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Sensex up 116 pts, Nifty above 11,550 mark

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The Sensex and Nifty opened higher on Friday following firm Asian markets along with gains in the pivotal banking stocks.
 
Sentiments continued to be upbeat on Friday over sustained inflows of foreign funds which has supported the equities and the domestic currency alike.
 
The rupee gained against the US dollar and selling in export-oriented IT and technology stocks was, hence, seen during the early trade.
 
Almost all other sectoral indices traded in the green.
 
The Sensex of the BSE opened at 38,452.47 from its previous close at 38,386.75 on Wednesday.
 
Markets were closed on Thursday on the occasion of Holi.
 
At 9.19 a.m., the Sensex traded at 38,502.86 up 116.11 points or 0.30 per cent.
 
The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 11,549.20 after closing at 11,521.05 on Wednesday.
 
The Nifty traded at 11,554.95 during the morning trade session, up 33.90 points and 0.29 per cent.
 
Foreign Institutional Investors bought stocks worth Rs 1,771.61 crore on Wednesday while Domestic Institutional Investors sold scrips worth Rs 1,323.17 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Film industry comes forward to help actor-turned-watchman

Savi Sidhu working as a security guard now and acting as a police officer in a scene from Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday.
Savi Sidhu working as a security guard now and acting as a police officer in a scene from Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday.
Rather than facing the pain and humiliation of penury, the out-of-work senior actor Savi Sidhu opted to take on the job of a watchman at a high-rise building in the suburbs of Mumbai. After his story went viral this week, Savi is flooded with offers to return to cinema.
 
Sushant Singh, General Secretary of the Cine & TV Artists Association (CINTAA), said: "I spoke to him. He couldn't call me earlier as he was busy with auditions. He was sounding very happy, I congratulated him for choosing to lead a dignified and honest life. 
 
"He might've been down, but he chose not to be down and out."
 
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta feels Savi's story defines the dignity of labour as well as the callousness of the entertainment industry. 
 
"I found his outlook towards life very positive and dignified. We are in an uncertain business and have only ourselves to fall back on eventually -- particularly in low phases. 
 
"I support his dignity above empty words of support and sympathy. He is better off than many who I meet at receptions of producers' offices whining or pleading and doing little about themselves, their lives or their self-respect. I salute his spirit."
 
IANS
 

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Sensex ends flat on high stock-specific volatility

Key equity indices closed on a flat note on Wednesday owing to high stock-specific volatility, after having surged for the last seven consecutive days.
 
The BSE Sensex closed on Wednesday at 38,386.75, gaining only 23.28 points, or 0.06 per cent, while the Nifty declined by 11.35 points, or 0.10 per cent.
 
On stock specific movements, Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities said that airline stocks like Indigo and Spicejet rose due to expectations of better times for them on account of a supply crunch in the industry caused by Jet Airways grounding many aircraft following financial troubles.
 
"Jet Airways stock continued to fall as Etihad has shown interest in exiting the company, while the lenders remain hopeful of bringing in a resolution plan," he said. 
 
Media stocks witnessed heavy selling with the Nifty media index falling over 3 per cent. 
 
Real estate stocks jumped over 2 per cent on the BSE.
 
"Market lacked any clear direction, and with high volatility, it settled with mixed bias. Factoring tomorrow's trading holiday it was waiting for the global cues post the (US) Fed policy today," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
"Consensus is showing a status quo in the (Fed) policy while the expectation has reduced from three hikes to one in 2019. Sustained inflow from overseas funds and strength in rupee is likely to support the market in the future."
 
The top gainers on Sensex were Infosys, HDFC Bank, Yes Bank, Larsen and Toubro and Sun Pharma, while the laggards were NTPC, ONGC, Coal India and Tata Steel.
 
IANS
 

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Markets open on positive note on Wednesday

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The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a positive note during the morning session of the trade.
 
The BSE Sensex opened at 38,433.86, touched a high of 38,462.62, and a low of 38,363.76.
 
The Sensex was trading at 38,392.21, up by 28.74 points or 0.07 per cent from its Tuesday's close at 38,363.47.
 
On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 11,553.35 points after closing at 11,632.40 points.
 
The Nifty was trading at 11,534.45 points in the morning.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex, Nifty advance for the 7th straight day

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The key indices continued their positive momentum, logging a seventh straight session of gains, riding specific large caps and upbeat sentiments over sustained foreign fund inflow.
 
"Buying emerged in the late afternoon session on the back of positive European markets," said Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities. 
 
The S&P BSE Sensex gained 268.40 points (0.70 percent) to close at 38,363.47 and the Nifty jumped 70.20 points (0.61 percent) to close at 11,532.40.
 
"Market gained strength towards closing following a range-bound movement, the rally was broad-based characterised by the out-performance of large caps," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial.
 
The Indian rupee witnessed selling pressure following a continuous surge against the US dollar, while domestic bond yields inched higher as investors awaited the US Fed policy outcome, scheduled to be announced on Wednesday, Nair said. 
 
The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) interference through open market operations (OMO) will support banks and any further rate cut in the upcoming monetary policy will stimulate the rally, he added.
 
The OMO refers to a central bank's buying and selling of government securities in the open market.
 
The top gainers were ITC, NTPC, HCL Tech, Reliance Industries and Bharti Airtel, while the laggards were Hero MotoCorp, Larsen and Toubro, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Auto and Coal India.
 
IANS
 

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L&T buys Siddhartha's 20.4% stake in Mindtree

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Diversified conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Monday took its first step to acquire Mindtree by buying V. G. Siddhartha's 20.4 per cent stake in the the mid-tier IT services company for approximately Rs 3,300 crore.
 
Siddhartha is the biggest shareholder in Mindtree.
 
The next step expected from L&T is to present an open offer to further buy public shareholders spending Rs 8,000 crore and taking a controlling stake in the company, said sources.
 
The move from L&T came even as the founders of Mindree were looking to pass a board resolution on Wednesday to undertake share buyback on their own to avert a hostile takeover and subsequent change of management.
 
On Sunday, Mindtree co-founder and ex-Chief Executive Officer Subroto Bagchi resigned as the head of the Odisha Skill Development Authority, saying that he was returning to the company.
 
"An imminent threat of hostile takeover of Mindtree has made me resign from the government to be able to go save the company," Bagchi tweeted.
 
"I must protect the Tree from people who have arrived with bulldozers and saw chains to cut it down so that in its place they can build a shopping mall," he added.
 
Mindtree shares rose over 1.74 per cent to Rs 962.50 per share at the close of market hours on the BSE on Monday.
 
This will be the first ever hostile takeover move in India's technology sector. The four remaining founders of the two-decade-old, Bengaluru-based company -- Krishnakumar Natarajan, Subroto Bagchi, N.S. Parthasarathy and current CEO Rostow Ravanan -- together hold 13.32 per cent stake in Mindtree.
 
The four remaining founders are holding on to their shareholding and want to increase it through a buyback. But their financial muscle would come into question if they take on the might of L&T.
 
IANS
 

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Anil thanks Mukesh, Nita as RCom's dues to Ericsson are cleared

File photo of Anil Ambani.
File photo of Anil Ambani.
File photo of Mukesh Ambani.
File photo of Mukesh Ambani.
Anil D. Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Communications, has thanked Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani for their support regarding payment of dues to Ericsson as all the RCOM's outstanding to the Swedish company stand cleared.
 
"The requisite payment of Rs 550 crore and interest thereon to Ericsson has been completed today in compliance of the judgment of the Supreme Court," an RCOM spokesperson said.
 
Acknowledging his elder brother Mukesh Ambani's  support, Anil Ambani said: "My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support."
 
"I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply grateful and touched with this gesture," he added.
 
IANS
 

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Act against Modi for 'chowkidar' campaign, Congress urges ECI

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The Maharashtra Congress on Monday urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to act against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Bharatiya Janata Party's latest campaign, 'Main Bhi Chowkidar', an office-bearer said.
 
In a letter to the ECI, the state party secretary Taufiq Mullani has said that in the video of the new campaign - which is viral on social media - Modi has been shown riding on an Army tank, and interspersed with clips of Indian soldiers fighting.
 
"This is a blatant violation of the ECI's order of March 9, 2019, reiterating its earlier directive of December 2013, prohibiting display of pictures of defence personnel or defence-related events for election campaign and political propaganda," Mullani told IANS.
 
The party pointed out that, on the one hand, Congress President Rahul Gandhi stood solidly behind the government in the wake of the Pulwama attacks. On the other, the BJP is "taking credit for the sacrifices of the soldiers and exploiting it politically during elections" through the 'Main Bhi Chowikdar' campaign, it said.
 
Attempting to turn the tables on the Opposition parties, Modi on Sunday launched the 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' campaign and changed his Twitter handle name to 'Chowkidar Narendra Modi'.
 
Soon, several party bigwigs and ministers also followed suit and prefixed their Twitter handle names with the word 'Chowkidar' (watchman).
 
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Sensex advances for 6th straight session

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Despite witnessing volatility throughout the session, key equity indices advanced for the sixth straight day on Monday over sustained inflow of foreign funds and firm global markets.
 
Almost all the Asian markets closed on a positive note while the European indices such as CAC 40 and FTSE 100 traded in the green.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex closed 70.75 points or 0.19 per cent higher at 38,095.07 while the broader Nifty finished 35.35 points or 0.31 per cent higher at 11,462.20.
 
"The market failed to hold the opening momentum as profit booking emerged after the recent sharp rally. The liquidity situation in the market is improving. The rupee continued to gain strength over dollar while the domestic 10-year yield slid," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
"The auto index dragged the most due to mixed demand and higher inventory levels. On the other hand, the investors are awaiting the Fed policy later in the week to get more cues on the global market movement," Nair said.
 
Among the top gainers were Bajaj Finance, Power Grid, Axis Bank, Reliance Industries and Tata Steel, which gained in the range of 1 to 3 per cent.
 
Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp declined between 2 and 3 per cent while Bharti Airtel, HCL Tech and Mahindra and Mahindra slipped in the range of 1 to 2 per cent. 
 
IANS
 

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Sensex up 300 points, Nifty above 11,500

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The benchmark Sensex jumped over 300 points higher, while the Nifty crossed the 10,500 mark during the morning trade session on Monday.
 
Sentiments continued to be upbeat over sustained inflows of foreign funds and healthy buying seen in the key finance and banking stocks.
 
Except for the auto and pharma stocks, all the sectors traded in the green.
 
The Sensex of the BSE opened at 38,132.96 from its previous close at 38,024.32 on Friday.
 
At 9.44 a.m., the Sensex traded at 38,324.59 up 300.27 points or 0.79 per cent.
 
The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 11,473.85 after closing at 11,426.85 on Friday.
 
The Nifty traded at 11,522.80 during the morning trade session, up 95.95 points and 0.84 per cent.
 
Foreign Institutional Investors bought stocks worth Rs 4,323.49 crore on Friday while Domestic Institutional Investors sold scrips worth Rs 2,130.36 crore.
 
IANS

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Bengaluru beat FC Goa, win maiden ISL title

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Full-back Rahul Bheke scored in the second half of extra time as Bengaluru FC edged past FC Goa 1-0 to lift their first Indian Super League (ISL) title here on Sunday.
 
Local boy Bheke headed in from a Dimas Delgado corner in the 118th minute after both teams were locked goalless in regulation time at the Mumbai Football Arena.
 
This is Bengaluru FC's sixth trophy in as many seasons. "We feel on top of the world," skipper Sunil Chhetri said after the match. 
 
"We topped the league table like last year. We lost the final that time, but this year's story is different. We knew our power was in attack. Had to work hard in defence as they attacked very well," striker Miku said.
 
"We pushed so much in extra time, got a red card and that changed the game. We did really well throughout the season. We deserved to win but it was our bad luck," a dejected Goa skipper Mandar Rao Desai said.
 
After no goals separated the teams at the end of normal time, Bheke headed home as Goa were left to rue the red card Ahmed Jahouh picked up in the first half of extra-time. Their wait for the first ISL title continue. 
 
Bengaluru came well prepared and threatened the Goa defence as early as the sixth minute. Nishu Kumar and Chhetri combined well on the left flank before the latter found Miku at the edge of the box. The Venezuelan striker shimmied his way past a crowd of defenders inside the box but an unsteady touch at the end of his spectacular solo run allowed goalkeeper Naveen Kumar to block his efforts. 
 
Minutes later, Jahouh picked out Jackichand Singh's run down the right flank with a delightful diagonal as Goa countered from their own half. The Indian wingers delivered a brilliant cross to the far post where an onrushing Ferran Corominas skied his volley wide. 
 
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Bengaluru had the better of the early exchanges as the trio of Miku, Chhetri and Udanta Singh found joy in the attacking third.
 
But Goa were dealt a blow before the break as Mandar Rao Dessai, in an attempt to get to a through-ball by Edu Bedia, succumbed to a hamstring injury and had to be replaced by young Saviour Gama at left back. 
 
After a sluggish start to the second half, FC Goa slowly took control of the game and started to dominate possession. They created chances at will and one such move saw Jackichand's effort from a tight angle go straight into the gloves of Gurpreet Singh.
 
A few minutes later, Jackichand found Jahouh at the edge of the box. The Moroccan midfielder's first-time shot, however, was saved by Gurpreet in goal. Cuadrat responded to Goa's growing influence by making an attacking change as Luisma replaced Alejandro Barrera. 
 
The Blues went ever so close in the 81st minute when Chhetri's layoff inside the box was cleverly heeled into the path of Miku by Xisco Hernandez. The striker, with just the goalkeeper to beat, curled his strike onto the bar before seeing another strike blocked by Mourtada Fall in injury time.
 
The tempo slowed as the game moved onto extra time with both teams unwilling to take risks going forward. Bengaluru did, however, get their first shot on the target when Xisco found space and time on the ball to hit a piledriver from outside the box.
 
Goa were reduced to 10 men in the 105th minute when Ahmed Jahouh retaliated to a challenge by Miku. The midfielder picked up a second yellow and had to take the lonely walk back.
 
That turned out to be a game-changer as Bengaluru assumed control of the game. They got the precious goal they were looking for in the 116th minute. Dimas delivered a corner-kick into the box for Bheke who produced a spectacular looping header that Naveen Kumar could only push on to the post and inside the goal as the Bengaluru supporters went into delirium. 
 
IANS
 

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BMC blames auditor, staff for bridge crash

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A day after a portion of a footbridge outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) crashed, a preliminary inquiry report of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has accused the external structural consultants of negligence and recommended police action against them, officials said here on Friday.
 
Besides, it has also named five senior officials of the BMC in the report, including two retired officials. A suspension and enquiry order has been issued against Chief Engineer A.R. Patil, Assistant Engineer S.F. Kakulte and a full-fledged departmental enquiry will be conducted against Executive Engineer A.I. Engineer. The two retired officials, Chief Engineer (retd.) S.O. Kori and then Deputy Chief Engineer (retd.) R.B. Tare will also face a departmental probe.
 
"There is a prima facie reason to believe that the structural audit has been conducted in an irresponsible and negligent manner. This tragedy could have been avoided if the structural audit had been done diligently," said the report, naming Prof. D.D. Desai's Associated Engineering Consultants & Analysts Pvt. Ltd, which had audited the 35-year-old bridge last year. 
 
The report also said it was apparent that the structural audit was not carried out correctly and major lapses have been observed, it failed to point out an impending failure and despite the public money spent on it for commissioning the audit, "the true condition of the bridge was not brought out."
 
It has also ordered that the audit firm should immediately be blacklisted, struck off the BMC's panel and the Maharashtra government must be informed about the same. All pending payments should be stopped to the company and past dues must be recovered from it, the report asserted.
 
The probe report, approved by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, came after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis directed him for the same and fixing the responsibility on the concerned officials of the Shiv Sena-controlled civic body.
 
Experts and former civic and police officials questioned the wisdom of dismantling the entire bridge within hours of the tragedy and pointed out that vital evidence has been lost in the process.
 
The report has discussed three major aspects - that the earlier structural repairs carried out between 2012-2014 by contractors RPS Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. was not proper, the structural audit conducted between 2016-2018 by Prof. D. D. Desai's AECAPL was not correct, and the lapses on the part of the BMC's supervising officials entrusted with the work of overseeing the duties of the external agencies.
 
The BMC chief has also ordered that all the structural audit work given to AECAPL be withdrawn and the work it has completed should be re-audited by another company.
 
Similarly, the structural audits carried out by various consultants for all other 374 bridges under the BMC shall be re-examined and re-audited by the same consultants who will not be paid any fees for the re-audit.
 
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam demanded the sacking of Mehta and BMC Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar for their lapses leading to the tragedy instead of gunning for lower officials.
 
IANS
 

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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 258.8 million to $ 402.035 billion

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Maintaining an uptrend for the fourth consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 258.8 million to $ 402.035 billion during the week ended March 8, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had soared by a whopping $ 2.559 billion to $ 401.776 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 167.1 million to $ 374.227 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves increased by $ 116.4 million to $ $ 23.369 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went down by $ 1.8 million to $ 1.455 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 16.6 million to $ 2.983 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Sensex hits 38,000, Nifty at 11,400

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The BSE Sensex on Friday touched the 38,000 mark for the first time since September, supported by healthy buying in the banking and finance stocks.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange also touched 11,400 points after a period of six months.
 
Gains in the major Asian markets also aided the rise in the Indian indices, analysts said.
 
Around 10 a.m., the Sensex rose 270 points to touch an intra-day high of 38,024.95 points.
 
The Sensex, however retreated from the day's high to trade at 37,979.61 (10.48 a.m.), higher by 224.72 points or 0.60 per cent from the previous close of 37,754.89 points.
 
It had opened at 37,760.23 points and so far it has touched a low of 37,760.23 points.
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were Kotak Mahindra, Power Grid and State Bank of India (SBI) and the major losers were Bharti Airtel, Hindustan Unilever and Tata Motors.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,414.30, higher by 71.05 points or 0.63 per cent from its previous close.
 
IANS
 

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Mumbai bridge crash: Death toll rises to 6; BMC-Railways face heat

The death toll in the collapse of an overhead pedestrian bridge outside Central Railways' Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai on Thursday evening has risen to six, official sources said on Friday.

A view of the pedestrian bridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, which crashed on March 14, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
A view of the pedestrian bridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, which crashed on March 14, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
The death toll in the collapse of an overhead pedestrian bridge outside Central Railways' Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) here yesterday evening has risen to six, official sources said today.
 
As many  as 32 others suffered injuries in the incident and have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment.
 
Police registered cases against Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Indian Railway officials charging them with culpable homicide.
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia each to the next-of-kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured. He has also ordered a high level probe into the Thursday's incident.
 
Railways, senior police officials, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and BMC teams were overseeing operations on Friday. 
 
This was the third footbridge collapse in the city in the last 18 months. It occurred around 7.35 p.m. yesterday at a time when the bridge was reportedly overloaded with commuters hurrying to their homes, the BMC Disaster Control said.
 
The victims identified so far include three women -- Apoorva Prabhu, 35, Ranjana Tambe, 40, and Bhakti Shinde, 40. The two men dead are Zahid Siraj Khan, 32 and Tapendra Singh, 35.
 
Connecting the CSMT's suburban platform No. 1 with the B.T. Lane near The Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School, the  bridge  was used by thousands of daily commuters rushing to catch the local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line.
 
Though debris has been cleared, traffic restriction on D.N. Road continued, a traffic official said. 
 
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Equity indices open in green, Sensex up 200 points

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The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Friday with the BSE Sensex gaining over 200 points, taking cues from the major Asian markets.
 
Healthy buying in the banking and finance stocks also lifted the domestic equity indices.
 
At 9.27 a.m., the Sensex traded at 37,958.97, higher by 204.08 points or 0.54 per cent from the previous close of 37,754.89 points.
 
It had opened 37,760.23 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 37,975.16 and a low of 37,760.23 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,401.85, higher by 58.60 points or 0.52 per cent from the previous close of 11,343.25 points.
 
IANS

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Five killed, 30 injured as pedestrian bridge collapses near CSMT in Mumbai

At least five persons were killed and another 30 injured, including some critically, when a portion of a overhead pedestrian bridge outside Central Railway's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus came crashing down on Thursday.

A view of the pedestrian bridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, which crashed on March 14, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
A view of the pedestrian bridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, which crashed on March 14, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
At least five persons were killed and another 30 injured, including some critically, when a portion of a overhead pedestrian bridge outside Central Railway's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) came crashing down on Thursday.
 
The victims included three women -- Apoorva Prabhu, 35, Ranjana Tambe, 40, and Bhakti Shinde, 40. The two men killed were identified as Zahid Siraj Khan, 32 and Tapendra Singh, 35.
 
The incident -- the third footbridge collapse in the city in the last 18 months -- occurred around 7.35 p.m. as the bridge was reportedly overloaded with commuters hurrying to their homes after work, the BMC Disaster Control said.
 
Connecting the CSMT's suburban railway platform No. 1 with the B.T. Lane near The Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School, it was used by thousands of daily commuters rushing to catch the local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line.
 
The injured were rushed to the St. George Hospital and G. T. Hospital, besides Sion Hospital, said officials.
 
Politicians from several parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena, the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and others rushed to the site and activists helped in the rescue operations.
 
Officials claimed that the bridge was found to be sturdy after a recent structural audit and only needed a few minor repairs.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep anguish over the deaths and said the Maharashtra government is providing all possible assistance to all those affected.
 
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Railway Minister Piyush Goyal expressed "sincere condolences to the family of the victims" and said the railway doctors and personnel are assisting the local authorities grapple with the tragedy.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he was "pained" to hear of the tragedy, and spoke to BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Mumbai Police and instructed them to ensure speedy relief efforts.
 
On the other hand, former Union Minister Milind Deora said it was absolutely unacceptable that the bridge collapsed just six months after a structural audit and demanded a case of murder be lodged against the BMC officials responsible for this negligence.
 
Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan also demanded stringent action against the officials responsible for negligent administration which cost five human lives.
 
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik condoled the deaths and wished speedy recovery to the injured.
 
A foot over bridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station had crashed on September 29, 2017, killing 29 commuters, while on July 3, 2018 when a portion of the foot over bridge crashed on the railway tracks near Andheri station, killing at least one and injuring many more.
 
After the two previous tragedies, the BMC, the Railways and other agencies had carried out a survey of all new and old railway bridges, flyovers, and foot over bridges, to ascertain any dangers and take preventive measures.
 
On account of the falling debris, peak hour traffic towards Byculla and Dadar and beyond was diverted, creating massive snarls across south Mumbai. Rail traffic remained unaffected.
 
Work on removing the debris was on in full swing and the traffic was expected to be restored on the D. N. Road towards north Mumbai shortly, an official said.
 
IANS
 

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Shubhankar, Anriban to lead Indian campaign in $1.75 million Hero Indian Open

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Asian Tour No. 1 Shubhankar Sharma and former champion Anirban Lahiri will spearhead the Indian challenge in the star-studded golfer’s field in the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open to be played on the Gary Player layout at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram near here from March 28-31.
 
The foreign challenge will be led by, among others, Scottish Open champion Brandon Stone, Andrew Johnston – last year’s runner-up of the Hero Indian Open , and Bernd Wiesberger, winner of four European Tour titles.
 
Two-time winner SSP Chawrasia, the resurgent duo of Shiv Kapur and Rahil Gangjee, and youngsters Ajeetesh Sandhu, Viraj Madappa, Khalin Joshi and S Chikkarangappa are likely to add to the Indian challenge in the  tournament.
 
Last year, Andrew Johnston came within a whisker of winning the tournament, rallying from a two-shot deficit in the final round to get into a play-off, before losing to Englishman Matt Wallace.
 
This time, Johnston will be aiming to lift the coveted winner’s trophy, besides treating himself to his favourite Indian dishes.
 
Golf fans will also get to see Brandon Stone, who won the 2018 Scottish Open with a stunning final round of 10-under 60.
 
Also in the fray will be Bernd Wiesberger -- the most successful Austrian player on the European Tour -- who beat European Tour No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood in a play-off at the 2017 Shenzen International. Wiesberger has also been a member of the past two winning European teams at the EurAsia Cup.
 
With less than a couple of weeks to go before the tournament, the entries are still coming in.
 
This edition of the HIO will be the first event since the passing away of its inaugural winner, the legendary Peter Thomson, who also instrumental in making the Indian Open popular.
 
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Thomson, five-time British Open winner, also won the Indian Open three times in 1964, 1966 and 1976. Thomson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988, passed away on June 20, 2018, at the age of 88.
 
The HIO has provided a superb platform for home grown talent to showcase its abilities alongside the top global stars and take a faster path to stardom. The event has nine Indian winners, who among them have won the title 13 times. Since Hero took over the sponsorship in 2005, the previous 13 editions have produced six Indian winners.
 
The Indian winners have been: P.G. Sethi (amateur - 1965); Ali Sher (1991 and 1993); Feroze Ali (1998), Arjun Atwal (1999), Jyoti Randhawa (2000, 2006, 2007); Vijay Kumar (2002); Chinnaswamy Muniyappa ((2009); Anirban Lahiri (2015), SSP Chawrasia (2016, 2017).
 
Talking to mediapersons here on Thursday, J. Narain, Advisor (Sports), Hero MotoCorp, said, “It is great to see such a strong Indian contingent and a world class field at the Hero Indian Open 2019. This will certainly attract more youngsters and budding golfers to come and watch the tournament, which in turn will contribute immensely towards the long-term growth of the game.”
 
"This edition of the Hero Indian Open - golf’s flagship tournament in the country and the longest running international sports event in India – will see some of the most well-known golfers from around the world vie for top honors” he added.
 
Asian Tour Chief Operating Officer Cho Minn Thant said, "Since its inauguration in 1964, the Hero Indian Open has a long history of boasting a stellar field and propelling the careers of the finest talents in the country including tournament winners S. S. P. Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri."
 
India’s number one Shubhankar Sharma came close to winning his National Open with a record-breaking 64 in the second round last year, and the reigning Habitat for Humanity Standings winner is now excelling on the global stage.
 
The 2019 edition will be the 14th consecutive year that Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer and one of the biggest corporate promoters of sports around the world, is supporting the tournament.
 
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3 killed, 34 injured in footbridge collapse near CSMT in Mumbai

At least three people were killed and 34 others injured when a portion of a footbridge came crashing down near Central Railway's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus here on Thursday evening.

A view of the pedestrian bridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, which crashed on March 14, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
A view of the pedestrian bridge near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, which crashed on March 14, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
At least three people were killed and 34 others injured when a portion of a footbridge came crashing down near Central Railway's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus here on Thursday evening.
 
The incident occurred as the bridge was reportedly overloaded with commuters hurrying to their homes, said the BMC Disaster Control Room.
 
The bridge, connecting the CSMT with the B.T. Lane near The Times of India Building and the Anjuman-e-Islam School, is used by thousands of daily commuters rushing to catch the local trains on Central Railway and the Harbour Line.
 
Rescue teams of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Fire Brigade and others are at the site to help the victims.
 
The injured have been rushed to the St. George Hospital and Sion Hospital, said officials.
 
Due to the debris at the site, the peak hour traffic from south Mumbai towards Byculla and Dadar and beyond had been diverted, creating massive snarls across south Mumbai.
 
IANS
 

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Reliance Infra to sell its entire stake in Delhi-Agra (DA) Toll Road Pvt Ltd

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Reliance Infrastructure Limited, a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, today said it had signed a definitive binding agreement with Singapore-based Cube Highways and Infrastructure III Pte Ltd for the sale of its 100% stake in Delhi-Agra (DA) Toll Road Private Limited. 
 
Cube Highways and Infrastructure III Pte Ltd has been set up by global infrastructure fund I Squared Capital and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
 
The total deal enterprise value is over Rs 3,600 crore, a press release from Reliance Infra said.
 
In addition, NHAI claims of Rs. 1,200 crore to be filed by DA Toll Road Pvt. Ltd. will flow directly to Reliance Infrastructure, it said.
 
"Reliance Infrastructure will utilize the proceeds of this transaction entirely to reduce its debt. After the completion of the transaction for Delhi-Agra Toll Road, the debt of Reliance Infrastructure will reduce by 25% to only less than Rs. 5,000 crore," the release said.
 
According to it, the transaction is in line with Reliance Infrastructure’s strategic plan of monetizing non-core business and focus on major growth areas like engineering & construction (E&C) business. 
 
The transaction is subject to all requisite permissions and approvals, the release said.
 
Reliance Infrastructure’s special purpose vehicle (SPV) DA Toll Road Private Limited operates the showpiece 180-km long six-lane road that connects the national capital Delhi with Agra on National Highway (NH) 2. The profitable project has witnessed impressive revenue growth of 25% in FY18. The tolling operation for the heavily-trafficked project started in October 2012 and has a concession period till 2038.
 
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Indian equity market indices open in green

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Despite muted trends in Asian markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened higher.
 
The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which closed at 37,752.17 on Wednesday, opened higher at 37,840.64.
 
Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 37,877.08, up by 124.91 points, or 0.33 per cent.
 
At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader Nifty 50, which closed at 11,341.70 on Wednesday, was quoting at 11,374.90, up by 33.20 points or 0.29 per cent.
 
At 9.21 a.m., as many as 33 stocks advanced in the Nifty 50 index while 17 stocks declined. 
 
In the BSE Sensex 20 stocks, including TCS, Coal India were trading in green while 10 stocks, including ITC, Tata Motors were trading in red.
 
Sensex and Nifty ended higher on Wednesday despite weak global cues from a fresh wave of political scepticism originating from the UK over the defeat of Brexit deal. 
 
However, a sustained inflow of foreign funds aided the gains in the currency, as well as domestic equities.
 
The Sensex was up by 216.51 points or 0.58 per cent at the Wednesday's closing. In the day's trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 37,797.29 and a low of 37,478.87. The Nifty, too was up by 40.50 points or 0.36 per cent.
 
On Thursday, Asian indices were showing a mixed trend. Japan's Nikkei 225 was quoting in green, up by 0.18 per cent; while Hang Seng was trading in red, down by 0.36 per cent; South Korea's Kospi was down by 0.22 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite was also trading red, down by 0.83 per cent.
 
Overnight, Nasdaq closed in green, up by 0.69 per cent while FTSE 100 was also up by 0.11 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex beats Brexit woes to end over 261 pts higher

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Sensex and Nifty ended higher on Wednesday despite weak global cues from a fresh wave of political scepticism originating from the UK over the defeat of Brexit deal.
 
However, a sustained inflow of foreign funds aided the gains in the currency as well as domestic equities.
 
The financial stocks logged strong gains as market saw the NSE Bank Nifty index touch a fresh high of 28,702 points.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex advanced by 216.51 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 37,752.17, while the broader Nifty inched up 40.50 points, or 0.36 per cent, to finish at 11,341.70.
 
"The Brexit woes added volatility in the market but the euphoria in domestic environment supported the indices to stand positive. Domestic inflation continues to undershoot RBI's target level, while weak industrial growth increased the prospects for further action from RBI," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
On the global front, the defeat of Theresa May's latest version of Brexit deal is creating uncertainties in the UK's economic growth, while haven asset like gold inched higher, he added.
 
Among the index leaders were IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank, Bajaj Finance, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India, while the laggards were Bharti Airtel, Vedanta, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel and Tata Motors(DVR).
 
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Markets turn negative within minutes of opening

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The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a slightly positive note during the morning session of the trade but soon turned negative.
 
The Sensex of the BSE opened at 37,608.29, touched a high of 37,639.54, and a low of 37,478.87 points.
 
It was trading at 37,516.51 down by 19.15 points or 0.05 per cent from its Tuesday's close at 37,535.66.
 
On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 11,326.20 after closing at 11,301.20.
 
The Nifty was trading at 11,279 in the morning.
 
IANS
 

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Ambedkar's BBM, MIM tie up for LS poll in Maharashtra

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Bharipa Bahujan Mahsangh (BBM) President Prakash Ambedkar on Tuesday called off seat-sharing talks with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance and announced that his party would contest Maharashtra's 48 Lok Sabha seats along with Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM.
 
Addressing mediapersons at Akola, he said that there was "no point to continue negotiations with the Congress as there would be no positive result".
 
"The Congress keeps telling us that we must fight the Lok Sabha polls as an alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party. But they have already declared 22 candidates. They don't want to give us any representation," Ambedkar, the grandson of B. R. Ambedkar said.
 
Accordingly, the BBM-AIMIM has decided to put up candidates in all 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, he said.
 
This was the second major upset for the Congress on Tuesday after Sujay Vikhe-Patil, son of its Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, joined the ruling BJP and may be fielded from the Vikhe-Patil bastion Ahmednagar.
 
Last year, the BBM and the AIMIM entered into a strategic political tie-up naming it as "Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi" (VBA) which has several Dalit, tribal, Muslim, Dhangar, Koli and Agri community leaders and groups as alliance members.
 
The VBA had demanded at least 12 seats from the Congress-NCP alliance which was prepared to part with only four seats.
 
A worrying factor for the Congress is Ambedkar himself planning to contest against Congress strongman and Dalit leader Sushil Kumar Shinde in his home constituency Solapur.
 
So far the Congress has not officially reacted to the BBM-AIMIM's latest challenge which poses a severe test for the Opposition unity both in Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra Assembly elections due by October.
 
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Sensex 481 pts up, Nifty above 11,300

Expectations of a stable government post the general elections along with a strong foreign fund inflow pushed the key Indian equity indices over 1 per cent up on Tuesday.
 
In just the past two trading sessions, the Sensex has gained close to 900 points. Amid a largely optimistic global and domestic market, the index-pivotal -- NSE Bank Nifty -- hit an all time high contributing to the strong advances witnessed during the trade session. 
 
On the global front, markets are anticipating a positive outcome of the US-China trade negotiations while Jyoti Roy of Angel Broking noted that Brexit may well be a cause of concerns during the next week or two.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex jumped 481.56 points or 1.30 per cent at 37,535.66, while the Nifty gained 133.15 points or 1.19 per cent at 11,301.20.
 
"Market continued the bullish rally as investors are expecting the formation of a stable government at the centre," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
Nair added that CPI inflation figure, which is due on Tuesday, will give more insights about RBI's stance towards further rate cut.
 
Among the gainers were Bharti Airtel, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and Sun Pharma while the top losers in the Sensex pack were Bajaj Finance, Infosys, NTPC, ONGC and Coal India.
 
IANS

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