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Global markets under pressure over fear of coronavirus spread

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Mumbai, Jan 24 : Fears that the outbreak of coronavirus in China may disrupt economic activity and global growth has sent the stock markets tumbling.

Chinese health authorities on Friday said that 830 cases of pneumonia caused by coronavirus were confirmed in 29 provincial-level regions in the country. The pneumonia has so far claimed 25 lives.

A sharp adverse reaction from Asian, US and European markets was witnessed because China is entering one of its busiest travel periods on account of its Lunar New Year holiday. The virus outbreak could hurt demand.

On Thursday, Chinese stock markets logged its biggest slide in eight months. However, Indian markets closed higher as the oil prices plunged significantly. The global oil benchmark, Brent slipped to $62 a barrel as the virus outbreak in China may dent fuel demand.

Meanwhile official sources told IANS that though over 500 Indian students study in Wuhan city’s medical colleges and universities, most of them had left for home for the Chinese New Year holidays.

Deaths due to the virus have revived memories of the SARS epidemic, caused by a coronavirus, which killed nearly 800 people and infected more than 8,000 others across the world in 2002-2003.

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Vodafone Idea plunges 16%, now less than Rs 3 a stock

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Mumbai, Feb 18 : Vodafone Idea scrips on Tuesday plunged over 16 per cent to trade below Rs 3 a stock after India Ratings downgraded its rating on non-convertible debentures of Rs 3,500 crore citing stress on the company’s near-term liquidity post the Supreme Court’s ruling.

From a 52 week high of Rs 35.30 a stock that Vodafone Idea logged on March 13, 2019, it has now fallen below Rs 3 a share on Tuesday as its survival has come under question after the apex court ruling on February 14 directing the telcos to pay the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) related liabilities to the government next month.

With the government mulling the possibilities of invoking bank guarantees of the telcos to recover the statutory dues, Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on Tuesday met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash on the AGR payment issue after paying Rs 2,500 crore on Monday.

The company had urged the court that the bank guarantee deposited with the government by Vodafone Idea should also not be encashed. Birla has maintained that without relief on the AGR payout, it may not be possible to continue as a going concern.

The company in a regulatory filing said that “India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), has downgraded its rating on Non-Convertible Debentures of Rs 3,500 crore of erstwhile Vodafone Mobile Services Limited (since merged with the Company)”.

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Bill Gates Is Driving a Porsche Taycan. Here’s Why He Didn’t Get a Tesla

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San Francisco, Feb 18 : Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday took a jibe at Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates after the world’s second richest man declared he has bought his first EV — Porsche Taycan.

Gates told a noted YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee in an interview that he purchased his first-ever EV Porsche Taycan, calling the vehicle “very, very cool”.

“My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh (to be honest),” Musk tweeted to a user.

The initial EV Porsche Taycan Turbo S model starts at $185,000 while the entry-level Tesla Model 3 starts from $35,000.

In the interview, Brownlee asked Gates about his thoughts on Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle market.

Gates acknowledged that Tesla is the cream of the crop when it comes to electric cars, adding that lots of manufacturers are moving to produce electric vehicles because Tesla’s appeal has been increased over the past few years.

“Tesla, if you had to name one company, that’s helped drive that, it’s them,” said Gates.

You can watch the complete interview here:

Musk has been tweeting his thoughts about tech honchos.

He recently questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and called Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos a “copycat”.

Gates recently commissioned a $644 million hydrogen-powered superyacht. The plans of buying the superyacht were unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show in December last year.

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Network18, TV18 stocks rise after consolidation announcement

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Mumbai, Feb 18 (IANS) Shares of Network18, TV18, Hathway and Den Networks surged on Tuesday after Reliance Industries’ announcement of consolidating the four entities into Network18.

Late on Monday evening, RIL announced a consolidation of its media and distribution businesses spread across multiple entities into Network18 and said that its stake in Network18 will reduce from 75 per cent to 64 per cent upon implementation of the scheme.

At 10.30 a.m., stocks of Network18 on the BSE were at Rs 30.05, higher by 4.89 from the previous close, and shares of TV18 were 14.12 per cent higher at Rs 28.70 per share.

Hathway Cable Datacom was at Rs 23.10 up 20 per cent, and stocks of Den Networks were up nearly 10 per cent at Rs 59.50 per share.

In its statement on Monday, RIL said: “The appointed date for the merger shall be February 1, 2020. The Board of Directors of the respective companies approved the scheme of amalgamation and arrangement at their meetings held today.”

The broadcasting business will be housed in Network18 and the cable and ISP businesses in two separate wholly owned subsidiaries of Network18. The company said that the restructuring would create value-chain integration, and render substantial economies of scale.

Post the consolidation, Network18 will be an integrated media and distribution company with a revenue of Rs 8,000 crore and will scale-up as one of the largest listed players in the sector, according to the company. Network18 will be net-debt free at consolidated level, providing a solid base for growth as well as improved shareholder returns, the statement said.

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