in the country are running behind schedule, Parliament was informed yesterday. (PTI/Business Standard)

Muthoot Fincrop – Co. will not be allowed to collect public deposits, said the Reserve Bank of India. (Business Line)

HPCL-Mittal Energy Ltd – Co. has fully commissioned its 9 million tonne a year or 180,000 barrels a day Guru Gobind Singh Refinery at Phullokari; Bhatinda. (Business Line)

CIL – Co.’s board of directors yesterday approved the new draft fuel supply pact, but with riders, according to a government official. (Business Standard/PTI)

According to Fitch rating agency, Indians GDP could grow around 7.5 per cent in the next financial year vs. estimated 7 per cent in 2011-12. (Business Line)

NTPC – According to a co. official, the co. has frozen expansion of its gas-based projects due to non-availability of the fuel. (Economic Times)

Tata Motors – Co. said it may invest about INR 600cr on development of Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV) and for possibly setting up of a manufacturing plant for the same.
(Economic Times/PTI)

Essar Oil – Co. said it has completed expansion of its Vadinar oil refinery in Gujarat that would boost turnover by about a third and improve margins. According to the co.’s CEO revenues are expected to grow by 35 per cent in the FY starting 1st April. (Yahoo/IANS/Reuters)

Discoms – The Power Ministry is considering a financial bailout for the co.’s. According to power minister Sushilkumar Shinde, the government is considering the above option.  (Business Standard/PTI)

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers of INR 1,332.85cr (provisional), according to data released by BSE. While FIIs made gross purchases of INR 3,954.15cr, gross sales totalled INR 5,287cr. On the other hand Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net buyers of INR 299.67cr yesterday. While DIIs made gross purchases of INR 1,408 cr, gross sales totalled INR 1,108.33cr. (Business Standard)

Adani Enterprises – Co. may spend close to INR 3,400cr for adding as many as 17 more ships to its current fleet by 2020. (Business Line)

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd – State Bank of India has agreed to lend INR 2,500cr to co. to part-fund its 2 x 500-MW Thermal Power Station project. The first unit is expected to be commissioned in June 2015 and the second in December 2015. (Business Line)

IVRCL – Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group has bought additional shares in co. to bring its shareholding close to 11 per cent, the level held by promoters led by E Sudhir Reddy. (Business Standard)

Kingfisher Airlines – income tax tribunal directed co. to pay dues in weekly installments from April 7. In addition according to an government official the regulator might take action against co., if its employees and vendors were not paid soon. (Business Standard)

EUROPE

TOTAL – A major gas leak at the Elgin field in the North Sea could cost the co. billions of dollars in the worst-case scenario, according to Jefferies. Major stakeholders include Total, with a 46.2 per cent stake in the Elgin field, Italy’s Eni SpA with 21.9 per cent and the U.K.’s BG Group PLC with 14.1 per cent. Jefferies has pegged the co. in the Elgin field at USD 3.3 billion. In other news co. said it has identified the source of the gas leak from its North Sea Elgin platform. (WSJ/Reuters)

Germany’s jobless rate dropped to a new post-reunification low of 6.7 per cent in March. (Economic Times/Reuters)

OECD predicts robust growth in the US and Canada. But expects much weaker activity in Europe, according to Pier Carlo Padoan, the organization’s chief economist. (Telegraph)

Germany’s export-driven economy will grow just 0.3 percent this year and 0.7 percent next as austerity measures linked to the euro zone debt crisis weigh on foreign demand, according to Germany’s IMK, France’s OFCE and Austria’s WIFO. (Economic Times/Reuters)

Bank lending to Greece’s private sector contracted further in February as austerity measures and a drawn-out recession continued to sap demand for loans, according to central bank data. The credit shrank 3.8 per cent on an annual basis in February vs. previous 3.3 per cent.

Bank credit to households and private non-profit institutions shrank 4.3 percent in February vs. previous 4.1 per cent drop in January. Credit to businesses dropped 2.7 vs. previous 1.9 per cent drop. (Reuters)

Two trade unions in Spain called for protests on the eve of the presentation of the new Budget, which is expected to contain deep austerity measures and possibly tax increases as the conservative government seeks savings of EUR 40bn. (Telegraph)

AstraZeneca – Co. will focus on developing drugs which acts on multi-resistant tuberculosis (TB) strains in India. (Business Line)

Lloyd Banking Group – HSBC’s Middle East division is to buy the retail and commercial banking division of Co. in the UAE, for a deal valued at USD 769mn. (Economic Times/AP)

Roche Group – co. raised its offer for Illumina Inc. to USD 51 cash per share (previous USD USD 44.50), in a bid to speed up a takeover of the U.S. diagnostics company. The offer values the company at USD 6.5bn. 0 (AP/boston.com)

Diageo – Co. is edging towards a deal with the owner of Jose Cuervo tequila. (Reuters)

Eurozone finance ministers are considering freezing EUR 240bn in leftover funds in their temporary bailout scheme and keeping it in reserve through to the middle of next year in case they need an emergency rescue of Italy or Spain, according to a draft plan obtained by the Financial Times. (FT)

Vodafone/Tata Communications – Co.’s given until 19 April to bid for C&W Worldwide (Reuters)

GDF Suez – Co. has made a GBP 6 bn offer for the 30 per cent of International Power that it does not own already. (FT)

According to the OECD Britain has plunged back into a recession, as the economy continued to shrink in the first three months of the year. (Telegraph)

German utility firms Eon and RWE have discontinued plans to develop further projects through its “Horizon” joint-venture in UK. The decision to sell the joint venture could affect the UK government which had planned to construct 12 nuclear reactors for which Eon and RWE were among the four companies bidding for contracts. (Financial Times)

 Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS: MIL) – Italian bank posted a loss of EUR 4.7 bn for FY 2011. Write downs on EUR 25 bn worth of Italian sovereign bonds and a previously conducted overpriced acquisition of regional bank Antonveneta in 2007 by its outgoing management affected the company. The bank’s core tier one ratio was at 8.5 percent, on excluding the impact from government bailout bonds, which was below the regulator’s threshold of 9 percent. Share prices fell 11 percent to EUR 0.32 cents with the bank cancelling its dividend. (Financial Times)

UNITED STATES

President Barack Obama pressured Congress yesterday to end USD 4bn in tax subsidies to oil companies, but within moments of his plea, the Democratic-controlled Senate rebuffed efforts to move ahead on a bill to repeal the tax breaks. (huffingtonpost.)

Sears Holdings Corp – Co.’s chairman Edward Lampert is exploring the sale of the retailer’s Lands’ End brand. (Reuters/ New York Post)

Ford Motor – According to Citigroup Co. is set to post solid first-quarter results, on the back of strengthening U.S. demand, upcoming launches and low valuation. (Reuters)

COMMODITY

According to the French PM François Fillon, that a deal was near among developed countries including the United States to tap strategic petroleum reserves to reduce gasoline prices. (WSJ)

India’s annual crude imports from Iran could plunge by about a quarter in 2012/13, according to Reuters’ calculations, as Essar Oil joins its state-run refinery peers in cutting purchases. (Reuters)

The U.S. Energy Information Administration report showed total domestic gas inventories rose last week by 57 billion cubic feet (vs. expected 45 bcf gain) to 2.437 trillion cubic feet (REUTERS)

Economy

  •  European Monetary Union Economic Confidence data (Mar) at 94.4 vs. 94.4 (Previous)

 United States

  •  Gross Domestic Product Annualized (Q4) data at 3.0 percent vs. 1.8 percent (Previous)
  • Gross Domestic Purchases Price Index (Q4) data at 0.9 percent vs. 0.4 percent (Previous)
  • Real Personal Consumption Expenditures (QoQ) data (Q4) at 1.3 percent vs. 1.3 percent (Previous)
  • Initial Jobless Claims (Mar 24) data at 359,000 vs. 364,000 (Previous)
  • Continuing Jobless Claims (Mar 17) data at 3.340 mil vs 3.381 mil (Previous)

 (FXStreet)

MORNING EQUITY UPDATE

GLOBAL

The Russian government sold USD 3bn 30-year Eurobond at 250 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, USD 2bn 10-year paper at plus 240 basis points and USD 2bn 5-year Eurobond at 230 basis points over Treasuries, according to a financial market source.  (Reuters)

According to the Chinese minister of commerce Chen Deming, China is keen to contribute to a fund to bail out the euro zone (WSJ)

According to the South African trade minister, the BRIC groups of countries have broadly agreed that they are not bound by “unilateral” sanctions on Iran. In other news the group of five emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa targeted USD 500bn intra-group trade by 2015. (Reuters/Yahoo/IANS)

ASIA

According to a Deutsche Bank chief economist, Chinese exports were growing. The bank has raised its forecast to 13 per cent. (Money Control)

CNOOC Ltd – Co. posted net profit of RMB 70.26bn for 2011 vs. expectation RMB 69.5bn vs. previous RMB 54.41bn. (Reuters)

Huawei – Co. posted sales of RMB 203.9bn in 2011. (Reuters)

INDIA

The Petroleum Ministry seeks an additional cash subsidy of INR 40,000 crore for FY 2012 to compensate fuel retailers. Oil Minister Mr. S Jaipal Reddy, however, did not comment on a revision of fuel prices. Oil marketing firms are set to face loses of INR 137,524 cr on diesel, kerosense and LPG coupled with rising crude oil prices. (NDTV Profit)

The Indian shipyards saw its global market share slump down from 1.23 per cent in 2007 to 0.14 per cent in 2010 due to global economic slowdown and other factors, according to the Defence Minister A K Antony. (Economic Times/PTI)

Aurobindo Pharma – Co. has received final approval from the US FDA to market Quetiapine Fumarate tablets. The tablets are the generic equivalent of AstraZeneca LP’s Seroque tablets. (Business Line)

Nalco – Co. has declared an interim dividend of INR 231.95cr for 2011-2012. (Business Standard)

EIH Associated Hotels – Co.’s board has approved raising of INR 110cr through a rights issue. (Business Standard/PTI)

ACC – Co. announced an investment of INR 3,300cr by 2015 to set up three grinding units and a clinker facility, according to the co.’s MD and CEO Kuldeep Kaura. (Business Standard/PTI)

ONGC – Co. won the bid for six blocks in the ninth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy, four as operator and two as minority partner. However co.’s bids were rejected for 8 areas including five deep-sea blocks. (Business Standard/PTI)

Kingfisher Airlines – Co. has named three independent directors on its board to comply with rules, after the last of its independent directors quit last week amid growing concerns over its survival. In other news the finance minister is likely to extend tax-dues payment deadline to 31 March. (Business Standard/Reuters/PTI)

According to the Apparel exports council, exports grew meagerly by 1.5 per cent to USD 1.28 bn in February 2012 due to lower demand from European markets. (Business Line)

PSU – The Indian government has asked co.’s to gear up of buyback of their shares. In order to help the government meet its disinvestment target of INR 30,000cr next fiscal. (PTI/Business Standard)

Gujarat NRE Coking Coal Limited – Co.’s the Australian subsidiary announced that it has received approval from the government of Australia’s New South Wales province to start longwall mining there. (Yahoo/IANS)

GVK Infrastructure & Power Limited – Talks between Co. and Changi Airport on a possible stake sale by co. have broken down according to two sources familiar with the details. Co. was in exclusive talks with Changi Airport to sell 26% stake in its Airport business.  (Economic Times)

Bank of Baroda – Co.’s shareholders have approved raising funds up to INR 1,644.68cr through a preferential issue of shares to the Life Insurance Corporation. (Economic Times/PTI)

According to a CRISIL Research report Indian companies are expected to report a 200-250 basis points decline in aggregate earnings before EBITDA margins in the January-March 2012 period. (Business Line)

Welspun Corp – Co. said that it will not be impacted by the US duty of 286 per cent on certain steel pipes from India. (Business Line)

Titan Industries – Co, was downgraded by Morgan to “underweight” from “overweight,” and warned that policy changes in the recent Union Budget could hurt organized jewellery retailers. (Money Control)

Force Motors – Co. has completed the transfer of 5.5cr equity shares to Man Truck & Bus AG EUR 150,000,000. (Business Line)

UB group – Heineken may buy 12-13 per cent stake in United Breweries. Heineken already owns 37.5 per cent stake in United Breweries. (Economic Times/Reuters)

Indian Oil Corp – Co. is in talks with BG Group, Qatar and Gazprom to secure long-term liquefied natural gas supplies. (Reuters)

Lupin/Dr Reddy/ Sun Pharma – Co.’s have got approvals from the US health regulator to sell generic quetiapine fumarate tablets. (Business Standard)

Suzlon – Co. along with CGN Wind Energy will jointly develop 800 MW of domestic and international projects over the next three years. (Business Standard/PTI)

EUROPE

Finmeccania SpA – FY 2011 results posted a net loss of EUR 2.3 bn vs net profit of EUR 557 m in FY 2010. Forecasted operating profit for FY 2012 is estimated at EUR 1.1bn on expected new orders of about EUR 17.5bn and revenues in the range of EUR 16.9 – 17.3 bn. (Financial Times)

Commerzbank – Co. reached an agreement with the EU competition commission that it would restructure its property loan providing subsidiary Eurohypo. The bank had struck a deal with the EU commission in 2009 that it would sell EuroHypo by 2015 in lieu of the government backing of EUR 18 bn it received during the 2008 financial crisis. Commerzbank is expected to wind down most of Eurohypo’s business while retaining some of its commercial property lending business. (Financial Times)

Lloyd – Insurer’s 2011 Annual results posted a pre-tax loss of GBP 516 m as compared to a profit of GBP 2.2 bn in 2010 on account of claims arising from natural disasters and the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship. (Financial Times)

British Bankers Association (BBA) is contemplating imposing tighter codes of conduct on the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) rate to prevent its manipulation. BBA convened a meeting with a committee of five global banks comprising of Barclays, Lloyds, Credit Suisse, RBS and HSBC, a wholesale broker organization and the futures exchange group, the CME to come up with revisions of Libor rates. (Financial Times)

Britain’s economy shrank by a worse-than-expected 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year vs. previous -0.2 per cent, due to decline in the services sector and a larger drop in household spending.  (Business Standard/AFP)

Total – According to Fitch, co.’s North Sea gas leak is not expected to be as serious as BP’s Deepwater Horizon. (Telegraph)

Growth of loans to the private sector slowed to an annual rate of 1.1 per cent vs. previous 1.5 per cent in January, according to ECB monthly report on the euro zone money supply. (NY Times)

NORTH AMERICA

Research In Motion – Co. today slashed prices of its handsets by up to 26 per cent as it looks to grab a bigger share of the smart-phone market in India. (Business Standard/PTI)

Tyco International – Co. agreed on to merge its flow control unit with Pentair Inc. in an all-stock deal. (NY Times)

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged Congress to approve a USD 5bn to USD 10 bn plan aimed at helping struggling homeowners refinance at lower interest rates. (Reuters)

Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc co. rejected a UD 3.5bn unsolicited takeover bid from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (Reuters/Bloomberg)

Goldman Sachs – Revenue’s in co.’s investment banking division in Europe increased by 8 percent from the year-ago period to USD 476m. (Reuters)

Fannie Mae sold USD 500mn of three-month bills due 27 June 2012 at a 0.085 percent stop-out rate, or lowest accepted rate, down from the 0.109 percent rate for last week’s sale of USD 1bn in three-month bills. It also sold USD 500mn of six-month bills due 26 Sept 2012 at a 0.150 per cent rate, also down from the 0.165 per cent rate for its USD500 million of six-month bills sold on 21 March. (Reuters)

According to a report by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the amount of new foreclosures initiated in the 4Q fell by 16 percent from the previous quarter and by 17.9 percent from a year earlier. (Reuters)

Chevron – Brazil’s largest oil workers union filed a civil lawsuit against co. and drilling firm Transocean that seeks to cancel their rights to operate in the offshore oil field where they suffered an oil spill last November. (Reuters)

COMMODITY

Rising oil prices threaten to derail economic growth as Brent crude surged to USD 128.4 a barrel on account of supply disruptions ranging from Colombia, South Sudan and Iran. The US, UK, France and Japan are in talks to release additional oil reserves to control rising crude oil prices. The International Energy Agency (IEA), however, is not directly involved in talks with these nations to co-ordinate the release. Saudi Arabia increased production to a 30 yr high of 10 mil barrels a day and provided assurances that output could further be enhanced by another 25 percent in the event of supply disruptions. (Financial Times)

Crude futures slid as a French official said the country is in talks with the International Energy Agency on whether to release oil from strategic reserves. (WSJ)

Goldman Sachs is shifting its recommendation on commodities to “neutral” from “overweight” on a near-term horizon, as most commodity markets including copper, crude oil and soybeans had reached the brokerage’s near-term targets. However Goldman remains overweight on a 12-month horizon, with an expected return of 10 percent. Goldman believes that the macro environment is likely to soften in second quarter. (Reuters)

Economic Data

Germany

Consumer Price Index (MoM) data (Mar) at 0.3 percent vs. 0.7 percent (Previous)

Consumer Price Index (YoY) data (Mar) at 2.1 percent vs. 2.3 percent (Previous)

United States

Durable Goods Orders data (Feb) at 2.2 percent vs. 3.6 percent (Previous)

Durable Goods Orders ex Transportation data (Feb) at 1.6 percent vs. -3.2 percent (Previous)

UK ECONOMIC DATA

UK Economic Data

4Q11 GDP data at -0.3 percent vs -0.2 percent (Previous)

GDP (Y-o-Y) data at 0.5 percent vs. 0.7 percent (Previous)

UK 4Q11 Balance of Payments Data (Q-o-Q)

Current Account Deficit for UK GBP 8.5 bn vs GBP 10.5 bn (Previous)

Trade Deficit data at GBP 7.1 bn vs GBP 8.8 bn (Previous)

Income surplus data at GBP 4.6 bn vs GBP 4.0 bn (Previous)

Net inward investment at GBP 15.3 bn for 4Q11.

FY 2011 UK current account deficit was at GBP 29.0 bn.

(Office for National Statistics)

MORNING EQUITY

ASIA

An upcoming Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey of Japanese business sentiment on 2nd April, states that manufacturers are less pessimistic about the economy. The quarterly index is expected to rise to  – 1 from – 4 in December, according to median estimates of economists. The survey is also expected to demonstrate that confidence among large service providers could rise to 5, from 4 the previous quarter, according to analysts’ median estimate. (Bloomberg)

Sharp, an electronics manufacturer is selling a 10 percent stake to Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. for JPY 66.9 bn (USD 808 m). The deal also involves Hon Hai obtaining management and control of Sharp’s manufacturing plant in Sakai. Sharp will issue new shares to every four shares of Hon Hai to conclude the agreement. (Financial Times)

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, net income of companies declined by 5.2 percent to RMB 606 bn yuan (USD 96 m) on a Y-o-Y basis on account of slowing exports and rising property prices. Data for January 2011 were unavailable for now on account of a weeklong Chinese New Year holiday that disrupted production. Chances of a policy stimulus appear on cards based on this data. 41 types of companies were surveyed, out of which 23 reported increasing profits, 14 witnessed declines and one broke even. (Bloomberg)

INDIA

Air India – The company plans to directly import aviation fuel to save costs. It is also party to a bridge loan (short-term loan) of INR 1000 cr (USD 195 m) from Standard Chartered Bank to fund purchase of two of its 27 Dreamliner aircrafts. The Board also mulled restructuring  INR 11000 cr worth of working capital loans to be converted to long-term debt and INR 3400 cr cash credit facilities. (Economic Times)

Official auditor CAG may not alter the Rs 10.76 lakh crore loss to exchequer it had projected in the draft report on allocation of coal blocks in 2004-2009 but is likely to replace the term “loss” with a more acceptable usage “unintended benefit”. (PTI/Money Control)

According to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Gulf crisis has impacted prices and availability of oil and hinted that imports will become difficult if crude prices rise to $150-200 per barrel. (CNN_IBN)

The Indian government stated that it would borrow a total of INR 3.79 lakh crore from the market in the first half of the FY13, which will be over 65 per cent of the total borrowings it plans to raise during 2012-13. (Economic Times)

GAIL – Co. has set a target of transporting 121.55 mmscmd and market 85.75 mmscmd of natural gas during the financial year 2012-13. The firm company has pegged its gross sales for 2012-13 at Rs 43,430 crore and gross margin at Rs 6,287 crore.  (thehindubusinessline)

Kingfisher Airlines – Co. suspended operations to several cities as per a new holding plan and asked the staff to stay home till the time it manages fresh funding. Co. said there would be no lay-off of employees, and added that it would operate 120 flights daily with the help of 20 dedicated planes during the summer schedule. (ANI/Yahoo)

L&T Finance Holdings – Co. has acquired Fidelity Worldwide Investment’s India mutual fund business. (Reuters)

Central Bank of India – Co. is hopeful of maintaining its Net Interest Margin at the current level of around 2.53 per cent in the 4Q, according to top bank officials. (Business Standard/PTI)

Jindal Steel & Power Ltd – Co. yesterday said one of its promoter entities has pledged 1.3 million shares. (Business Standard/PTI)

GTL – Co. has admitted to undisclosed income of more than INR 500cr to the Income Tax department, according to the minister of state for Finance S S Palanimanickam told the Rajya Sabha. (Business Standard/PTI)

Competition Commission of India has approved the proposal of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd to merge five wholly-owned subsidiaries with itself. It has also approved the demerger of the container business of Reliance Infrastructure Engineers Pvt Ltd (RIEPL) from the company. The five subsidiaries are: Reliance Energy Ltd (REL), Reliance     Energy Generation Ltd (REGL), Reliance Goa and Samalkot Power Ltd (RGSPL), Reliance Infraventures Ltd (RIVL) and Reliance Property Developers Ltd (RPDPL). (Business Standard/PTI)

iGate Patni – Rio Tinto has entered into an innovation partnership with IT firm iGate Patni for developing next-generation technologies and expects to invest up to USD 80 million towards this initiative. (Business Standard/PTI)

Power distribution companies – According to an ICRA report, Co.’s are projected to have incurred a whopping loss of Rs 80,000cr, before accounting for government subsidies. (Economic Times/PTI)

Larsen & Toubro – Co. yesterday said it has bagged an order worth INR 1,700cr from Tata Steel for its new 6-million tonne per annum steel plant in Odisha. (Business Standard/PTI)

Public sector banks – According to the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Co.’s posted 3.06 per cent dip in net profit at INR 31,688cr in the December quarter of this fiscal due to higher provisioning and exposure to sectors such as aviation and telecom. (thehindubusinessline)

Reliance Industries Ltd – The Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has rejected Co.’s contention that geological complexities stopped it from firming up appropriate drilling locations in D6 block.  (thehindubusinessline)

Nalco – According to Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam, government is considering a disinvestment of 10 per cent in the co. (Economic Times/PTI)

In a government announcement, the government will not target Participatory Notes (P-notes) under the new General Anti-Avoidance Regulation (GAAR) regulations. (Rediff)

Suzlon – REpower Systems has signed a contract with PNE Wind AG for supplying 54 wind turbines in Germany. (Business Standard/PTI)

TVS – Co. has acquired Universal Components UK Ltd, a wholesale distributor of commercial vehicles’ parts and accessories in Britain, for INR 100cr. (thehindubusinessline)

Gammon Infrastructure Projects – Co. yesterday said it has bagged a INR 778.15cr project from National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for upgrading a section of NH-23 in Orissa. (Business Standard/PTI)

Tata Global Beverages  – Co. will purchase an additional 1.417 million shares (or 4.17% stake)  in Mount Everest Mineral Water for around INR 28cr. (Business Standard/PTI)

SBI – Co. hikes interest rate on short-term deposits to 8%. (thehindubusinessline)

Linc Pens – Co. to raise INR 20cr through a fresh issue of equity shares to Mitshubishi Pencil Co. Ltd. Mitshubishi Pencil Co Ltd. will pick up 13.53 per cent stake in co. (thehindubusinessline)

EUROPE

Germany’s overall debt declined to EUR 2.021 trillion at the end of last year. The debt declined by EUR 5.7 billion or 0.3 percent from the EUR 2.027 trillion recorded at the end of September, according to the national statistics office Destatis.  (Economic Times/AFP)

Bank of Spain’s report affirmed that Spain would enter into another recession on forecasts of a second consecutive quarterly slide in output. A contraction in activity, private consumption and rising unemployment rates for the first 3 months of 2012 are likely to push forth for massive cuts in its budget on Friday. Fiscal deficit for 2011 was 8.5 percent of Spain’s GDP, which is higher than the 6.0 percent target. Spanish government pegged its deficit target at 5.8 percent this year, above the 4.4 per cent demanded by the EU, but reached a compromise of 5.3 percent. (Economic Times)

Policy advisor, The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated in its report that the euro zone needed to undertake ‘ambitious’ structural reforms to bolster economies. It warned that lack of lending by banks coupled with fiscal consolidation could pose short-term problems in Europe. OECD forecasted a moderate growth of 0.2 percent in Europe in 2012. An increase in the financial ‘firewall’ was also suggested and that Spain and Italy should pursue further consolidation should anything adverse come up. (Financial Times)

According to ECB’s Jozef Makuch the euro zone economy is still in a fragile state (Reuters)

BP PLC – Co.  Co. to sell a package of North Sea gas assets in a USD 400 million deal with privately-held Perenco U.K. Ltd. (WSJ)

Rio Tinto – The Company plans to put up its diamond mining business for sale by inviting offers on its diamond mines in Australia, Canada and Zimbabwe and a project in India. Trade sale and a flotation are considered by the company. Bidders include Harry Winston Diamond, a Canadian firm that already owns a 40 percent stake in Rio’s Diavik mine in Canada, and private equity groups KKR and Apollo Global Management. Bids from Alrosa and De Beers are considered unlikely on account of opposition from competition regulators. (Financial Times)

Deutsche Bank AG – The bank claimed the title of becoming Europe’s largest bank by assets after it leapfrogged France’s BNP Paribas SA. Assets of the German bank are pegged at EUR 2.16 tn (USD 2.88 tn), according to Bloomberg data, making its balance sheet about 40 percent larger than in 2006 and   more than 80 percent of the German economy. The bank’s price-to-book ratio is at 0.65, seventh lowest among the 50 global banks with similar market values. (Bloomberg)

Total – Co. is considering drilling a relief well as one of the options to stem a massive gas leak at its Elgin platform in the North Sea, which could take six months. (Telegraph)

UniCredit SpA – Co.’s 4Q net profit fell 65 per cent but beat analysts’ expectations. (WSJ)

NORTH AMERICA

The Conference Board showed the index of consumer attitudes eased to 70.2 vs. prev. 71.6 vs. exp.  70.3. (Reuters)

S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices (YoY) data (Jan) -3.8 percent vs. previous – 4.0 percent. (Dow Jones Newswires)

McCormick – Co. 1Q EPS USD 0.55 vs. est. USD 0.53. Sales rise 16 pct to USD 906.7mn. FY12 guidance at EPS USD 3.01-3.06 vs. est. USD 3.04. (Reuters)

Walgreen Co – Co. reported second quarter results which exceeded analysts’ estimates. Net income for quarter ended Feb. 29 declined 7.6 percent from USD 739 m to USD 683 million on a Y-o-Y basis. Earnings were at 78 cents a share (80 cents Previous) against analysts estimates of 77 cents a share. Convenience/fresh food, household items and personal care products boosted sales for the second quarter. The company’s total net sales stood at USD 18.7 bn, exceeding analyst’s median estimates of USD 18.6 bn. (Bloomberg)

COMMODITIES

Deutsche Bank yesterday raised FY12 Brent crude oil forecast by USD 2 sighting partly due to supply disruptions, but lowered its U.S. natural gas price forecasts due to plentiful supply. (Economic Times/Reuters)

According to the World Steel Association global steel production was up 1.9 per cent in February at 119 million tonne, with India’s contribution at 5.7 million tonne. (Business Standard/PTI)

According to the International Energy Agency, oil consuming nations are set to pay a record USD 2 trillion this year for oil imports if crude prices do not fall. (Reuters)

MORNING EQUITY UPDATE

ASIA

According to Chinese PM Wen Jiabao, corruption could threaten China’s power structure. (Reuters)

INDIA

EGoM undertook a decision to allow export of additional one million tonnes of sugar over the previously approved two million tonnes for the marketing year through September. This move aims to ease surplus sugar stock and support sugar mills in repaying arrears of INR 8409 crore owed to farmers. According to data released by Indian Sugar Mills Association, sugar output in India increased to 21.16 million tonnes since October 1, up 14% from a Y-o-Y basis. (Financial Express)

According to the Steel Minister, India’s steel production stood at 63.894 million tonnes during the April-February period this fiscal, up 6.8 per cent over the same period last year. He also added that steel production during the entire 2010-11 fiscal was 66.013 million tonnes, up 8.8 per cent over 60.624 million tonnes in 2009-10. (thehindubusinessline)

The lack of clarity in terms of the new General Anti-Avoidance Rule GAAR rules drove the market down on Monday.  According to a brokerage firm IIFL the introduction of GAAR could give powers to the tax department to deny double taxation treaty benefits to foreign funds based out of tax-havens like Mauritius. (Reuters)

According to a CRISIL research report, the new home prices in Mumbai are unlikely to decline, despite a 40 per cent decline in new home sales in 2011. (NDTV)

CIL – In a letter to the Coal Ministry, an UK based hedge fund which holds a minority stake in co. has alleged that co.’s board and top management for not performing adequately and were harming the co.’s growth. (Economic Times/PTI)

Kotak Mahindra Bank – Private equity investor Warburg Pincus LLC has sold 3.6 per cent of its remaining stake in the co. Reports say that the investor sold shares for INR1,400cr through this deal. (thehindubusinessline)

Reliance Gas Transport Infrastructure Ltd – Co. is up for sale and PSU companies GAIL and Oil India have shown interest in buying the co., according to a source. (Economic Times)

IDBI Bank – According to the co. the government has decided to infuse INR 810cr in the bank by way of preferential allotment of shares. (Business Standard/PTI)

Tea Co.’s – According to the Indian Tea Association (ITA), tea production in North India covering Assam and West Bengal for 2012 is set to register a sharp drop due to a prolonged dry spell and rising temperatures across the two States, according to the Indian Tea Association. Data compiled by ITA in respect of its members estimate rainfall deficit for West Bengal to range between 31 and 42 per cent during January-March 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011. (thehindubusiness line)

Infra Co.’s – US Commerce Secretary John Bryson on Monday pitched for U.S. companies to participate in India’s massive private sector-driven push in building infrastructure. However he also warned on the high import tariffs that could hurt long-term ties. (Reuters)

Tata Motors – Co.’s subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) yesterday said it has raised GBP 500mn through issue of bonds. (Business Standard/PTI)

Tata Metaliks – Co. yesterday said its board had approved an issue of preference shares worth INR 100cr to its promoter Tata Steel.  (Economic Times/PTI)

EIH Associated Hotels – Shares in co. rose 11 per cent to INR 174.10 on the back of the co.’s proposal of a rights issue as well as merging of the co.’s wholly owned subsidiary Island Hotel Maharaja Ltd with itself. (Money Control)

JSW Steel – Co. yesterday said one of its promoters, JSW Investments, has increased stake in the company to 3.70 per cent by purchasing shares worth INR 1.69cr. (Economic Times/PTI)

Gammon Infrastructure Projects – Co. has bagged a contract from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for four-laning a national highway in Haryana at an estimated cost of INR 934.93cr. (Business Standard/PTI)

Kingfisher – Co. made a tax payment of INR 44cr to the Income Tax Dept. In other news ICICI Bank has sent a loan recall notice to the company asking it to repay the loan or top up the share collateral. The Bank has an exposure of INR 600cr, out of which, INR 170cr is equity and the INR 430cr is debt. In other news the civil aviation minister Ajit Singh issued a warning to the co. saying that the company should pay all its dues to airports and oil companies in order to avoid stoppage of services and fuel. In related news co. owed over INR 5,600cr to public sector banks as on February this year, according to the government. (CNBC TV18/Economic Times/NDTV/PTI)

EUROPE

ECB President, Mr. Mario Draghi, in his speech stated that economy is stabilizing in the troubled Euro zone. He cited that improved lending activities by banks to the financial markets could stabilize the region.  European banks have issued about EUR 70 bn of senior unsecured debt this year, which was above the amount which was issued in 2HY10. (Reuters)

Germany has backed down from its resistance to boosting Europe’s financial firewalls, after Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was open to temporarily boosting the eurozone’s bailout funds to EUR 700bn. But the move still falls short of what may be needed to protect Italy and Spain from collapse. In other news Angela Merkel said that it would be “catastrophic” to allow Greece to leave the eurozone because of its debt problems. (Telegraph/boston.com /AP)

According to ECB’s Christian Noyer, it may not be easy to return to the policies that existed before the financial and debt crises and it was crucial to remain focused on price stability. (Economic Times/Reuters)

Germany’s Ifo index rose in March to 109.8 vs. prev. 109.6, beating the consensus forecast for no change and confounding some expectations of a weaker figure after disappointing economic surveys last week. (Reuters)

HSBC – Co. said it was in talks over a possible sale of its Mauritius retail banking and wealth management division, as the co. sells non-core assets to boost investor returns. (Reuters)

Tullow Oil Plc – Co. discovered oil in the northern part of the country and will undertake further steps to ascertain commercial viability of the well. (Reuters)

RBS – the UK government is in advanced talks to sell a significant stake in the Royal Co. to Abu Dhabi. (BBC)

Royal Mail – UK state-owned postal operator, Royal Mail, is set to launch an IPO by 2013, depending on market conditions. Analysts estimate that the company is valued at GBP 3-4 bn.  The UK Government initially plans a partial sell-off of the company with a complete divestment not ruled out.  The European Commission’s approval of the UK Government taking over Royal Mail’s GBP 9.5 bn pension deficit reduced approximately GBP 1 bn of its GBP 1.7bn debt. (Financial Times)

 NORTH AMERICA

Ben Bernanke, in his speech on Monday stated that labor markets remained weak and that the US Fed could still conduct further quantitative easing if required. For the labor markets to pick up, Mr. Bernanke stated that the economy would still have to grow at a faster rate to create jobs through expansion of production and an increase in demand from consumers and corporations. The decline in US unemployment rate from 9.1 percent to 8.3 percent over the past six months could be stated as a one-off bounce back from the massive layoff witnessed during 2008 and 2009. The April FOMC meeting could reveal the Fed’s policies in terms of whether it plans to continue “operation twist” – buying long-dated Treasury’s and selling short dated ones to keep interest rates low,  or to conduct a third round of asset purchases or QE3. (Financial Times, CNBC)

Schlumberger Ltd – Co. was downbeat on this profits as it said that downward pricing pressure for hydraulic fracturing services, which had now reached North American liquids basins as well. (Reuters)

Anadarko Petroleum Corp – Co. plans to drill six to eight exploration and appraisal wells in the Gulf of Mexico this year, a plan that marks a full recovery from disruption stemming from the government’s 2010 drilling moratorium. (Reuters)

According to a report by Morgan Stanley and consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, investment banks, collectively, are set to reduce their balance sheets by USD 1 tn on account of higher funding costs and increased regulatory pressure to maintain adequate capital. Some of the measures undertaken by the banks include reduction in risk weighted assets by USD 900 bn and USD 10-12 bn in other costs.  (Financial Times)

 Economic Activity

Argentina’s 4Q GDP rises by 7.3 percent on a Y-o-Y basis beating economists’ forecast of 7 percent.  4Q GDP was also up 0.8 percent on a Q-o-Q basis according to data from Argentina’s national statistics agency, Indec. During 2011, the Argentinean economy expanded 8.9 percent, down from 9.2 percent a year before. Argentina’s central bank has forecasted a GDP growth for 2012 at 6 percent even though many economists are less optimistic. (MarketWatch)

German IFO – Business Climate (Mar) at 109.8 vs 109.7 (Previous).

United States Pending Home Sales (MoM) (Feb) data at -0.50 per cent vs 2.0 per cent (Previous)

UP & COMING

INDIA

BRICS Summit in New Delhi, India on 29th March, 2012

NORTH AMERICA

U.S. Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Ben Bernanke, are scheduled to speak on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and the New York Fed President William Dudley will testify in Congress on Tuesday.

LATIN AMERICA

Argentina 4Q11 GDP numbers on 26th March, 2012. Estimate of 7.0 percent, based on a survey by Dow Jones Newswires.

EUROPE

FY 2011 Results of Finmeccanica SpA (FNC: Milan Stock Exchange), a state-controlled defense and industrial conglomerate, on Tuesday. Estimates suggest a loss of EUR 2.3 bn which on account of management problems, corruption scandals and writedown on goodwill and future contracts.

UK’s Nationwide Housing Prices data for February on a Y-o-Y basis is expected on 26th March 2012.

German IFO Business Climate data for March is expected on 26th March 2012.

Speech by the European Central Bank’s President, Mr. Mario Draghi, at the annual reception of private banks organized by the Association of German Banks in Berlin, Germany.

(Source: FXStreet/FT/NASDAQ)

WEEKEND NEWS COVERAGE

ASIA

China’s external total debt reached USD 695 billion last year, highest in 27 years. The external debt rose by US 146 billion, or nearly 27 per cent from 2010, according data released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. (PTI/Business Standard)

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec Corp) – The Company’s Q4 2011 profit declined by 30 percent on account of losses in its refining operations, which offset the gains of the company’s upstream operations. 4Q11 revenues stood at CNY 10.3 bn (USD 1.63bn), lesser than estimated forecasts of CNY 15.21 bn. Sinopec refining operations were affected on account of rising crude prices in China which failed to match international crude prices. (Economic Times)

China Construction Bank Corp – The Company’s fourth quarter profits increased by 24 percent on an increase in its lending activities and income from fees. The bank’s net income stood at CNY 30.2 bn (USD 4.8 bn) from CNY 24.4 bn (Previous) as on 31st December 2011. (Bloomberg)

According to Brazilian Trade Minister Fernando, major emerging market economies will look closer at creating a joint development bank to coordinate their financial power as the world economy falters. (Business Standard/Reuters)

INDIA

Industry body ASSOCHAM has stated that India’s trade deficit could rise from USD 130 bn to USD 428 bn by 2015-16 on account of rising gold and crude oil imports. Apart from curtailing imports of crude and gold, the association states that the country needs to increase manufacturing output to boost exports, which could touch USD 430 bn by 2015-16. (PTI/NDTV Profit)

According to PM Manmohan Singh the government had initiated gas pricing policy reforms to incentivize production of natural gas.  (ET)

According to Kaushik Basu a key advisor to the government, there was yet no need for the RBI to intervene in the foreign exchange market despite the rupee dropping to a two month low. (Economic Times)

The government approved the award of 16 of the 33 oil and gas blocks that were bid for in the ninth round of New Exploration Licensing Policy, according to the Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy. (PTI/ET)

According to an IEA executive, India could yet be exempted from tighter U.S. sanctions on buyers of Iranian crude. However the decision might depend on the quantity of crude India purchases in its fiscal year beginning April. (Economic Times/Reuters)

Foreign Institutional Investors or FII’s infused INR 1982 crore (USD 387 mn) in the Indian equity markets last week which takes the tally on a year-to-date basis to INR 44686.4 crore (USD 8992 mn). FII’s have also invested about INR 23,366.30 crore (USD 4,566.30 m) in debt markets. (Economic Times)

The RBI and the Finance Ministry could finalize the government’s market borrowing plan for the April-September period for FY 2013 on 27th March. As per the Union Budget’s proposals, the net market borrowings for FY 2012-13 would be at INR 4.79 lakh crore (INR 4.36 lakh crore, Previous). (NDTV Profit)

An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), along with Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, will undertake a meeting on 26th March to make a decision on permitting exports of an additional one m tonnes of sugar for the 2011-12 marketing year. This meeting comes on the back surplus production which exceeded domestic consumption in India. An estimate by cane commissioners of all sugar producing states has revised sugar output for 2011-12 from an earlier projection of 24.6 m tonnes to about 25.2 m tonnes. (NDTV Profit)

Tata Communications – Co. has raised its stakes in the GBP 1-billion battle for Britain’s Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW), ahead of the bid deadline this week. According to the report, Tata Communications has amassed a $2 billion (1.26 billion pounds) war chest as it prepares to go head to head with Vodafone for the troubled CWW. (BS/PTI)

LIC – Co. saw a decline in the premium collection by 14 per cent since April 2011, while policy issuance shrank to 10 per cent during the same period. However the industry growth average stands at 24.03 per cent. (Business Standard)

GAIL – According to Chairman B.C. Tripathi, the co. is likely to sign a three-year deal within three months to buy up to 2 million tonnes of LNG annually. (Reuters)

Reliance Industries Ltd – is likely to sell coal bed methane at a price of at least USD 10 a unit. Co. will produce 3.5 million metric standard cubic metres a day of methane gas from its blocks in Madhya Pradesh. However the state government has written to the oil ministry expressing concerns about the centre’s move to indirectly regulate CBM prices as this could hurt the state’s revenue. (ET)

Kingfisher Airlines – Vijay Mallya has assured authorities that he will make an announcement crucial to its future on 27 March, according to a senior government officer. In other news more banks have refused the co. fresh loans, as the co, scrambles to meet its immediate need of INR 2500cr for its working capital needs. In other news Co. has agreed to pay only up to INR 10cr of its INR 76cr service tax dues this fiscal, according to a top governmental officer .(Economic Times/ Business Standard/thehindubusinessline)

Essar Energy – Co. is looking to process more heavy crude from South America once the expansion of its refinery in India is completed later this year. This will reduce its overall proportion of Iranian crude intake, according to co. personnel. (Reuters)

Goldman Sachs has upgraded its rating on Indian stocks to ‘market weight’ from ‘under weight’ citing abatement of European credit crisis, on the back of possible revival in economic growth in the second half of FY 2012 and attractive valuations. The bank maintained as cautious tone in terms of higher crude oil prices and foreign fund outflows. But the bank also said that improving domestic economy could offset the impact of the external factors. (Economic Times)

State-owned oil firms – According to Indian Oil Corp.’s chairman R S Butola, the state-owned oil firms are losing INR 7.72 per litre on selling petrol as they have not been able to revise prices despite 23 per cent jump in international rates.  (PTI/Economic Times)

BSNL – The Company’s cash reserves declined from INR 30,000 in FY 2010 crore to INR 2500 crore in FY 2011 on account of significant outlays towards the 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum auction price and LIC for the company’s group encashment leave, among others. BSNL also had outstanding dues of INR 5,231 crore from customers as on November 30, 2011. A report by a government panel has recommended a 30 per cent divestment in the company and voluntary retirement for 100,000 employees, among others, to restructure the company. (PTI/NDTV Profit)

Maruti Suzuki India – Co. has imposed an average hike of 1.75 percent on its vehicles upto INR 17,000 on account of an excise duty hike enforced on the auto sector by the government during the Union Budget 2012. The company also plans to invest INR 2,600 crore to set up a new diesel plant in Gurgaon by 2013 and also to develop its R&D center in Rohtak by 2014.(NDTV Profit)

UCO /Allahabad Bank – Co.’s shareholders have approved capital infusion from the government and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) at the general meeting of the bank in Kolkata. UCO bank would issue 31.37 million equity shares to LIC for nearly INR 259 crore at an issue price of INR 82.49 per equity share. At present, LIC holds 9.89 per cent of the bank’s capital at present. (BS)

EUROPE

Greece has extended its 4 April deadline to 11 April for its creditors to swap EUR 8.1 billion in debt issued under foreign law. (Economic Times/AFP)

The Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed concern about Spain’s public finances on Saturday and said it would not take much to reignite the euro zone debt crisis and revive the risk of it spreading to Italy. (Reuters)

Royal Dutch Shell – Co. is struggling to pay off USD 1 billion that it owes Iran for crude oil because European Union and U.S. financial sanctions now make it almost impossible to process payments, industry sources said. (Reuters)

Astra Zeneca – A U.S. District Judge has denied the request for an injunction against the barring of the generic forms of its drug Seroquel. (REUTERS)

NORTH AMERICA

According to Ben Bernanke, the US economy still lacks enough spending and investment to sustain its recent gains. He also said that the US consumer demand remains weak relative to its level before the Great Recession and also the other contributors to economic growth – including borrowing and trade – have declined. In other news FED is still working out how best to supervise large financial institutions, whose failures could affect the financial system, according to Fed’s Bernanke. (Economic Times/Reuters)

Morgan Stanley/Citigroup – Morgan Stanley is interested in buying Citigroup Inc’s entire stake in their wealth management joint venture this year, which is roughly around USD 10bn, according to people familiar with Morgan Stanley management’s thinking. Citigroup management has also expressed interest in exiting the business sooner than outlined under terms of the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney venture the two parties entered in 2009, according to a Nomura analyst Glenn Schorr. (Business Standard/Reuters)

Hewlett Packard – Co authorized a 10 per cent increase in its quarterly dividend, which the company expects to declare in May. (Bloomberg)

Bats Global Markets Inc. – Co. which is an operator of a stock exchange, withdrew its IPO by citing ‘system errors’ which caused a massive drop in its share price from USD 16 a share to USD 0.02 cents. Apple’s (AAPL) stock, which traded on BATS’s exchange, was also affected due to the error as single trading order of100 shares triggered a circuit breaker that paused trading in its shares at USD 542.80. (Bloomberg/ Forbes & Reuters)

General Motors – The auto major is in plans to shift a majority of its production centers to low-cost countries which include Poland, China, India, Russia, Mexico and Brazil. The company expects to export approximately 300,000 additional vehicles from its factories in Mexico, Korea and China to the European markets. (Bloomberg)

COMMODITY

According to IEA head there is no need to release oil from strategic reserves as yet, as Saudi Arabia will be able to pump enough oil to compensate for any loss of Iranian output caused by Western sanctions. (Reuters)

ECONOMIC DATA – 23 MARCH 2012

UNITED KINGDOM

BBA Mortgage Approvals (Feb) data at 33.1K vs 38.0K (Jan)

CANADA

Consumer Price Index (YoY)  data (Feb) at 2.6 percent vs 2.5 percent (Previous)

Bank of Canada Consumer Price Index Core (MoM) data (Feb) at 0.4 percent vs 0.2 percent (Previous)

Bank of Canada Consumer Price Index Core (YoY) data (Feb) at 2.3 percent vs 2.1 percent (Previous)

Consumer Price Index (MoM) data (Feb) at 0.4 percent vs 0.4 percent (Previous)

UNITED STATES

New Home Sales data (Feb) at 313,000 vs 318,000 (Previous)

(SOURCE: FXSTREET)