Business Standard Podcast

Business Standard


Daily news about the podcasting,investment analysis and advice on stocks and the markets. Scannable and informative, with a truly global view.

Available on


3533 episodes

TMS Ep400: SC on bank frauds, rising interest rate, markets, municipal bond

The Supreme Court on March 27 said borrowers should be allowed to be heard before banks declare their accounts as “fraudulent”. The Reserve Bank of India or RBI had issued a master circular in 2016, allowing banks to classify accounts of wilful defaulters as fraudulent. This circular was challenged in the Telangana High Court, which held in 2020 that borrowers would be heard before any such classification. The State Bank of India and RBI moved the Supreme Court against this order. Now, the Bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli has upheld the Telangana High Court’s judgment. So, why did the RBI fail to convince the apex court in this regard? And, what does the verdict mean for borrowers?    People planning to take loans and those already in debt are facing the pinch of rising interest rates. At a time when countries across the globe are trying to rein in inflation, banks are drastically increasing the cost of borrowings. At such times, what should borrowers do? Should they wait or should they go ahead and borrow? Also, will interest rates fall in the coming months?  Amid the rising interest rates and inflation, stock market analysts are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Domestic markets are set to end this financial year (FY23) with negative returns as global central banks tightened monetary policies, squeezing liquidity from the system, in order to tame inflation. As we approach FY24, analysts flag the rising interest rates and higher inflation as major headwinds for equities in the near term. However, they said that favourable macros could turn fortunes in favour of them.  As the stock markets remain subdued, an alternative investment option could be municipal bonds. Of late, the interest around municipal bonds has been surging. Recently, the central government identified several cities with good ratings in this bond market. Reports have suggested that Chennai could launch its own municipal bonds in 2023 itself. So, what are municipal bonds? This episode of the podcast brings you the answer and more.

Mar 30
TMS Ep399: Indian IT layoffs, confectionery, markets, bank stress test

Accenture on March 23 announced plans to trim its workforce by 19,000. According to reports, this may lead to around 7,000 job cuts in India. And, with the IT major cutting estimates for its ongoing financial year, analysts expect the fourth quarter numbers, associated guidance, and hiring by big Indian IT firms to be on pessimistic lines. Even the global banking crisis could have a domino effect on the IT sector. Against this backdrop, are the Accenture layoffs a sign of tough times for Indian IT?  Even amid the tech layoffs, we see another sector — the confectionery industry — which is on an expansion spree in India. The confectionary market has been lately attracting investments from major manufacturers. Mondelez International, US confectionery manufacturer Mars and Reliance Retail have expressed their intention to expand in the space through investments and acquisitions. So, why is the Indian confectionery market attracting billions?   The runaway rally in Indian equities seen in FY21 and FY22 came to a grinding halt in FY23, as most global central banks tightened their monetary policies in order to fight the galloping inflation. Analysts, however, feel there is some hope for investors in FY24 as monetary tightening seems to be yielding results. Find out how analysts expect markets to play out in FY24. Since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse, regulators and governments across the globe have sprung into action to prevent a contagion in the banking sector. In India, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has asked banks to stay alert and take stress tests. So, what are bank stress tests? This episode of the podcast brings you the answer and more.

Mar 29
TMS Ep398: Bharat 6G Mission, earthquake, debt MFs, Wagner Group

Even as the 5G roll out continues across India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 22 unveiled India’s 6G mission and an official testbed project that will enable research into these next-generation network technologies. The government has already appointed an apex council to oversee its Bharat 6G project, which has the potential to turn the second-largest global telecom market — with 1.2 billion telecom users — into a rule maker from a rule taker. So, what are the major challenges that will have to be overcome for the mission to succeed?  Even as Turkey and Syria still reel from the devastation caused by the February 6 earthquakes, north-western India has also faced no less than 10 significant earthquakes and aftershocks. The most recent one, which originated in India’s western neighbourhood, was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan. Experts link the increase in earthquake activity to the movement of tectonic plates in the Himalayan region. They have, in fact, warned of stronger jolts. But is India ready for a major earthquake?  From an earthquake analysis, here’s some news that could give a jolt to the mutual fund industry. Last week, the Centre amended the mutual fund rules in the Finance Bill, 2023, removing long-term capital gains tax and indexation benefits. Experts now fear that this may trigger an outflow of funds from an industry, which is still in a nascent stage. Our next report explains the implications of the move, and how it may change investment options for investors. The Wagner Group, in a recent warning to Russia, said the Ukrainian army is preparing a major attack to cut off Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. The group’s founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that this attack could take place around late March. So, what is the Wagner Group? This episode of the podcast brings you the answer and more.

Mar 28
TMS Ep393: Credit Suisse crisis, real estate, bank stocks, Toshakhana case

After being persuaded by the Swiss authorities, UBS Group AG will pay over $3.2 billion to buy its troubled rival, Credit Suisse Group AG. The rescue deal, which is backed by a significant Swiss guarantee and expected to close by end-2023, will see UBS absorb up to $5.4 billion in losses. The deal is part of a broader effort to avoid further turmoil in the global banking system, which started with the collapse of two regional US banks earlier in March. The US will be making a coordinated effort to stop the banking crisis from spreading globally. So, will Indian banks be affected by this turmoil?     DLF, one of India’s largest real estate developers, sold almost a billion dollars worth of flats in a span of three days. These flats were part of a residential project in Gurugram. This comes at a time when home-buying affordability measures declined in 2022. So, what does real estate tell us about the Indian economy?   UBS’ buyout of troubled Credit Suisse seems to have calmed investor’s nerves. As they now focus on the outcome of the two-day US Fed meet on rates, Business Standard’s Puneet Wadhwa caught up with Harsha Upadhyaya, President & CIO – Equity, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management, on his interpretation of the developments, and whether it is a good time to start buying stocks from a long-term perspective. In Pakistan, it is illegal for a public official to keep anything without reporting it to the Toshakhana. In August 2022, members of the ruling coalition alleged that former Pak PM Imran Khan had not disclosed to the Toshakhana information about gifts given to him and the proceeds from their alleged sale. So what is Toshakhana, and this case against Imran Khan? Listen to this episode of the podcast to know more.

Mar 21
TMS Ep392: Gopinathan's exit, angel tax, Jim Rogers, m-cap to GDP ratio

Rajesh Gopinathan’s decision to step down as chief executive officer or CEO of Tata Consultancy Services or TCS has surprised analysts. However, they are not too worried regarding continuity of operations of the firm. So, with the board naming another company veteran K Kritivasan as his successor, what does Gopinathan’s exit mean for TCS?  The government is set to make a crucial change through the Finance Bill 2023 with regard to the provisions of angel tax. The tax will now be applicable even when shares are issued to non-resident investors. Experts believe this may not be very conducive to India’s image as a destination of foreign investment.  Markets have been on a roller-coaster ride last week, amid developments with regard to select US banks and Credit Suisse in Europe. Puneet Wadhwa caught up with JIM ROGERS, chairman of Rogers Holdings, for his views on the developments and his investing strategies in this backdrop. Like the global banking sector, the Indian stock markets have remained subdued, with the market cap-to-GDP ratio falling to a three-year low.India’s market cap-to-GDP ratio fell below 100% for the first time in three years as correction in stock prices over the last few months eroded the aggregate m-cap of all the BSE-listed companies. However, despite the correction, India remains richly valued. In this episode of the podcast, find out what an m-cap-to-GDP ratio is, and how investors should read it.

Mar 20
TMS Ep391: National Sample Survey, consumer sentiments, markets, FATF

How many rural households in India have piped water connections for drinking in their household? How many of them have exclusive access to a toilet, and what are rural households using as their primary source of energy for cooking? The recent report by National Statistical Office has the answers to these socio-economic indicators. Find out what the critical indicators say about the state of rural India.   Not all rural indicators paint a rosy picture. But the average Indian continues to be optimistic about economic growth and is looking forward to splurging more. That’s what the latest data on the Index of Consumer Sentiments hints at. The index has been steadily improving since the beginning of 2023. However, this improvement is not significant in rural India. Find out the reasons behind improving consumer sentiments and the causes of rural-urban divide.  Turning to the markets, the banking turmoil in the West has left domestic equities turbulent. The likely trend ahead could be even more volatile, so what should investors’ strategy be in the current market?  A recent report by the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, has once again triggered a political face-off between the ruling and the opposition, bringing back the focus on the murky nexus of politics and art. While Union Minister Anurag Thakur’s recent dig at Congress about an alleged case of illicit proceeds is doing the rounds on social media, let’s find out what is FATF in this episode of the podcast.

Mar 17
TMS Ep390: Private capex, India's Oscar success, PSU stocks, bank run

For the coming financial year, Economic Survey 2023 has predicted a sustained increase in private capex. The survey also quoted an Axis Bank report, which showed that India Inc’s capex increased to Rs 3.3 trillion in the first half of the current financial year. This is a significant increase from Rs 2.6 trillion in the same period last year. Amid this recovery, CII President Sanjiv Bajaj had recently said that a pause by the RBI in interest rate hikes may spur private investment. So, what do experts think about this prescription? And, what other measures could boost private capex? Three Indian movies were part of the final nominations for the 95th Oscar awards. When the Oscar was announced, The Elephant Whisperers won the award in the documentary short film category, and Naattu Nattu in the original song category. Though individual Indians have won Oscars before, this is the first time that an Indian production is winning the coveted award. So, what does this year’s Oscar success mean for the Indian film Industry? Despite FY23’s divestment timeline being missed after the proposed stake sale in Hindustan Zinc turned uncertain, the Nifty Public Sector Enterprises index hit an all-time high last week. So, will the delayed divestment target take a toll on investor sentiment or will PSU stocks continue their out-performance?  On March 10, Silicon Valley Bank or SVB in the US collapsed due to a bank run triggered by falling bond values of the bank as well as slowdown in the tech industry. So, what is a bank run? Lets find out the answer and more in this episode of the podcast.  ,

Mar 16
TMS Ep389: Repo rate hike, HUL CEO Rohit Jawa, YES Bank, contagion risk

The February inflation saw a dip from the January numbers. But the Indian economy is not out of the woods yet when it comes to inflation. All eyes are on the Reserve Bank of India or RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting next month. Will the RBI opt for another rate hike?  One of the biggest fast-moving consumer goods or FMCG companies in India, HUL, is all set to welcome its new chief executive officer and managing director this year. Rohit Jawa will replace Sanjiv Mehta, who commanded the company for a decade in the role of CEO and is now set to retire. The FMCG sector in India has been embroiled by weakening rural demand. The latest inflation data is another obstacle. So, what are the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the new CEO?  The mandatory three-year lock-in period for YES Bank shares ended this Monday, with many retail investors choosing to exit the lender. But is it wise to book profits in the bank, right now, when it is steadily working towards profitability?  Silicon Valley Bank’s or SVB’s collapse has had a ripple effect not only in the tech industry but also in the banking sector with New York-based Signature Bank being the latest bank to fail. This has spread the fear of contagion risk in the industry. But what is contagion risk? Let's find out in this episode of the podcast.

Mar 15
TMS Ep388: SVB collapse, Apple India, debt investments, deposit insurance

The collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank or SVB is the biggest US bank failure since 2008, which may make it look like a repeat of the Lehman Brothers collapse that triggered the 2008 global financial crisis. Banks across the globe may already be feeling the heat of SVB’s failure. So, what domino effects will the Indian banking system see? While a number of Indian tech start-ups have reportedly been affected by the crisis, what are the chances of a broader contagion reaching our shores?    $700 million investment, 100,000 jobs. These are the ambitious numbers that Apple has lined up for India. Moreover, the tech giant has also changed its internal structure to focus exclusively on the country. Certainly, the iPhone maker is highly buoyant of its growth prospects in the country as it plans to shift away from China. So, why is Apple so upbeat about India?  Over two months into 2023, the equity markets continue to remain subdued. The US Federal Reserve and the Reserve Bank of India or RBI also remain data dependent in their resolve to tighten the policy rates further. Against this backdrop, should investors shift their focus from equities to debt?  To protect investors’ money during events such as the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, governments and central banks across the world have a provision of deposit insurance, which protects your deposits. So, how does deposit insurance work when a bank collapses? Lets find out in this episode of the podcast.

Mar 14
TMS Ep387: Kishore Biyani, Indian rupee, markets, High Seas Treaty

Kishore Biyani took decades to build his empire. Brick by brick, with a lot of patience. Starting from a humble family-owned textile shop, he went on to lay the foundation of a massive empire of retail stores like Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, Easyday, and FBB. But, the ground beneath his feet is slipping fast now. Three of his Future Group companies are going through corporate insolvency resolution process. So what led to his downfall?  Biyani, who is 61 now, will certainly try to script a comeback. Meanwhile, the Indian rupee is also trying to make a comeback after depreciating by around 10 per cent last year. And it is also going places now. It is taking baby steps towards becoming an international currency like the dollar. So is the Indian rupee headed for internationalisation? Moving on to markets, this week is set to keep Dalal Street investors busy with retail inflation data in India and the US. This comes in the run-up to the US Fed policy outcome. So, how will these key events dictate market trajectory going ahead? Just a few minutes’ drive away from the busy Dalal Street, one can spot hundreds of colourful fishing boats dotting Mumbai’s shoreline. And had it not been for the litter, it would have been perfect for your instagram feed. Alas, not just our coastlines, but our deep seas too are increasingly getting polluted. Rampant shipping and litter are wreaking havoc. But a new treaty offers some hope. We explain this High Seas Treaty in this episode of the podcast and more.

Mar 13
TMS Ep386: Crypto under PMLA, SEBI on PCVs, power stocks, sovereign default

Regulatory net continues to tighten around cryptocurrencies in India. The government has now brought the trading of cryptocurrencies and digital assets under the ambit of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Last year, ​ it had introduced a 30% income tax on gains made from it. So, will the recent move sound a death knell for the industry? Or is this a sign that the government is willing to give regulation a try, instead of outright banning cryptos? And how will it impact investors?  Bringing cryptocurrencies under the regulatory umbrella may be followed by another regulatory change -- this time from Sebi. The markets regulator is mulling on allowing permanent capital vehicles or PCVs in India. Unlike regular private equity and venture capital funds, which have a limited life cycle, PCV can last in perpetuity. Famous investment house Berkshire Hathaway is one of its examples. So why does India not have its own Warren Buffet? And how will the investment scenario change if PCVs are allowed?  India’s march towards becoming an economic superpower comes with a cost: a rapid rise in electricity consumption. In February, the country’s power consumption rose over 9% year on year. And analysts believe that as the country comes under the grip of summer, rising power demand will fire up related stocks over the long-term. While they expect solar-powered companies to benefit from rising temperatures, lack of rainfall may put hydro-power and thermal-power companies at a disadvantage.  Meanwhile, in neighbouring Pakistan, cities are erupting in protests due to prolonged power outages. February’s retail inflation has soared past 31%, and the Pakistani rupee has devalued by 30% during 2022. The country is staring at a sovereign default. But what is a sovereign default? We explain it in this episode of the odcast and more.

Mar 10
TMS Ep385: India's economic indicators, GQG, markets, Phone Link app

Indian economy grew at a weaker-than-expected 4.4% in Q3 of the current financial year. Slowdown in consumer demand was one of the reasons. While the government says that the Q3 GDP numbers will be revised upwards, experts point out that rural economic growth is still slow. So, what does the data say? Also, what do select high-frequency indicators suggest about consumption and do they back up the recent GDP data?  A good monsoon, meanwhile, may revive rural consumption. If only El Nino doesn’t play a spoilsport. Let us move on to a subject which has kept most investors on the edge for a while now. The Adani-Hindenburg saga continues to add new chapters. At a time when investors are trying to reduce their exposure to the Adani group, a Florida-based asset management firm has bought in almost $2 billion worth of stakes. It’s the GQG Partners led by its co-founder Rajiv Jain. So why is GQG gung ho on Adani?  It is not only the Adani stocks that are gathering steam. Indian equities have also shown a smart rebound in March with benchmark indices rising 1.5%. Are all the negatives priced in, and is the worst over? Take a look at the risks that investors need to be mindful of.  After the financial markets, let us see how technology is evolving, and integrating. Connecting your Android phone to a computer or a laptop has always been a difficult task. But Microsoft’s Your Phone app had made it possible. And now, the company has launched an advanced version called Microsoft Phone Link app. It will also help you connect the computer with the iPhone. Find out more about it in this episode of the podcast.

Mar 09
TMS Ep384: Essar group, free trade agreement, metal stocks, generative AI

Once considered too big to fail, Ruia brothers owned Essar Group had to sell its flagship assets in India to stay afloat. It scraped through the crisis and finally became debt-free in November last year. One of the key assets that the Ruia brothers had to let go was their loss-making steel business. Now, three years after selling the Essar Steel, the group has been making a quiet foray into the steel business again. So can Essar regain the lost ground?  Speaking of steel, here is an interesting fact that Union minister Piyush Goyal recently pointed out. He said Korea and Japan will buy steel from their domestic market even if it costs them a hundred dollars more for every ton due to their nationalist spirit. But they will not buy from an Indian  supplier. At the same time, due to the free trade agreement, two Korean car companies -- Kia Motors and Hyundai -- have been costing India billions of dollars in trade deficit as they continue to import indiscriminately. So have we benefitted from FTAs?  China, on Sunday, set a 5% growth target for 2023, lowest in more than 25 years as it swiftly reopens its economy from Covid-19 restrictions. This could help the Indian metal industry. So should investors bet on the stocks?  TCS, the country’s second largest company by market capitalisation, recently tried to allay fears of job loss around generative artificial intelligence. The company which employs over 600,000 people said that the platforms like ChatGPT will create an “AI co-worker” and not replace jobs. But what exactly is generative artificial intelligence everyone is talking about? Listen to this episode of the podcast to know more.

Mar 08
TMS Ep383: G20, FDI in India, mutual funds, Hindu rate of growth

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has cast a shadow over the G20 event too. The absence of a joint communique after two high-level ministerial events attests to the presence of this elephant in the room. India, meanwhile, has remained persistent in its appeal for a multilateral approach to tackling global socio-economic issues. So, what are the major takeaways from the G20 meets so far?  With no end in sight to the Russia-Ukraine war, western economies are trying hard to avert a recession. India too is facing the consequences. FDI equity inflow into the country has dropped by 15% in April-December FY23. So what is going wrong with India’s FDI story? And what is the road ahead?  But the multiple headwinds have failed to deter the domestic mutual funds, whose faith in Indian equity markets remained intact all through fiscal 2022-23. Their inflows have crossed the Rs 1.5-trillion mark for a second straight financial year. But will they be able to strike a hat-trick?  Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has claimed that India is “dangerously close” to the Hindu rate of growth due to subdued private sector investment, high-interest rates and slowing global growth. But what exactly is a Hindu rate of growth? We decode it for you in this episode of the podcast.

Mar 07
TMS Ep382: Sebi crackdown, Bill Gates, markets, pump and dump scheme

It's been a month since US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research came out with a damning report on the Adani Group. Ever since, the group's stocks have behaved erratically, keeping investors and regulators on edge. On Thursday, the Supreme Court formed a panel to review regulatory mechanisms and protect the investors' interests. The apex court also told Sebi to complete its probe within two months. What next in this saga now?  So, will the Supreme Court's action in the Adani-Hindenburg saga stem the bleeding in the capital markets? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, India received a piece of positive news from government corridors recently. This was in the form of the Periodic Labour Force Survey report. It presented a positive outlook for employment in the country. Even the unemployment rate is on a steady decline. But what does the fine print say, and what does this report tell us?  Unemployment rate in urban areas had shot up to 20% during the pandemic. So the 4.1% figure indeed suggests a good recovery. Moving on, several Indian drug makers have recently come in the line of fire from the US FDA, which has stepped up its regulatory site inspections after a Covid-19 lull. Cipla too faced the US regulator's ire. What does this mean for the company and its stock?  Over the last year, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has roiled the world economy and financial markets. And adding fuel to the ongoing conflict, Moscow recently suspended a nuclear arms treaty with the United States. So what is this New Start Treaty all about? Find out more in this episode of the podcast.

Mar 06
TMS Ep380: Rise of Jio, cyber security, consumer appliances, passive funds

Home-grown Reliance Jio has positioned itself as the world’s second strongest telecom brand. Last year, it was fifth in the pecking order. So what explains this rise? And how does Jio’s brand stack up against Airtel’s amid the 5G rollout?     As Jio and Airtel have set the ball rolling on 5G, the national cyber security coordinator has asked firms to increase their investment in cybersecurity. Rising Internet penetration will indeed have its own set of challenges. Microsoft India head Terence Gomes recently told Business Standard that the country will need 1.5 million cybersecurity experts by 2025. He said that the digital explosion has opened more “attack entry points”. So will cybersecurity drive large-scale job creation in India? And what are the challenges ahead? A recent NASSCOM report also pointed out that despite having the largest IT talent pool in the world, India lacks skilled cyber security professionals. Moving on, the weatherman has forecast a hotter-than-usual period between March-May across most parts of the country this year. At the bourses, summer-related stocks have begun to gather steam. So, should you jump on the bandwagon?  Bajaj Finserv on Wednesday said that Sebi has given it the license for starting its mutual fund business. The financial services company will offer a range of mutual fund products both in the active and passive segments. But what is a passive fund and how different is it from active funds? Listen to this podcast to know more.

Mar 02
TMS Ep379: GDP slowdown, fake websites, textile stocks, Jan Vishwas Bill

As expected, the GDP growth slowed down to 4.4% in the third quarter of Financial Year 2023. While releasing the figures, the government said that the GDP is estimated to grow at 7.0 per cent during 2022-23, against 9.1 per cent in 2021-22. What else do the government figures say? And what do they mean? What led to this slowdown? And what the road ahead looks like?  Ashima Goyal, one of the members of the RBI’s rate setting panel, recently told Business Standard that a further tightening could bring down the GDP growth to 5%. Another MPC member, Jayanth Verma, also had a similar view. Moving on, pandemic catapulted online transactions to a new high. But, with it, cases of online frauds have also hit a new peak. Cybercriminals are now using various ways to cheat people. One of them is through fake websites. Co-founder of Mumbai-based audio company Boat recently took to Twitter to request customers to buy products from the original website -- and not from fake ones selling counterfeit products. So how big is the fake website problem?  Moving on to stock markets, as cotton prices soften 41% from last year’s high, analysts foresee silver lining emerging for the sector. That apart, they expect improved capacity utilisations, lowering of domestic cotton premium over international prices, and demand rebound to benefit the overall sector. Meanwhile, in a good news for the industry, the government is planning to table The Jan Vishwas Bill in the second phase of the Budget session of the Parliament. The bill seeks to decriminalise 183 offences across 42 central Acts to ensure ease of doing business. We tell more about this proposed amendment in this episode of the podcast.

Mar 01
TMS Ep378: Vedanta, airline pilots, road-infra players, index rebalancing

Gautam Adani may not be the only highly-leveraged Indian industrialist in trouble. While it is not facing a Hindenburg-like storm, Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources Ltd too has significant debt on its books. And, one of Agarwal’s recent attempts to reduce the debt burden has met with opposition from the Indian government itself. So, is Vedanta in trouble?  While metals-mogul Agarwal’s plan to trim down debt may have run into rough weather, airlines in India are clearly looking at a clear sky. After navigating pandemic turbulence, they have started reporting profits now. Orders of over 1,000 new aircraft have also been placed and the airlines are now scrambling to ramp up staffing. But will we be able to find enough pilots to fly the expanding fleet? What are the challenges involved?  The number of operational airports in the country has risen from 74 to 140 in the last eight years. From sky traffic, let us now shift focus to the roads. Road and transport ministry saw a 36% jump in the Budget 2023 allocation, kindling hope that related-stocks would witness a good growth in the long-term. Experts said that the strong order book and healthy NHAI pipeline bodes well for road-construction players.  Shares of Adani group companies recently tumbled after global index provider MSCI reduced the weightage of its four firms. But, it later postponed the decision to its May review -- giving some respite to the conglomerate. Key index providers like MSCI, FTSE, and Nifty undergo quarterly, or semi-annual rejig of their indices. This is called index rebalancing. We tell more about this in this episode of the podcast.

Feb 28
TMS Ep377: Ajay Banga, Indian global CEOs, FIIs, social stock exchange

Indian-American business executive Ajay Banga has been nominated by the US President Joe Biden to lead the World Bank. With the US by his side, his appointment is nothing but a formality. 63-year-old Banga’s nomination comes at a time when the World Bank is embarking on a series of major reforms to better respond to climate change and to challenges being faced by developing countries. So what are the challenges awaiting Banga at the World Bank?  It’s not just the Bretton Woods institution. The list of global corporations being helmed by Indian-origin CEOs has never been so extensive. Microsoft, Adobe, Alphabet, IBM, Novartis and Barclays are some of the behemoths which are being run by people whose roots can be traced back to India. So what explains the rise of Indian-born executives in global businesses? The growing number of Indian faces in global corporations attests to the country’s growth story. India is indeed a shining star in the global economy. But, it seems, FIIs are not impressed. They have been dumping the Indian stocks for the last two months. What’s making them nervous? And will the trend reverse? Take a deep dive into how FIIs are viewing India as an investment destination. Staying with the theme of financial markets, Sebi has given its go ahead to the NSE to set up a Social Stock Exchange as a separate segment. But what will this new exchange do? Which firms will be listed on it? Find out in this episode of the podcast.

Feb 27
TMSEp376: IT hiring, Ukraine war impact, aviation stocks, carbon border tax

Global slowdown, it seems, is now casting a shadow over engineering college campuses in India. It’s no longer just a textbook subject. For millions of engineering students and pass outs, it’s a grim reality now. After years of aggressive hiring, major IT firms are now giving a miss to campuses. Those hired are also in a limbo, as their on-boarding has been delayed. New Wipro recruits were recently taken aback when the IT major asked them to settle for a 3.5-lakh rupee package instead of 6.5-lakh rupee offered to them initially. So is the IT dream of Indian youngsters turning sour?  The Russian attack on Ukraine -- which plunged the world into economic slowdown -- completes one year today. The UN has said that the 8,000 civilian deaths in Ukraine is just a “tip of the iceberg”, as the war-ravaged nation continues to count its dead amid no sign of truce. The world too is paying a heavy price as several major economies are staring at recession. India too couldn’t remain unaffected. So, how did the war affect India’s economy and foreign policy?  India’s aviation sector, meanwhile, is on the cusp of a change as airlines are planning to induct a record number of aircraft. Air India recently placed an order for 470 aircraft. IndiGo is to take deliveries of around 500 planes, and Go First and Akasa Air have orders for up to 72 aircraft. Analysts believe that these increased capacities will support the world’s third largest and the fastest growing aviation market in the world. But, are these triggers enough to give wings to related shares? Or are there risks that the markets are not factoring in?  Indian companies with larger greenhouse gas footprints will soon have to pay a new tax on their products in several developed countries. It is called the carbon border tax. India recently wrote to the WTO to register its objections, calling it discriminatory and protectionist. But what exactly is the carbon border tax? Listen to this episode of the podcast to know more.

Feb 24
TMS Ep374: Bike taxi ban, METRO Cash & Carry, markets, EPFO's new scheme

Bike-taxis have hit yet another roadblock. This time in Delhi. The Delhi Transport Department on Monday became the latest state government body to put a stop to bike taxi services. But why are state governments disallowing these two-wheeler cab services?  German retailer METRO AG’s cash & carry business is set to hit the fast lane in India. The company had introduced the cash-and-carry business format in the country back in 2013.  But the pivotal moment came two months ago, when Reliance Industries acquired the Indian business. Now, with India’s largest conglomerate in the saddle, what does Metro's future look like? Business Standard’s Nivedita Mookerji caught up with Arvind Mediratta, Managing Director & CEO of the company’s India unit.  Global and domestic developments have kept the market sentiment in check so far this calendar year. The returns from benchmark Sensex and Nifty have been nearly negligible. So, what should investors do? Is it a time to remain a fence-sitter, or is there any investment strategy that one can adopt in this range-bound market? Here's a highlighting of the top sectors and stocks recommended by analysts.   Like equities and mutual funds, savings made under EPF scheme also offer good returns due to over 8% interest rate. An amended made in 2014 and ratified by the Supreme Court in November last year has made it even more attractive. Raghav Aggarwal’s report reveals how

Feb 22
TMS Ep373: IT layoff, millets market, IT stocks, debt refinancing

At a time when global tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Meta are on a firing spree, Indian IT major TCS has said that it will not hand out pink slips to its workers. Rather, it has announced to hire from the talented pool -- which has been laid off by Indian start-ups and US tech companies. So why is TCS bucking the trend?  TCS has certainly set the bar high. Its decisions have provided plenty of food for thought to other companies. Speaking of food, ancient Ayurveda believed that cure of most ailments can be found in our kitchens. And a healthy diet keeps all the ailments at the bay. But are we eating healthy? Do we get all our essential nutrients from staple grains like wheat and rice? Or do we need the forgotten superfoods like millets which have been making a comeback off late? And what are the challenges that these coarse grains are facing to become a viable alternative to wheat and rice?  Let us turn our focus back to the issue of hiring in IT firms. The IT index has been an outperformer so far in calendar year 2023 even as IT companies have been treading cautiously on hiring fresh talent. So, what is driving the stock performance and should you buy any given the overall macro set up?  An equity research report by Jefferies recently said that Adani group’s consolidated net debt is at ₹2 trillion and it has relatively “low refinancing needs” in the near term. The report comes after some banks showed reluctance in refinancing the debts of the apple-to-airport group. But what exactly is debt refinancing? And how is it different from debt restructuring? We decode it for you in this episode of the podcast.

Feb 21
TMS Ep371: Trade deficit, Disney+ Hotstar, insurance stocks, Aadhaar Mitra

India’s goods exports fell by 6.6% year-on-year in January. It was the third decline in the past four months. But the country’s trade deficit touched a 12-month low of 17. 7 billion dollars in January -- which was a relief from last year’s July figure of 30 billion dollars. Imports also dipped and contributed to the narrowing of the trade gap. So is this fall in trade deficit a cause for cheer?  It is not just cross-border trade that is taking a hit due to the global slowdown. World over, companies are also scrambling to maintain their profitability. They are laying off employees to stay afloat. Last week, Disney announced its plan to fire 7,000 employees as the conglomerate restructured the organisation. In India, Disney+ Hotstar has lost the IPL digital rights along with 3.8 million subscribers. So, is Disney+ Hotstar in trouble here? If so, what is the way out?  Moving on to the financial markets, the new budget proposal to tax income on high value insurance policies has raised concerns for insurers, evident from their weakness on the bourses. So, how long may the pain continue for the stocks and can they bear fruit in the long run?  Meanwhile, on global indices, stocks of small artificial intelligence groups have soared in the last few months. Thanks to the hype surrounding Open AI’s ChatGPT. No one took artificial intelligence so seriously before the ChatGPT happened. It is now inspiring a host of other chatbot innovations. One such chatbot will now help Indians address their Aadhaar-related queries. This episode of the podcast explains how.

Feb 17
TMSEp370: Air India, lithium reserve, defence stocks, fifth-gen fighter jet

American President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have hailed Air India’s multi-billion-dollar aircraft deal with Boeing and Airbus. The Boeing deal was welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Biden as a “shining example of mutually beneficial cooperation”. So, why has one deal brought all these leaders together and what does it mean for India's civil aviation market?  India’s airlines aren’t the only ones giving wings to India’s ambition. A major find in the hills of Jammu and Kashmir has also ignited the country’s hope to become a key player in the electric vehicle ecosystem. The government on February 10 announced that it has found a stash of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium in the hill state’s Reasi district. But there are many a slip between the cup and the lip. Will this lithium reserves make India an EV power?   Turning our focus back to aviation, Aero India Show, which seeks to display India’s growth in aerospace and defence capabilities, has put the spotlight on related stocks. Analysts say the event would improve the sector’s long-term growth prospects as investments worth Rs 75,000 crore are expected. But, are the stocks worth adding to your portfolio given tepid budgetary allocation?  Two grey fighter jets, which have come from Utah, United States to take part in the Aero India show are attracting a lot of attention. They are arguably the world’s most advanced fifth-generation fighters. Fighter jets have come a long way since the first world war -- when pilots used to take down enemy planes with rifles and grenades. Now we have supersonic jets equipped with guided missiles and radar-evading stealth technology. But how did the jets evolve? And what is a fifth generation fighter jet? Lets find out in thos episode of the podcast.

Feb 16
TMS Ep369: Inflation, investor protection, new-age tech stocks, Pension

Anchor link: Consumer inflation soared to 6.52% in January after staying within the RBI’s tolerance band for three months running. The sharp jump not just betrayed the pain that the consumers have been going through, but also justified the RBI stand which has refused to lift the foot off the rate hike pedal. So is retail inflation going to haunt us? Or is this just a blip?  The ongoing Adani fiasco is another burning issue which is keeping the central bank busy these days. Sebi too is on its toes. The government on Tuesday agreed to the Supreme Court’s suggestion to form a panel to look into existing investor protection regime against the backdrop of rout in Adani group shares. So what can this panel do to ensure that investors don’t lose their wealth to another such meltdown.    Meanwhile, new-age technology stocks have been on investors’ radar for a while. Shares of Nykaa, Paytm, and PB Fintech have surged up to 17% in a month. However, these companies reported a mixed set of results during the third quarter earnings, keeping analysts cautious over the sustenance of this strength.  After the financial markets, let us move on to a debate raging around various models of pension schemes for government servants. Andhra Pradesh recently proposed a pension scheme claiming that it combines benefits of both old and new pension regimes. According to a report, it has also caught the attention of the central government. In this episode of the podcast, we tell more about this new Guaranteed Pension Scheme.

Feb 15
TMS Ep368: IT hiring, govt vacancies, Gaurav Ratnaparkhi, Aero India 2023

Hundreds of freshers were reportedly shown the door at Wipro and Infosys recently after they failed to clear tests at the end of their training period. At the same time, the wait for final year engineering students seems to be getting longer, as major IT firms have not visited the campuses yet. So are freshers and students staring at a tough year ahead?  The government, meanwhile, has announced to fill a hundred thousand central government vacancies in the next one year. In the last four years, over three hundred thousand people landed jobs in various central government ministries and departments. What does this mean? Is this increase in government size a good thing?  Besides unemployment, inflation has been a cause of worry for the government. It rose to 6.52% in January, bringing the key indices down. Markets have been under pressure for the last few sessions. How long will this continue? Are any counters worth your money at the current levels, and is the worst over for Adani group stocks? Puneet Wadhwa caught up with Gaurav Ratnaparkhi, head of technical research at Sharekhan by BNP Paribas on what technical charts indicate for Adani group stocks, the key levels he is tracking for the frontline indices and his investment strategy.  On Tuesday, the markets are likely to remain range-bound amid lack of any major triggers. Stock-specific action, however, will continue. Moving on, an altogether different kind of action is going on in Bengaluru sky. With the slogan “Make in India for the World” at the centre stage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Aero India 2023 in the city on 13th February. The five-day event will host a slew of aerospace and defence companies. This episode of the podcast decodes what Aero India is and more.

Feb 14
TMS Ep367: India's infra ambitions, Railways, markets, pledging of shares

In yet another blow to the Adani Group, MSCI has changed its weightings for some of the conglomerate’s stocks. The global index provider has cut its determined free float for four group companies, including flagship firm Adani Enterprises. Adani’s troubles, brought on by allegations of fraud, have also led to doubts about India’s growth story, which is being driven by investments in infrastructure. So, will the storm set off by Hindenburg Research hit the country’s ambitious infra plans?  A 33% hike in capital expenditure outlay for FY24 attests to the government’s commitment towards building better roads, highways, ports and other critical infrastructure. And from the proposed Rs 10 lakh crore capex budget, railways got the lion’s share. But despite the good budgetary allocations in the past, the national transporter’s operating ratio is still hovering close to 100. So how best can the railways allocate its budgetary outlay?  Meanwhile, for corporate India, the pace of earnings growth continued to slow down in the December quarter as high interest rates increased the costs. Besides, persistent weakness in the rural economy, coupled with plateauing urban discretionary spends, ate into the profitability. Find out the key risks that India Inc may see in upcoming quarters. The rout in Adani group stocks -- which began January 25th after the release of a Wall Street short seller’s report -- was halted for a brief two-day period last week. It coincided with the conglomerate’s move to release pledged shares worth $1.11 billion in its three companies about nine months ahead of the maturity. It instilled some confidence in the investors, before another news dented it. But what is pledging of stocks? Listen to this podcast for more.

Feb 13
TMS Ep366: Oil and gas, Ananya and Aryaman Birla, Mark Mobius, public float

India appears set to overtake Germany and Japan to become the world’s third largest economy by the end of this decade. It is the world’s fastest growing major economy right now. But this rapid growth is not without a cost. India is the world’s third largest oil importer too. Oil is fuelling the growth but denting the exchequer. The government is now planning to almost double the crude oil refining capacity. But what are the challenges?  Windfall tax has also eaten into the profit of Reliance Industries. Meanwhile, India’s biggest company by market valuation has recently put in place a succession plan. India’s corporate empires are in the midst of transition. The Aditya Birla Group too has initiated a succession plan. Ananya Birla and Aryaman Birla, the two children of Kumar Mangalam Birla were recently inducted in the boards of group companies. So who are these new Birlas?    Meanwhile, stocks of Adani group are on a roller coaster ride since the release of Hindenburg report. Puneet Wadhwa caught up with market guru Mark Mobius, founder, Mobius Capital Partners LLP to know his views on the developments and on the Indian equity markets.  The brief rally in Adani Group stocks came to a halt on Thursday after index provider MSCI said that it will review free float status of the group’s listed companies. So what is a free float or public float, as it is also known. We find out in this episode of the podcast.

Feb 10
TMS Ep365: RBI rate hike, Boeing 747, bond markets, geothermal energy

The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee has hiked repo rate by 25 basis points. A Business Standard poll had also forecast the 25 basis point hike about three days ago. So with inflation coming under the RBI’s comfort zone, will the central bank hit the pause button on further rate hikes?  Inflation in air fare, meanwhile, was way higher than the overall inflation till a few months ago - especially during the festivals in October and November. It has come down now. But did you know that the iconic aircraft which made air travel affordable for most of us is slowly but certainly flying into dusk, after over five decades of successful operation. The last aircraft of the revolutionary Boeing 747 series rolled out of the Boeing factory last week. The company has decided to halt its production. Listen to the legacy left behind by Boeing 747 - also called ‘Queen of the Skies”. Shifting the focus back to the rate hike, the RBI move has weakened the sovereign bonds. The central bank’s status quo on its policy stance, with no signal that it will take the foot off the pedal, has dampened the market’s spirit. So, what is in store for bond markets going ahead after the RBI’s policy outcome and the budget’s market borrowing estimate for FY24?  Meanwhile, the race for clean energy is on. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation or ONGC is now planning to come up with a geothermal map of India. We know about nuclear, solar, hydro-electric and wind energies. But what exactly is geothermal energy? This episode of the podcast explains it for you.

Feb 09
TMS Ep364: Adani group, Indian ports, defensive stocks, fault lines

After the Hindenburg Research’s critical report on Adani group, global credit rating agencies have started to recalibrate their stance on the conglomerate’s assets. Contracts awarded to its group companies are also under the scanner. So will the dark clouds hovering over the group grow darker in the days ahead? Or 60-year-old Gautam Adani -- who was the world’s third richest man until a few days ago -- will be able to overcome this crisis?  Adani group stocks made a comeback on Tuesday. Adani port -- which is about to declare its Q3 results-- also surged over 8% in the early trade. The conglomerate operates India’s largest private port in Gujarat’s Mundra. India has 13 big ports now. But despite all the progress, big ships continue to evade Indian ports. Why is that so? Why do big ships not dock at Indian harbours? And does it have any impact on trade?  Equity markets, meanwhile, have remained range-bound, with the NSE Nifty index down nearly 2 per cent. Amidst this volatility, defensive pockets like Nifty FMCG and IT indices have outperformed frontline indices. Analysts, therefore, suggest investors to rotate from high beta stocks to select defensive plays due to an uncertain roadmap ahead.  After the financial markets, let us move on to a tragedy which has struck part of Turkey and neighbouring Syria. At least 5,000 people have lost their lives after three devastating earthquakes shook the region which sits on a well-known fault line, the Anatolia tectonic block. But what is a fault line? Let us understand it in this episode of the podcast and more.

Feb 08