Companies & Sectors
Punita Kumari Sinha, wife of MoS (Finance) Jayant Sinha, appointed Infosys director
Bengaluru : Global software major Infosys Ltd on Thursday appointed noted investment manager Punita Kumar Sinha, wife of union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, as an independent director on its board.
 
In a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the IT bellwether said Punita Kumar Sinha was appointed as an independent director with effect from Thursday.
 
Her appointment comes in place of Carol M Browner, who resigned as a board member on November 2015.
 
In a brief profile in the filing, the company, however, did not mention that Punita's husband is a minister in the the central government.
 
Sinha is the son of former finance and external affairs minister Yeshwant Sinha in the previous NDA government (1999-2004) and Punita Sinha is former senior managing director at The Blackstone Group.
 
The news about the appointment came on one line on page four of the seven-page press release on its third quarterly results under "Board Changes" and had no detail about her.
 
Punita Sinha is also a founder and managing partner of Pacific Paradigm Advisors, an independent investment advisory and management firm, focussed on Asia.
 
Her appointment and its announcement without details came under flak in the social media, as she is a wife of a union minister with an important portfolio (finance).
 
Congress MP Rajeev Shankarrao Satav tweeted: "Infosys Appoints Punita Sinha, Wife of Jayant Sinha, as Director. Clear case of #Nepotism?"
 
"Her Husband has a Day Job 'Union Minister of State, Finance' and She is privy to Govt's Financial Policies," said user Pankaj Tiwari.
 
Besides Punita, outgoing independent director Jeffrey S Lehman was re-appointed for a two-year term from April 14, 2016.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

PPM

1 year ago

I don't think she bring-in any value to INFY and the appointment may be due to pressure from the Minister.

5 Worst-performing Sectors of the Past Year
Low commodity prices weigh in on many sectors
 
The last one year has been challenging for equities in India. The benchmark Sensex has declined by around 7% to around 24,934 on 8 January 2016 from a level of around 26,900 on 7 January 2015. However, times have been far more difficult for a few sectors.
 
The worst performing sectors over the last one year have been steel, oil and gas, non-ferrous metals, construction and infrastructure, and banks. These sectors have destroyed shareholders wealth to about Rs4.27 lakh crore over the past one year. Low commodity prices have weighed in on steel, oil and gas and non-ferrous metals sector. 
 
 
Steel has been the worst performing sector with it declining by a whopping 39% during the past one year. The sector has been facing headwinds because of fall in global steel prices and cheap imports from China. Steel industry's woes are compounded by the fact it is excessively leveraged with a debt of around Rs1.96 lakh crore. When the times are challenging, debt pinches a lot more to shareholders as the bottom line is greatly affected by interest costs. Steel, as a sector, has high operating and financial costs leading to huge decline in shareholders wealth during tough times. Tata Steel, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and JSW Steel are the three major steel companies in India. Tata Steel and SAIL have performed very badly, while JSW Steel's market capitalisation has remained stable during the period. 
 
With drastic decline in crude oil prices over the last year, oil and gas exploration sector has been another major laggard. State run oil major Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) has lost an around Rs92,000 crore of market capitalisation. Private upstream oil company Cairn India has also performed extremely badly during the year. 
 
Non-ferrous metals are another sector that has not performed well over the past one year, having declined by 24%. Aluminium major Hindalco led the fall with its market capitalisation nearly reducing by half to Rs14,900 crore. The company is laden with a huge debt burden. Other major companies, which contributed to the fall are Hindustan Zinc, National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO) and Hindustan Copper. 
 
Infrastructure sector's woes continued in 2015 with the sector losing 14% of market cap. Infrastructure company Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), whose stock price has been under tremendous pressure since past six months has led the decline. The scrip has lost nearly Rs30,000 crore of market cap during the last one year. Another major contributor to the decline in absolute market cap is Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd, which has lost around Rs16,466 crore of market cap. 
 
Though the fall in banking sector is lower at 12%, the decline in terms of absolute market capitalisation is the highest for this sector at Rs1.47 lakh crore. The fall in benchmark rates by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) during the last one year seems to have failed to cheer this sector. One of the main reasons for this below average performance is concerns on the non-performing assets (NPAs) front. The highest decline in terms of absolute market capitalisation has come from state-run major State Bank of India (SBI) and private sector lender ICICI Bank. Among others, HDFC Bank and Kotak Bank have performed well during this period. The banking sector along with software, contribute the most to the market cap of India's bourses.

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Nifty, Sensex close to a short-term rally – Thursday closing report
Chances of a rally will be bright if the Nifty closes above 7,600
 
We had mentioned that Nifty, Sensex were on track for more gains as long it closes above 7,600. Unfortunately, the market failed to close above 7,600 and was whacked at the open by a huge decline in US markets and Asia. Amidst thin volumes of trading, the major indices in the Indian stock markets fought back and closed the day with small losses. The trends of the major indices during the course of Thursday’s trading are given in the table below:
 
Diminishing hopes of an interest rate cut, coupled with caution over the third quarter results and thin volumes depressed the Indian equity markets during a volatile late-afternoon trade session on Thursday. The bellwether indices' receded after making healthy gains as key macro-data showed acceleration in inflation trends. The rise in wholesale price index (WPI) diminished hopes of a rate cut by the country's apex bank and subdued investors' sentiments. Caution over the third quarter (Q3) results season, long-liquidation positions and sliding Asian markets, too, dented sentiments. Initially, the bellwether indices opened deep in the red, following lower closing of the US markets on Wednesday and a further plunge in oil prices. However, both indices pared their initial losses as healthy Q3 results, recovering European markets and short-covering restored investors' risk-taking appetite. Value buying at lower levels, which was prompted by attractive prices, supported the markets' upward movement.
 
Contrary to market trends, the government sector bank SBI (State Bank of India) is moving into wealth management for its customers. The SBI on Thursday formally launched its first exclusive start-up bank branch SBI InCube and wealth management services SBI Exclusif. "Introducing wealth management has been one of the bank's top strategic priorities, as we have a number of High Net worth Individuals (HNI)," the bank's chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said. SBI Exclusif will offer a dedicated relationship manager who will take care of all the banking and investment needs of its clientele. "We believe that India today is an aspirational nation, there are a lot of people who are moving up the curve and they are too busy today to actually worry about looking after their wealth as well as wealth creation and generation and maintenance, so we hope to be able to do this job for such people," said Bhattacharya. SBI Exclusif will be served by well experienced relationship managers and investment experts who have undergone extensive training with leading global institutions. The new wealth management offering from the SBI will provide e-Wealth Center which can deliver relationship management services remotely for extended hours and enable customers to transact and invest on digital channels like internet and mobile. Other SBI Exclusif benefits include a special wellness benefit card, top tier credit and debit cards, tax and legacy planning services and cash pickup/delivery services among others. "Many start-ups get funding from abroad but they do not know what are the formalities, they need to do before they can get this funding and utilise it. So we hope to be able to guide them in all of these matters," she said. Run by an assistant general manager (AGM) and a team of three officers, InCube offerings also include a help desk and salary accounts. It will also maintain an e-mail addresses database of start-ups to send a monthly newsletter. SBI shares closed at Rs195.80, down 2.56% on the BSE.
 
A proposal from drugmaker, Cadila to inject foreign equity of Rs5,000 crore towards expansion in India is among the five proposals approved by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its latest meeting, an official statement said on Thursday. Another proposal, again from a global pharmaceuticals company, that was approved is from Sweden-based Recipharm Participation for incorporating a subsidiary in India with an investment of Rs1,050 crore for investing in other companies, the statement added. In October last year, Recipharm had announced that it was entering into an agreement to acquire 74% majority stake in Nitin Lifesciences, an Indian contract manufacturing firm in the sterile injectables business, for Rs671 crore. Almost all the other proposals in areas ranging from financial services to cement did not involve any foreign equity infusion. Cadila Healthcare shares closed at Rs315.40, down 1.41% on the BSE.
 
With food items, notably pulses and onions, continuing to remain dear, India's annual wholesale inflation rate moved up further to (-)0.73% for December, against (-)1.99% for the month before, official data showed on Thursday. This was the fourth straight month of increase in the annual inflation. As per the wholesale price index numbers released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the annual food inflation was steep at 8.17%, while index numbers for fuels and manufactured products were both in the negative -- at (-)9.15% and (-)1.36%, respectively.
 
In the past month, the index for food articles, that is unprocessed items, rose 0.6 percent while the build-up in the first three quarters of the fiscal was 9.39%. For food products, the rise was 0.3% in the past month under review, and 3.12% since April 2015. India's overall retail prices too have been rising. According to the data released two days ago, the annual retail inflation moved up further to 5.61% in December from 5.41% during the month before. The consumer price index numbers also showed that food inflation rose higher -- to 6.4% as against 6.07% in the month before. In rural and urban areas, the annual inflation rates for food items were 6.41% and 6.31%, respectively. As per Thursday's data on wholesale prices, the annual inflation for pulses in general was 55.56%, while for onions it was 25.98%. But with potatoes cheaper by 34.99% over the past year, the annual rise in the overall vegetable index stood moderated to 20.56%.
 
Buoyed by better than expected results and riding on a strong dollar, global software major Infosys Ltd. on Thursday marginally revised its annual guidance for the fiscal 2015-16 in constant currency and on the latest exchange rate. In a regulatory filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the city-based IT bellwether said its consolidated revenue in rupee terms would be 12.8%-13.2% in constant currency and 16.2%-16.6%  on December 31 exchange rate when the US dollar was Rs66.16. Under the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS), the outsourcing major increased the annual guidance to 12.8%-13.2% in constant currency and 8.9%-9.3% on the exchange rates in dollar terms for fiscal 2016. This is the second time in this fiscal (FY 2016), the company revised guidance owing to volatile currency impacting the rupee in the foreign exchange market. On October 10, the company upped its guidance to 13.1%-15.1% from 11.5%-13.5% in rupee terms but lowered to 6.4%-8.4% from 7.2%-9.2% in dollar terms as projected in July due to currency volatility depreciating the rupee. The company also increased the conversion rate again by 0.57 cents to Rs66.16 per dollar from Rs65.59 on September 30 on a stronger greenback.
 
Chinese stocks closed higher on Thursday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 1.97%, at 3,007.65 points. The smaller Shenzhen index rose 3.67% to close at 10,344.94 points, reports Xinhua. The ChiNext Index, which tracks China's NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, jumped 5.59% to close at 2,175.01 points.
 
Tokyo stocks declined at the opening on Thursday as Wall Street's decline overnight compounded a dour market mood resulted from major global bourses losing ground recently. As of 9.15 a.m., the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average plunged 591. 51 points, or 3.34%, from Wednesday to 17,124.12, Xinhua news agency reported. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, tumbled 45.57 points, or 3.16%, to 1,396.52. All categories on the main section retreated, with iron and steel, electric machinery and wholesale trade issues comprising major decliners.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
The closing values of major Asian indices are given in the table below:
 

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