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Microsoft surpasses Apple to become most valuable US company

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San Francisco, Nov 24: Microsoft has become the most valuable US company with $753.3 billion in market capitalisation, riding past Apple for the first time since 2010 when it came close to the Cupertino-based tech giant.

Apple, which became the first $1-trillion US company in August, came down to $746.8 billion on Friday, owing to lower-than-expected iPhone sales amid reports of its suppliers cutting cost and workforce.

Amazon with $736.6 billion is currently at third and Alphabet (the parent company of Google) with $725.5 billion is at the fourth spot.

“With Microsoft now overshadowing all three, including Alphabet Inc, the firm now looks to be the most valuable tech company of the Silicon Valley giants,” mspoweruser.com reported.

The investors are now betting big on companies with robust Cloud services and software services which are witnessing an increased demand from big and small enterprises the world over for their digital journey, at a time when giants like Facebook and Google face intense scrutiny for users’ data practices.

Riding on its growing Azure Cloud, gaming and Surface laptop portfolio, Microsoft posted a revenue of $29.1 billion and net income of $8.8 billion for the first quarter of its 2019 financial results.

Revenue was up 19 per cent while net income increased by 34 per cent. Operating income was $10 billion and increased 29 per cent.

“We are off to a great start in fiscal 2019, a result of our innovation and the trust customers are placing in us to power their digital transformation,” CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $8.6 billion and increased 24 per cent. Server products and Cloud services revenue increased 28 per cent driven by Azure revenue growth of 76 per cent, Microsoft informed.

Revenue in More Personal Computing was $10.7 billion and increased 15 per cent.

“Windows commercial products and Cloud services revenue increased 12 per cent,” said the company.

Microsoft’s gaming revenue increased 44 per cent with Xbox software and services revenue growth of 36 per cent while Surface revenue increased 14 per cent.

On the other hand, slower-than-expected demand has reportedly led Apple to direct its top phone assemblers, Foxconn and Pegatron, to halt a planned production boost for iPhone XR, a relatively cost-effective model that hit the shelves late last month.

Foxconn, a Taiwan-based company, would produce around 100,000 fewer units daily to reflect the new demand outlook, down 20-25 per cent from the original optimistic outlook, Japanese financial paper Nikkei reported earlier this week.

The estimates of iPhone XR have been cut by nearly 30 million shipments, according to an Apple analyst.

Ming Chi-Kuo, an Apple analyst working with TF International Securities, said earlier this month that shipment forecast for the iPhone XR has been cut from 100 million units to 70 million units during the product lifecycle.

IANS

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Petrol prices increase after 2 months

The cost of petrol increased by 11 paise and 13 paise in Mumbai and Chennai respectively from Wednesday’s levels, to Rs 75.91 and Rs 72.94 per litre.

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Mumbai, Dec 13 : After declining for nearly two months, petrol prices rose marginally on Thursday across three of the four metro cities in the country.

The increase comes after the prices of the fuel declined over 15 per cent in the last two months from the highs recorded in mid-October.

In Delhi, petrol was priced at Rs 70.29 per litre, up from Rs 70.20 recorded on Wednesday, according to data on the Indian Oil Corp’s website.

The cost of petrol increased by 11 paise and 13 paise in Mumbai and Chennai respectively from Wednesday’s levels, to Rs 75.91 and Rs 72.94 per litre.

However, in Kolkata, petrol price dropped 90 paise to Rs 72.38, from Rs 73.28 recorded on Wednesday.

Prices of diesel were unchanged for the second consecutive day in three out of the four metro cities.

In Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, diesel was sold at unchanged prices of Rs 64.66, Rs 67.66 and Rs 68.26, respectively. Meanwhile, in Kolkata the price of diesel fell by Re 1 to Rs 66.40 per litre.

Diesel prices too have declined nearly 15 per cent from the record high levels reached in mid-October.

The rate hike comes amidst stability in crude oil prices as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia last week decided to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day after the continuous fall in oil prices for around two months.

On Thursday, the Brent crude oil futures were around $60.35 per barrel.

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Key Indian equity market indices open in green

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Mumbai, Dec 13: Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices opened higher on Thursday.

The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 35,779.07 points on Wednesday, opened higher at 36,024.88 points.

Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 35,979.33 points, up by 200.26 points, or 0.56 per cent.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 51-scrip Nifty, which had closed at 10,737.60 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 10,807.40 points, up by 69.80 points or 0.65 per cent.

Buying at lower levels and hopes of an easing monitory policy with the appointment of Shaktikanta Das as the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, pushed the key equity indices up.

The Sensex was up by 629.06 points or 1.79 per cent at the Wednesday’s closing. In the day’s trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 35,826.58 points and a low of 35,167.47 points. The Nifty, too, was up by 188.45 points or 1.79 per cent.

On Thursday, Asian indices were showing a positive trend. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was quoting in green, up by 1.13 per cent while Hang Seng was up by 1.43 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi was also up by 0.97 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite index was trading in green, up by 1.50 per cent.

Overnight, Nasdaq closed in green, up by 0.95 per cent while FTSE 100 was also up by 1.08 percent at the closing on Wednesday.

IANS

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RBI is accountable, government runs country: Shaktikanta Das

On the issue of RBI’s reserves, he said a committee to examine it would be constituted shortly and then with the appointment of its Chairman, the terms of reference of the committee would be drawn with fixed timelines.

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Shaktikanta Das

Mumbai, Dec 12 : Declaring that he will uphold the “autonomy, integrity and credibility” of the RBI, newly-appointed Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday that the government is responsible for running the country and the central bank is also accountable.

Briefing reporters here after taking charge as the 25th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Das said that consultations with stakeholders have become fundamental to the central bank’s functioning in view of the complexity of modern day decision-making, and as part of this process he would meet the heads of the Mumbai-based state-run banks on Thursday.

Meetings with public sector banks outside Mumbai would follow “after some days”, he added.

“The RBI is a great institution and I will try my best to uphold its autonomy, identity and values. The autonomy, integrity and credibility is very important for this great institution and it will remain intact,” he assured.

In response to queries on the recent government-RBI tiff culminating in the resignation of Urjit Patel as Governor, Das refused to go into contentious issues.

“I do not like to go into whatever the issues or what are the issues between government which runs the country and the RBI, but every institution has to have its professional integrity, maintain its professional autonomy. At the same time, every institution also must adhere to the principles of accountability,” he said.

“Government is not just a stakeholder but I mean the government of the day runs the economy, runs the country and manages major policy decisions.

“There has to be a free, fair, objective and very frank discussion between the government and the RBI. And, I believe that all issues, however contentious, can be resolved through discussions,” he added.

Das, who holds post graduation degree in history from the Delhi University, unlike his predecessors Urjit Patel and Raghuram Rajan, who were economists of repute, said the RBI board meeting would be held on Friday (December 14) as scheduled.

“We will hold the central board meeting as planned on December 14 and go through the agenda and discuss the various issues that are listed,” he said.

Das took charge as the RBI Governor a day after Urjit Patel resigned amidst a tiff with the Central government on the issue of RBI’s autonomy. Das had steered the monetary situation post-demonetisation as the Economic Affairs Secretary.

On the issue of RBI’s reserves, he said a committee to examine it would be constituted shortly and then with the appointment of its Chairman, the terms of reference of the committee would be drawn with fixed timelines.

Das said he does not want to discuss individual issues as he intends to settle down first and study the issues before taking any decision. On capital requirement in the economy, he said he is open to discussing all issues within the ambit of RBI.

“After the amendment of the RBI Act, the inflation targeting continues to be very important and it’s very heartening to note that inflation broadly is as per the targets and inflation outlook also looks fairly benign at this stage, but we have to be very watchful of the developments,” he said.

Health of public sector banks, liquidity issue and maintenance of growth trajectory of Indian economy are some of the important issues for which he would interact with stakeholders and get an internal feedback before taking a view on these, he said.

Unlike his immediate predecessor Patel, who the government officials alleged had little stakeholder consultations, Das said consultation with all stakeholders always adds value to understanding and his top priority is the banking sector.

“To begin with, I have convened a meeting with the MDs and CEOs of the public sector banks based in Mumbai tomorrow. Banking is an important segment of our economy and is currently facing several challenges which are of critical importance and they need to be dealt with.”

He will follow it up with similar consultations with the state-run banks from outside Mumbai and still later with the chiefs of private sector banks to understand the issues relating to them.

“This is a general consultation. There is no fixed agenda,” he said denying that RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework, a measure to check banks’ financial health, would be discussed. Currently, 11 out of 21 public sector banks are barred from lending.

Looking forward to working with the officers and staff of the RBI, Das said he always found RBI officers possessing inherent core competence and professionalism to deal with any technical issue.

“I will work as a team with other officials here (RBI) in the best interest of the economy,” he said. Das is a retired 1980-batch IAS officer from Tamil Nadu cadre.

Immediately prior to his current assignment, Das was acting as 15th Finance Commission member and G-20 Sherpa of India. In last 38 years, Das held important positions in Central and state governments in areas of finance, taxation, industries and infrastructure.

IANS

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