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Bank of Baroda forex scam: CBI searches 10 locations

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The Central Bureau of Investigation has conducted searches at 10 locations in India’s National Capital Region (NCR) region in connection with the case of alleged illegal remittances to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore to Hong Kong and Dubai from a branch of Bank of Baroda.CBI spokesperson said on Sunday that searches were carried out at the offices and residential premises of certain suspects in the case.

“It was found during the investigation that around 8,500 foreign remittance transactions were made from 59 bank accounts (approx) of various firms/companies against import of goods and software from Hong Kong and Dubai.

“The investigation revealed further involvement of around 11 private persons/entities (companies), ” she said.

The official said that about Rs 40 lakh in cash, rubber stamps of around 44 different companies, 15 PAN cards and various documents were recovered during the searches along with pen drives and hard drives.

“In addition, foreign currencies of China, the US, Europe, UAE, Nigeria, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka were also found. The documents are being scrutinised,” she said.

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Over 50% luxury homes launched in last 3 years stays unsold

In the Rs 3-5 crore price bracket, 56 per cent of the 8,503 units launched during this period are awaiting buyers.

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New Delhi, April 7 : Demand for luxury homes stays muted as more than half of the high-end units launched in the past three years in over nine prime Indian residential markets have remain unsold, according to a report by PropTiger.com.

The data, available with Elara Technologies-owned real estate portal, shows of the 1,131 housing units, priced over Rs 7 crore and launched between December 2016 and December 2019, 577 units or 51 per cent were unsold as of January 2020.

Similarly, of the 3,656 units, priced between Rs 5 crore and Rs 7 crore and launched in the past three years, nearly 55 per cent are unsold.

In the Rs 3-5 crore price bracket, 56 per cent of the 8,503 units launched during this period are awaiting buyers.

According to PropTiger.com report, Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has the highest number of unsold luxury units at 30,015, followed by Hyderabad (8,554) and Bengaluru (5,794).

Compared with 2017, new launches in the luxury segment declined in the most price brackets across the nine markets.

“In the Rs 1-3 crore price bracket, for example, 29,775 units were launched in 2019 against 29,996 homes in 2018. In the Rs 5-7 crore price bracket, only 859 units were launched last year against 1,536 homes in 2018,” it said.

Similarly, in the Rs 7 crore plus range, only 34 units were launched in 2019 against 542 homes in 2018. However, in the Rs 3-5 crore bracket, new launches increased from 2,675 in 2018 to 3,092 last year.

The study covered cities like Ahmedabad, including Gandhinagar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram (including Bhiwadi, Dharuhera and Sohna), Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (including Navi Mumbai and Thane), Pune and Noida (including Greater Noida, Noida Extension and Yamuna Expressway).

“The demand for luxury homes fell post-demonetisation, and the trend has not changed much. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to further impact demand across the residential realty sector in the first half of FY21, including luxury housing,” said Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, PropTiger.com.

He, however, expects renewed interest from NRIs in the luxury housing segment if the value of the Indian rupee continues to fall.

“The Indian currency recently fell beyond Rs 77 against the US dollar. This puts NRI homebuyers in an advantageous position as they would find buying luxury homes a relatively more attractive investment option than before,” he said.

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US stocks end lower as market momentum evaporates

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New York, April 8 : US equities surrendered their earlier gains to finish lower as market momentum eased in late session.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26.13 points, or 0.12 per cent, to close at 22,653.86. The S&P 500 was down 4.27 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 2,659.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 25.98 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 7,887.26, reported Xinhua news agency reported

The major averages rallied earlier in the session with the 30-stock index surging more than 900 points at the highs.

On the data front, small-business owners’ confidence in the U.S. economy dropped by the most ever in March as the coronavirus outbreak devastates the economy, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 8.1 points in March to 96.4, the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history, the group said Tuesday in a report.

Investors digested latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 386,000 confirmed cases have been reported in the United States, with 12,285 deaths, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Wall Street’s three major indexes closed up more than 7 percent on Monday, amid hopes for development in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Cash is King – Conserve Cash

When this better time would come is yet another dilemma. I believe that in about 4 to 6 weeks’ time the world would have come out of COVID-19 and we would be in a better frame of mind. Till then follow the old adage — CASH IS KING.

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rupee dollar

The markets were under pressure in the week gone by and lost on three of the four trading days. BSESENSEX was down 2,224.84 points or 7.46 per cent at 27,590.75 points whilst NIFTY was down 576.45 points or 6.66 per cent at 8,083.80 points.

The top gaining sector was BSEHEALTHCARE which was up 6.59 per cent while the top losing sector was BSEBANKEX down 13.98 per cent. In individual stocks, the top gainer was Lupin, up 19.74 per cent at Rs 655. The top loser was IndusInd Bank, down 23.78 per cent at Rs 313.25.

The Indian Rupee was under terrific pressure and lost Rs 1.33 or 1.78 per cent to close at Rs 76.22 to the US Dollar. Dow Jones continued its wild swings and lost 584.25 points or 2.70 per cent to close at 21,052.53 points.

Singapore has decided to lockdown from 7th April till the end of the month. SGX or Singapore Stock Exchange would continue to function as it is part of essential services.

SEBI has barred promoters from buying their own shares as the new quarter has started. The insider trading rules debar promoters from buying shares until 48 hours after the results have been declared. This time around they have extended the reporting time of the quarter for declaring results of March 2020 quarter. There was some confusion in media about this being a new rule and there were voices of dissent. There is no such thing and the only reason it has been announced is that with an extended period for declaring results, any management/promoter wanting to buy shares of its company needs to declare results first as was the case always.

COVID-19 continues to be the sore trouble spot for India and the world. The death toll and the number of COVID-19 affected persons is rapidly rising. The number of affected persons globally has risen to over 12.03 lakh patients, while the death toll is at 64,754. In India the number has risen sharply for affected persons to 3,588 and the death toll to 99. In India there has been a very sharp spike in the last couple of days after people who had attended a religious congregation in Delhi are being tracked down and found to be COVID-19 affected. This could be a setback to India’s efforts to contain the virus and may result in the planned lockdown being extended or lifted in a more gradual and phased manner.

Money market timings have been reduced with effect from 7th April and it may be a good idea if the same timings are also extended to the capital market. Volumes in the market have reduced significantly and reduced timings would help the market in reducing volatility as well. Whether the regulator would take heed of the suggestion or not is anybody’s guess but I am sure the market community would be most happy and welcome the suggestion.

Coming to the markets, it has become quite a norm for markets to take one step forward and two steps backward. There is no direction or logic in what’s happening. They lose ground and then there is some recovery. Sector after sector is losing ground and the fall in prices is having a cascading effect on margin calls and revocation of pledged shares as well. The fall in prices of Future Retail saw a broker on the exchanges close shop after firing all its employees. Incidentally the brokerage firm India Nivesh had a former CFO/CEO of Future group as its Managing Director for its Wealth Management arm. Quite surprising that a Former insider of the Biyani group could get so badly trapped in Future group share slide. It could also be that this is the tip of the iceberg on this chapter and more events would unfold shortly.

The current levels at which the markets are attractive enough to invest in selectively. However, the global environment is not conducive and the news flow certainly not heartening. Therefore even though one is tempted looking at the prices, it makes sense to just stay away and wait for better times. When this better time would come is yet another dilemma. I believe that in about 4 to 6 weeks’ time the world would have come out of COVID-19 and we would be in a better frame of mind. Till then follow the old adage — CASH IS KING.

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