Asian markets have recovered from the sharp decline seen in the last three trading days on account of the earthquake in Japan on Friday
The Indian share markets are likely to open on a flat-to-positive note following a recovery in their Asian peers, which were trading mostly in the green in early trade on Wednesday brushing aside negative cues. However, cautiousness prevailed as another fire broke out at a Japanese nuclear power plant, sending low levels of radiation into Tokyo. Wall Street recovered from early losses, but closed in the red, on the Federal Reserve’s view that the US economy was on the recovery path. The SGX Nifty was up 36 points at 5,499 compared to its previous close of 5,463.
The local market opened with a sharp downward gap on Tuesday after Asian stocks were routed over the nuclear mess in Japan. At one point, Japanese stocks were down almost 14% and Hong Kong was down around 5%. But within half an hour of a weak opening, Indian stocks started moving up. From the low of the day of 17,921 and 5,374, the Sensex and Nifty rose all the way to 18,326 and 5,498.
However, in the late afternoon session, after the European markets went into a sharp decline and Dow futures was quoting down 250 points, Indian markets turned weak again. Indeed, given the rout that all markets around the world have suffered, the Sensex and Nifty have shown remarkable resilience. If the market does not break the recent lows, there is a chance it will move up. An upmove (or down move) of a large proportion (5-8%) is coming.
The US markets recovered from early losses after the Federal Open Market Committee asserted that the economic recovery was on a “firm footing”, adding that the labour market is also improving. Early losses came on news that Saudi Arabian troops moved into Bahrain with a regional force in the first cross-border intervention since uprisings swept through parts of the region.
The Dow declined 137.74 points (1.15%) to close at 11,855.42. The S&P 500 Index fell by 14.52 points (1.12%) at 1,281.87. The benchmark index fell more than 2% in early trading. The Nasdaq was down 33.64 points (1.25%) to settle at 2,667.33.
Markets in Asia were mostly in the green in early trade on Wednesday on hopes that Japan will recover from the disaster sooner-than-expected. Tokyo’s Nikkei share index rose more than 6% in early trade, recapturing about half of its heavy loss suffered the previous day. However, worries about corporate earnings outlook in the aftermath of the earthquake weighed on investors’ minds.
The Shanghai Composite rose 0.27%, the KLSE Composite gained 0.14%, the Nikkei 225 surged 4.37%, the Straits Times was up 0.37%, the Seoul Composite advanced 1.08% and the Taiwan Weighted was up 0.37%. However, the Hang Seng was 0.32% lower and the Jakarta Composite fell by 0.25% in early trade.
Back home, state-owned oil firms have hiked jet fuel prices by a massive 6%, the 11th rate increase in six months. The hike comes on the back of three consecutive massive hikes effected since February this year, when crude oil spiked to over $100 per barrel.
Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) rates in Delhi have been hiked by Rs3,377.09 per kilolitre (kl), or 6.14%, to Rs58,310.45 per kl with effect from 16th March, an official of Indian Oil Corporation, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, said.
Jet fuel will cost Rs59 031.39 per kl in Mumbai, home to the nation’s busiest airport, as against Rs55,500.06 per kl currently.
The hike is expected to hit airline stocks as fuel cost accounts for 40% of the airlines’ operating cost.
People are complaining that despite repeated attempts, tatkal tickets cannot be booked on the website
Even as public outrage is perceptible, the Railways appears to be cocooned in a bubble. Despite regular complaints over the booking of tatkal tickets on the website of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), nothing has been done to resolve this issue.
Moneylife recently reported how the Indian Railways is hoarding seats through the tatkal scheme, depriving passengers who try to book tickets well in advance. Comments are coming in about how the tatkal system is manipulated. (Read,
'Increased allocation under tatkal deprives regular rail travellers of confirmed seats', )
People are complaining that it is nearly impossible to book a tatkal ticket during the specific allotted time. The site does not respond in the stipulated time and by the time it does, the tickets are already sold out. Under the tatkal scheme, bookings open at 8am, two days before the actual date of the journey.
Moneylife has consistently maintained that the current tatkal system is being gamed by touts and agents and that all the seats vanish, no sooner the tatkal reservation window is opened. Therefore, travellers are unable to book tickets on their own and they have to depend on agents who charge higher rates and a commission.
In one of our earlier articles we had also written about how the travel website makemytrip.com had advertised that it is the 'fastest' channel to book tatkal tickets, even as IRCTC's website provides the same facility. (Read, 'Can makemytrip.com make its customer's day?')
According to Dipak Gandhi, chairman, Mumbai Suburban Railway Passengers' Association, "Tatkal is nothing but official black-marketing by the Railways. The website is not accessible as railway officials are hand-in-glove with agents who book all the tickets and then charge more from the public for the same ticket."
"There is some scandal going on for tatkal online booking. This is experienced and echoed by all," says a reader. "When one tries to book a tatkal ticket through IRCTC, it allows to book only from 8 am onwards. So one waits for the exact time and the moment you try to book, the site will not respond. All your attempts will fail till around 20 minutes, by which time all tatkal tickets are gone, and only then are you able to access it, and you only get waitlisted tickets."
Consumer discussion forums on the internet are flooded with complaints against the tatkal system. People are either unable to access their account despite using the correct username and password, or they are simply unable to access the website during the given time.
Rajaram Bojji, former managing director of the Konkan Railway and inventor of the anti-collision device, in his reply to Moneylife about the tatkal mess, said, "Those in the Railways must have found an indirect route to realise higher revenues without increasing the fares over the last seven years, simply by increasing the quota under tatkal. Reasonable I feel, because the fares of passenger tickets were kept the same with a proud announcement by each political master."
Mr Gandhi, explained, "On one side they create artificial scarcity and on the other hand charge extra money for tatkal. The number of coaches allocated for tatkal is taken from the original available coaches of general quota, which is why people cannot get their confirmation of the wait-listed ticket."
Moneylife is in the process of finding out more about the trains on which more seats are allocated to tatkal than for the general quota. Rakesh Agrawal, a reader, informs us about one more train, the Pune-Lucknow Express, where tatkal gets preference. For the train service on 15 April 2011, 216 seats are currently allotted to tatkal, whereas there is already a waiting list of 274 seats in the general quota.
Meanwhile, an e-mail has been sent to IRCTC asking whether officials are aware about the complaints by people, who are unable to book tickets under the tatkal scheme, and if anything is being done to resolve the issues. While there has been no reply to the questions till the time of writing this report, we did receive an automated reply that stated, "Your ticket has been assigned an ID of [IRCTC #1919526]."
The Enforcement Directorate has sought the help of foreign authorities to track the source of the money in at least six countries. It added that some hawala operators were also involved in the 2G scam
New Delhi: Thirty one firms have come under the scrutiny of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which told the Supreme Court today that multi-crore foreign transactions relating to the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam have been traced to at least six countries, reports PTI.
The agency placed its latest status report of its investigation in the scam in a sealed envelop before a bench comprising justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly in which it has mentioned that it is seeking the help of foreign authorities in tracking the source of money.
Senior Advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for ED, said that that Letters Rogatory (LRs) have been sent to Singapore, Cyprus, Jersey and Virgin Islands in connection with the 2G spectrum scam. Similar communications were being sent to two more countries.
He said that 31 companies have so far been summoned and statements of 26 companies have been recorded.
He said that some hawala operators were also involved in the scam and their premises were raided and they were questioned by the ED.