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Top News Today: First All-Female Spacewalk, Reliance Q2 Results, RBI & Fed Likely to Cut Rates Again

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Oct 19, 2019 8:10 AM 5 min read
Editorial

Vehicle sales numbers sourced from Ministry data by two industry bodies paint different pictures of Auto slowdown. SEBI issues stricter norms for auditors. Reliance reports highest-ever quarterly consolidated profits, stock surges to record high. Central Banks of both India and the US likely to cut interest rates again. Alphabet-owned company Wing begins making first commercial drone deliveries in the US. African countries employ drones to connect remote regions with world’s first malaria vaccine. US-China trade deal by mid-November, Trump says. A defining day for the UK. NASA astronauts make history with first all-female spacewalk.

 

Moving on to today's End-of-Day Wrap-up:

 

 

INDIA

Vehicle sales numbers sourced from Ministry data by two industry bodies paint different pictures of Auto slowdown.

Two Roads Diverged in a Data Wood: The Auto industry is battling the worst slowdown in decades. Now it also faces the conundrum of divergent data. Figures from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ VAHAN dashboard, which was shared by SIAM, showed an uptick in registration of passenger vehicles and two-wheelers in September. But data sourced from the same site by the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Associations less than a week later showed a double-digit decline in retail numbers. SIAM executives and officials from the National Informatics Centre will reportedly meet on Monday to address the discrepancy. ET Auto

SEBI issues stricter norms for auditors.

Regulatory Action: Following a series of resignations by auditors days prior to the announcement of quarterly results (an all-time high of 35 in the first half of this FY), SEBI has said auditors of listed companies will have to issue a limited review or audit report if they resign within 45 days before the end of a quarter. The move is aimed at fixing greater accountability. Livemint

 

RIL RESULTS

Reliance reports highest-ever quarterly consolidated profits, stock surges to record high.

Green Arrow, Pointing to the Sky: India’s most valuable company by market capitalisation has reported its highest-ever quarterly consolidated profit of INR11,262cr in Q2FY20. Reliance Industries’ profit grew 11.46% and 18.34% Y-o-Y while consolidated revenue increased 3.63% Y-o-Y. The numbers, aided by higher other income and lower tax costs, beat analysts’ expectations and pushed the stock up 1.37% to end at a record high of INR1,415.30. Moneycontrol
 
Sector Talk: Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani said the results reflected the growth of RIL’s oil-to-chemicals business. Retail and digital were two other sectors that propelled Reliance up. The petrochemicals segment, meanwhile, experienced a decline due to weaker product margins offset by record production and cost-optimisation. Financial Express

 

RATE CUTS

Central Banks of both India and the US likely to cut interest rates again.

From India...: The minutes of the latest Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting show that members are unanimous in their view that keeping interest rates low is imperative to boost the slowing economy. The view mirrors RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das’s recent statement that the Central Bank would maintain its accommodative monetary policy stance. The RBI has cut interest rates five consecutive times so far this year. BS
 
...To the USA: Meanwhile, halfway around the globe, the US Federal Reserve seems to be gearing up to cut rates again ahead of its next policy meeting. “Global growth estimates continue to be marked down, and global disinflationary pressures cloud the outlook for U.S. Inflation,” the Fed’s vice chairman, Richard Clarida, said on Friday. Another quarter-point rate cut at the end of this month would lower the rate to between 1.5% and 1.75%. NYT
 

DRONE TECH

Alphabet-owned company Wing begins making first commercial drone deliveries in the US.

Game of Drones: Earlier this year, Alphabet-owned drone delivery spin-out Wing became the first such company to get the Federal green signal to deliver to customers. Now, Wing is all-set to execute its first drone delivery and the town where the pilot will take place will be Christianburg, Virginia. The first customers are Michael and Kelly Collver, and they will get a “cough and cold pack” delivered via drone. For the project, Alphabet has teamed up with Walgreens and FedEx, which will become the first logistics provider to deliver an e-commerce drone delivery with a separate shipment. TechCrunch

African countries employ drones to connect remote regions with world’s first malaria vaccine.

Dose of Drones: Immunisation campaigns have been remarkably successfully in Africa after national vaccination campaigns implemented better delivery systems with the help of cutting-edge technology. Now, African countries face one of their biggest tests yet with the rollout of the world’s first malaria vaccine. To ensure success, Malawi, Ghana and Kenya are partnering with package-delivery and logistics companies like UPS and Zipline to ensure that children receive all four shots of the vaccine – via drones. WSJ

 

WORLD

US-China trade deal by mid-November, Trump says.

A Thaw?: After the so-called phase one of the deal was announced last week, US President Donald Trump has said that he thinks a comprehensive trade deal will be signed by mid-November, around the time the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings begin in Chile. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will provide his country’s prospective on the progress of the talks on Saturday, according to Beijing’s state media. Reuters

A defining day for the UK.

Boris in London: It’s a historic day for the UK. The British Prime Minister faces Parliament today, where he will try to sell his Brexit deal to MPs. A vote will be held today on the deal, too, and while reports suggest Johnson could be headed for defeat – the Opposition has rallied against his deal, his coalition partner has decried it, and the previous deal was defeated by a resounding margin of 230 votes – things may change in the next few hours. These include EU leaders’ calls on British MPs to back the deal, the European Commission leader’s warning that another extension was off the table, and the threat of a no-deal exit, which Johnson is very much willing to pursue. FT

NASA astronauts make history with first all-female spacewalk.

ICYMI: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history a few hours ago as the first women to participate in an all-female spacewalk. They ventured into space to replace a faulty battery unit, and their spacewalk lasted 7 hours and 17 minutes. NBC News

 

FIN.

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