The reshuffle exercise, second in six months, was finalised at a meeting the prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi this morning. The rejig, which is expected to place at 5pm on Tuesday, may leave untouched the 'big four'-finance, home, defence and external affairs
New Delhi: Prime minister Manmohan Singh will undertake a reshuffle of the Union council of ministers on Tuesday inducting some new faces and elevating some in the exercise that may also see a few being dropped, reports PTI.
Trinamool Congress chief whip in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandhopadhyay is set to be inducted as a minister of state while his party colleague and minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi is tipped to be promoted to cabinet rank and shifted to the railway ministry.
The railway portfolio became vacant after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee resigned and took over as chief minister of West Bengal after the assembly elections in May.
The reshuffle exercise, second in six months, was finalised at a meeting the prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi this morning. This was their fourth meeting in recent days.
The reshuffle, which is expected to place at 5pm, may leave untouched the 'big four'-finance, home, defence and external affairs.
With Uttar Pradesh set to go to assembly polls next year, minister of state for steel with independent charge Beni Prasad Verma is likely to be promoted as a cabinet minister while Raj Babbar, MP from Agra, may find a berth.
Those speculated for promotions include Jyotiraditya Scindia (MoS telecom) and Gurudas Kamat (MoS home) and shifted to some other ministries with independent charge.
The resignation of textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran in the wake of his being named in the 2G (second generation) spectrum scam and the resignation offer by corporate affairs minister Murli Deora has lent urgency to the reshuffle.
Another DMK representative A Raja quit as telecom minister in connection with the 2G scam in November and the party appears to be in no mood to fill these vacancies with its candidates, at least for the time being.
Among others being talked about for promotion is minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Srikant Jena, who was a cabinet minister in the United Front government in the mid-1990s.
Those who may make the exit include minister for development of the north east region BK Handique whose place may be taken by Pabansingh Ghatowar, MP from Dibrugarh in Assam.
Tribal affairs minister Kanti Lal Bhuria, who has been made Madhya Pradesh Congress president, may be asked to take up party work full time.
There is expectation that Andhra Pradesh, which has only one representative in the Cabinet, could see more MPs getting into the ministry. Chhattisgarh, Goa and Manipur, which have no representation, may also get some ministerial berths.
Nifty may get support at 5,525
Weak global cues, nervousness ahead of the earnings season and an institutional sell-off were seen as the major reasons for the market decline today, the second consecutive day that it has declined.
The market opened lower this morning as worries over global growth resurfaced today. A slowdown in jobs growth in the US and a steep rise in Chinese inflation to 6.4% for the month of June pulled markets across Asia lower on Monday. The Nifty opened 13 points lower at 5,648 and the Sensex fell by 35 points from its previous close to resume at 18,828. Sectors like metals, banking, auto and realty were under selling pressure in early trade.
Trading in negative terrain, the indices touched their day's highs in the initial session with the Nifty rising to 5,653 and the Sensex up at 18,844. The market continued to move sideways as caution ahead of the quarterly earnings season prevailed.
A half-hearted recovery attempt in noon trade, was met by resistance from sellers, which pushed the market to its intra-day low in the last half hour. At the day's low, the Nifty fell 59 points to 5,602 and the Sensex erased 179 points at 18,679. However, the market finished above the day's low. The Nifty ended down 45 points at 5,616 and the Sensex closed trade at 18,721, down 137 points from its previous close.
This is the second straight day that the market has fallen, washing out all the gains made on 7th July, when the market touched a two-month high. But the Nifty's intra-day high was above the level of first resistance of 5,600.
The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was a poor 534:847.
Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.31% and the BSE Small-cap index fell by 0.42%.
BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.52%), BSE Consumer Durables (up 0.50%) and BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.13%) were the sectoral gainers today. The rest ended lower with the BSE Realty (down 2.54%) leading the losers. It was followed by BSE IT (down 1.73%), BSE TECk (down 1.58%), BSE Metal (down 1.54%) and BSE Bankex (down 1.39%).
ONGC (up 1.59%), Mahindra & Mahindra (up 1.13%), ITC (up 1.12%), Reliance Communications (up 0.72%) and Sterlite Industries (up 0.28%) were the top Sensex gainers. The major losers on the index were Hindalco Industries (down 4.41%), DLF (down 3.25%), Wipro (down 2.28%), Infosys (down 1.98%) and Jaiprakash Associates (down 1.95%).
The main Nifty gainers were ONGC (up 1.57%), M&M (up 1.31%), ITC (up 1.17%), Grasim (up 1.07%) and Sesa Goa (up 0.73%). The top laggards on the index were Hindalco (down 4.17%), DLF (down 3.52%), Axis Bank (down 3.24%), Wipro (down 3.12%) and SAIL (down 3.11%).
Markets across Asia, with the exception of the Shanghai Composite, settled lower on concerns over the slowdown in global economic growth. The fears were fuelled on weak US employment numbers and a steep rise in China's inflation data for June. While Chinese stocks were marginally up today, premier Wen Jiabao reiterated that curbing inflation remained the government's top priority.
The Hang Seng tanked 1.67%, the Jakarta Composite fell 0.20%, the KLSE Composite declined 0.39%, the Nikkei 225 settled 0.67% lower, the Straits Times slipped 1.08%, the Seoul Composite skidded 1.06% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.96%, On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite added 0.18%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs517.33 crore on Friday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs389.71 crore.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals today said it has received Rs110 crore from Sanofi, as the second tranche of outlicensing fees for a deal with the French drug major, taking the total upfront receipts to about Rs220 crore.
In May, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indian pharma major had outlicensed to Sanofi its monoclonal antibody, GBR 500, which is used for treatment of digestive disorders. The deal has a potential to generate revenue of as much as $613 million (around Rs2,720 crore). Glenmark fell 1.27% to close trade at Rs306 on the NSE today.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has issued a closure notice to Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals' Chennai-based manufacturing facility for non-compliance on the disposal of solid waste. However, the company informed the stock exchanges that it is in active dialogue with the state pollution board officials to resolve the issues and bring the plant to a fully operational stage at the earliest. Orchid Chemicals ended 0.10% lower at Rs248.40 on the NSE.
Public sector lender Bank of Baroda (BoB) is planning to open 10 to 12 overseas branches in the current fiscal. This will take its branches and office network abroad to around 100 by March 2012. The bank plans to open new branches in countries like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Botswana. Among other international plans, it will be opening a joint venture company in Malaysia and is set to bag a licence in Australia. The Bank of Baroda stock was down 2.20% at Rs876 on the NSE today.
Stock of scam-tainted company gains 30% in five days; has doubled in value from a low of Rs47.35 in May
Money Matters Financial Services Limited has seen an astonishing more than 100% jump in its stock price since May 2011 when it touched its lowest level this year, following the loans-for-kickbacks scam involving LIC Housing Finance scam that broke in November last year. While the reason for the gain is not known, the stock price continues to go from strength to strength. Market sources say that there is no apparent reason for the sudden surge, except probably that the company is confident about burying the bribery scandal.
The rise in the Money Matters stock began in May and it has shot up higher since the chairman of LIC Mr TS Vijayan was cleared on 4th July. The Money Matters stock gained more than 10% today to close at Rs96.10, up over 30% from its close of Rs73 on 4th July.
While LIC Housing Finance, which suffered the maximum after the scam, has shown a slow recovery of 4% since the crash in November, Money Matters is suddenly galloping at a stunning pace. On 23rd November, the Money Matters stock closed at Rs663.90, while LIC Housing Finance closed at Rs261.63. The next day, when the scam broke, the stocks suffered heavily, and Money Matters fell to Rs531.2 and LIC Housing Finance to Rs213.71.
It was downhill for both stocks after that. LIC Housing recorded its lowest level on 17th January at Rs151.75, while Money Matters plunged to Rs47.85 on 18th May. However, it has started to recover mysteriously since then.
Money Matters, however, refused to say anything about this sudden gain. "Ours is a listed company," a company spokesperson said. "There are a lot of factors that push stock prices up or down. It is difficult to pinpoint any one particular reason. All information is available in the public domain and we cannot add anything to that."
The otherwise little-known Money Matters Financial Services shot into the limelight in November last year, when its managing director and chairman Rajesh Sharma and other senior officials were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly bribing bank officials to sanction huge loans to housing firms, bypassing rules and regulations.
Some big names from the banking world were also dragged into the controversy. Among Money Matters clients were entities like DB Realty, Hindustan Construction Company, Suzlon Energy and Vatika, all of whom distanced themselves after the scam broke.
Ramchandra Nair, CEO, LIC Housing Finance, Naresh Chopra, secretary (investment) LIC, RN Tayal, general manager of Bank of India (Delhi), Maninder Singh Johar, director, Central Bank of India, and Venkoba Gujjal, deputy general manager, Punjab National Bank (Delhi), were also arrested in the scam. While they were released on bail later, the Bombay High Court refused bail to Mr Sharma earlier this year, saying that he was the 'kingpin' in the multi-crore kickbacks-for-loans scam.
Asked whether the air has been cleared about the controversy and whether some confidence-building exercise has boost the company's stock price, Money Matters was again evasive. "The company definitely does what it is supposed to do and we have taken a few initiatives, but we cannot comment on this. As insiders, we cannot give anyone any information," the spokesperson said.
In the 2010-2011 annual report, Rajesh Sharma had said about the CBI investigation, "We believe this to be the hand work of some of our rivals who wished to curtail our speed of progress. We have denied all the charges and are sure that our officials will prove their innocence. We would not like to offer any explanation here as the matter is sub-judice. However I would only like to add that there has been no case against the company for any sort of wrong doing and there are no restrictions on the functioning of the company."
Commenting on the Money Matters stock movement, an analyst said, "The stock is showing a sturdy recovery. It is difficult to comment further on this, since no information is available publicly about this. But since the controversy hasn't settled down, we would ask the investors to be cautious."