Tuesday’s Market Preview: Cautious opening likely

The local market is likely to witness a cautious opening following tepid cues from the global arena. Wall Street closed mostly lower overnight as investors digested comments made by Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke over the weekend and on concerns that the ongoing European debt crisis will derail the recovery process. The Asian pack was mostly in the red as worries that a weak dollar would impact export-oriented economies in the region. The SGX Nifty was down 3.50 points at 5,988.50 over the previous close of 5,992.

On Monday, the market opened on a firm note on support from its regional peers, which were trading in positive terrain, following assertions by US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke over the weekend that the central bank would buy more bonds, in addition to the amount announced last month, to boost growth. Key benchmarks began their upward journey and touched the day's high around noon. However, investors resorted to profit-booking at higher levels pulling the indices below their psychological levels and ensuring a flat close, for the second day in a row. The Sensex added 14.38 points (0.07%) to close at 19,981.31. The Nifty was 0.55 points (0.01%) lower at 5,992.25.

The US markets ended trade mostly in the red on Monday as investors studied the implications of the comments made by the Fed chief over the weekend outlining plans to boost the economy.  The ongoing European debt crisis also weighed on investors. Germany rejected attempts by Eurozone members to increase the size of a Euro 750 euro ($1 trillion) safety net for debt-stricken members.

The Dow declined 19.90 points (0.17%) at 11,362.19. The S&P 500 shed 1.59 points (0.13%) to 1,223.12. On the other hand, the Nasdaq added 3.46 points (0.13%) to 2,594.92.

Markets in Asia were trading mostly in the red as concerns that a weak dollar will impact export-oriented economies in the region and on a disappointing close by the US indices overnight. Concerns over Chinese anti-inflation measures also kept investors on the sidelines.

The Shanghai Composite tanked 1.50%, the Hang Seng declined 0.54%, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.65%, the Straits Times fell 0.27% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.29%. On the other hand, the Seoul Composite gained 0.22% in early trade. The SGX Nifty was down 3.50 points at 5,988.50 over the previous close of 5,992.

The Philippines has become the call centre capital of the world, overtaking India as the number one player in the global business outsourcing market, according to industry data and the government.

President Benigno Aquino has led celebrations in recent weeks as it has become increasingly clear that the Southeast Asian nation has become the world's dominant player in the outsourced back-office operations industry.

At an opening of an IBM outsourcing centre in Manila last week, Mr Aquino forecast that the industry's revenues would hit $12-$13 billion next year, rising to $100 billion by 2020 for a fifth of global market share.


Panel mulls extension of Bhave as SEBI chief

New Delhi: In a surprise move, incumbent Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chief CB Bhave is being considered for extension in service by a high-level search panel that was set up to find his successor at the market regulator, reports PTI.

Mr Bhave took charge as SEBI chairman on 18 February, 2008 on a three-year term. However, the terms of chairman and whole-time directors at SEBI have been increased to five years since then. Similarly, the terms of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and insurance watchdog Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA) chiefs have also been increased to five years.

Despite this, the government in September this year set up a high-level committee headed by Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar to find a successor to Mr Bhave whose term ends in February 2011.

At that time, it was said that the government did not want to extend Mr Bhave's term to five years in the wake of a public spat between Sebi and IRDA.

The search panel has already conducted initial rounds of interviews. The panel at the last moment deferred the final round that was scheduled to be held on 3rd December.

Sources close to the development said that Mr Bhave's name is now being considered by the panel after some top policy makers asked why Mr Bhave, like other regulators, could not be given a five-year term,

Besides, pull-out by some candidates nominated by the search panel from the process also led to the committee considering giving Mr Bhave a two-year extension, which if given will give the incumbent SEBI chairman time till February 2013.

Sources said there are some procedural problems in giving Mr Bhave a direct two-year extension, as the process has been in place to find his successor and the search panel can not simply ignore already short-listed candidates for the coveted job.

Therefore, the panel in most likelihood would consider Bhave as one more probable candidate for holding the position of SEBI chairman 18 February, 2011 onwards, they added.

The panel is likely to hold its next meeting on 21st December which could be its final meeting and wherein it could decide on the name of next SEBI chief after deliberating on all the short-listed candidates, including Mr Bhave.

Until Mr Bhave's name came up for the panel's consideration, those tipped to be leading the race included mutual fund industry body Association of Mutual Funds in India’s (AMFI) chairman, UK Sinha, and corporate affairs secretary R Badyopadhyay.

The panel, which also includes finance secretary Ashok Chawla, financial services secretary R Gopalan and Department of Personnel secretary Shantanu Consul as members, last met in early November to decide on the final list of candidates.

The panel considered about 20 persons and zeroed in on seven candidates at its last meeting, but some of them have opted out since then. Furthermore, reservations have been expressed about a couple of them by senior policymakers and regulators.

Out of those selected for the final interviews, at least two—public sector lender SBI chairman OP Bhatt and RBI deputy governor K C Chakrabarty—expressed their unwillingness for the position, sources said.

Others short-listed for the final interview include Department of Disinvestment additional secretary S Pradhan, Madhya Pradesh principal secretary GP Singhal and two managing directors at SBI, SK Bhattacharya and R Sridharan.

Incidentally, both Mr Bhatt and Mr Chakrabarty, as well as UK Sinha, were nominated for the role of SEBI chairman by the selection panel, while all other candidates submitted applications for the coveted post.

The committee was also considering calling a couple of more candidates other than those already short-listed and one such person could be KP Krishnan, who is currently secretary of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and was formerly a joint secretary, Capital Market Division in the finance ministry.

Mr Krishnan has previously served as a member on SEBI's board, while Mr Bandyopadhyay is currently on the SEBI board.

Among the probables, Mr Krishnan and Mr Sinha have been a part of various committees formed by SEBI and the finance ministry for capital market regulation.


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Introducing a new section by Sucheta Dalal on how media is often party to stock price...

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