Archive for the ‘News’ category

AmerisourceBergen Selects IBM to Manage IT Infrastructure

October 1st, 2014

IBM today announced that it has extended, by three years, its multiyear services agreement with AmerisourceBergen, one of the largest global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services companies in the world. IBM will manage the IT infrastructure that supports the company’s 13,000 employees and operations across 25 of its distribution centers in North America.Outsourcing44

Offering services ranging from drug distribution and niche premium logistics to reimbursement and pharmaceutical consulting services, AmerisourceBergen helps healthcare providers and pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers improve patient access to their products. Its critical business applications and global processes – such as the timely movement of products across the supply chain – must run seamlessly and without interruption. The company turned to IBM because of its highest standards in availability, performance, reliability and security.

“Working with IBM provides us the capabilities we need to drive innovation in our business and to do so quickly and in the most cost effective way,” said Dale Danilewitz, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, AmerisourceBergen. “This new agreement is an extension of our partnership with IBM, which will enable us to quickly deploy and capitalize on new technologies and IT services models.”

Among the benefits of the relationship, AmerisourceBergen will have the ability to access IBM’s industry-leading capabilities in areas such as cloud for new workloads and advanced analytics to address opportunities across its business.

“Looking forward, we plan to further expand our relationship by bringing together IBM’s deep expertise in the healthcare industry, our global reach and innovative technologies to provide AmerisourceBergen with additional skills and capabilities that enhance its ability to run and grow its business,” said Philip Guido, General Manager, Global Technology Services, IBM North America.

Gartner, Inc., a leading global IT research firm, has recognized IBM as a leader in the “Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Infrastructure Utility Services, North America” report(1). IBM was positioned the highest for ability to execute.

“We believe IBM’s ability to execute is based on our cloud leadership, as well as our focused strategy on mobile, social and security – which are further fueled by extensive R&D and technology investments in analytics and automation,” added Guido. “These are key differentiators that enable IBM to seamlessly integrate and orchestrate infrastructure services across hybrid IT environments spanning both traditional and cloud models.”

(1) Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Data Center Outsourcing and Infrastructure Utility Services, North America, William Maurer, David Edward Ackerman, Bryan Britz, July 31, 2014

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.


Why is Indian outward FDI shying away from South Asia?

October 1st, 2014

THERE have been promises of greater Indian investment in South Asia for a long time. A report produced by the Asian DevelopmenOutsourcing43t Bank (ADB) in 2007 argued that India would play a key role in investing in South Asia and this in turn will stimulate intra-regional trade in the region. The report made special reference to the rapidly growing Indian IT industry and identified it as a potential investor in South Asia. The ADB argued that business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, call centres and other IT related sub-contracting would shift to regional countries as a response to increased costs of doing business in India.

It predicted that a somewhat similar experience to Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to ASEAN countries in the 1980s — the so-called ‘flying geese’ phenomenon, whereby industries are first established in more developed countries then move progressively to less developed ones — would be seen in South Asia with FDI from the Indian IT sector taking the lead. But this hardly happened over the last five years, with Indian IT investors preferring countries like the US, the UK and Singapore for investment rather than other South Asian countries.

The total FDI outflow from India to the rest of the world increased from US$ 20 million in the early 1990s to US$ 15 billion by 2011, albeit with some fluctuations. India is the largest investor among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries in South Asia but the regional share of Indian outward FDI has declined continuously from 4.5 per cent in 2003–2004 to a mere 0.1 per cent in 2006–2007. Generally, FDI from large developing countries like China and Brazil is heavily concentrated in other developing countries. But during the past decade, the destination of Indian FDI has shifted in favour of developed countries and transitional economies. This has partly contributed to the decline in the South Asian share.

A study of Indian outward investment by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2004 identified four reasons why Indian FDI generally flows to developed countries. First, Indian firms are looking for international brand names, for instance, Ranbaxy Technologies acquiring the French firm RPG Aventis in 2003 and Tata Tea acquiring UK-based Tetley Tea in 2000. Second, access to technology and knowledge has been a strategic consideration for Indian firms seeking to strengthen their competitiveness and to move up the production value chain; one example of this would be Wipro acquiring the American firm Nerve Wire Inc.

Third, the success of Indian service providers in outsourcing IT Services, BPO and call centres by firms in developed countries has exposed them to knowledge and methods of conducting international business, which in turn has induced outward FDI with demonstration and spill over benefits. Fourth, securing natural resources has become an important driver for Indian outward FDI. For example, Hindalco acquired two copper mines in Australia, and ONGC has bought a 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-I oil and gas field in Russia. All these factors point to Indian firms wanting to develop a portfolio of locational assets as a source of international competitiveness and visibility.

But, leaving aside these factors, the general business climate in the South Asian region is also a factor that discourages Indian FDI. Most South Asian countries rank low in indicators of the ease of doing business although they still possess the comparative advantage of low labour costs. Regional countries also fear Indian domination and therefore are much friendlier to non-Indian sources of FDI. For example, in Bangladesh in the early 2000s, the Indian group Tata’s proposal to invest US$3.6 billion in a urea fertiliser plant and a steel mill and the Mittal Group’s proposal to invest US$2.5 billion in a steel mill, both fell apart due to domestic political developments.

In Sri Lanka, the Indian Amul Company came to the market in 1997 for liquid milk production and functioned till 2000, and then pulled out its investment due to trade union hostilities in the factory incited by the milk powder import lobby in Sri Lanka. In the Maldives, the GMR Group of India, which embarked on an airport modernization project in 2010, had to exit the project due to unilateral termination by the Maldivian government in 2012. The point to be noted is that in general, there is a non-friendly attitude (not necessarily hostile) towards Indian FDI in the region.

With low intra-regional trade (5 per cent), the trade-investment nexus is weak in the SAARC region. Perhaps it is time to make investment liberalization a priority item on the SAARC agenda if more Indian outward FDI is to be seen in the region. More broadly, there also needs to be a change in attitude both from India and its neighbours if more investment from India is to flow to the South Asian region.

The writer is the Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka.


Is Google Making Students Stupid?

October 1st, 2014

One of the oldest metaphors for human interaction with technology is the relationship of master and slave. Aristotle imagined that technology could replace slavery if devices like the loom became automated. In the 19th century, Oscar Wilde foresaw a future when machines performed all dull and unpleasant labor, freeing humanity to amuse itself by “making beautiful things,” or simply Outsourcing39“contemplating the world with admiration and delight.” Marx and Engels saw things differently. “Masses of laborers are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine,” they wrote in the Communist Manifesto. Machines had not saved us from slavery; they had become a means of enslavement.

Today, computers often play both roles. Nicholas Carr, the author of the 2008 Atlantic cover story “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, confronts this paradox in his new book, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, analyzing the many contemporary fields in which software assists human cognition, from medical diagnostic aids to architectural modeling programs. As its title suggests, the book also takes a stand on whether such technology imprisons or liberates its users. We are increasingly encaged, he argues, but the invisibility of our high-tech snares gives us the illusion of freedom. As evidence, he cites the case of Inuit hunters in northern Canada. Older generations could track caribou through the tundra with astonishing precision by noticing subtle changes in winds, snowdrift patterns, stars, and animal behavior. Once younger hunters began using snowmobiles and GPS units, their navigational prowess declined. They began trusting the GPS devices so completely that they ignored blatant dangers, speeding over cliffs or onto thin ice. And when a GPS unit broke or its batteries froze, young hunters who had not developed and practiced the wayfinding skills of their elders were uniquely vulnerable.

Carr includes other case studies: He describes doctors who become so reliant on decision-assistance software that they overlook subtle signals from patients or dismiss improbable but accurate diagnoses. He interviews architects whose drawing skills decay as they transition to digital platforms. And he recounts frightening instances when commercial airline pilots fail to perform simple corrections in emergencies because they are so used to trusting the autopilot system. Carr is quick to acknowledge that these technologies often do enhance and assist human skills. But he makes a compelling case that our relationship with them is not as positive as we might think.

Something meant to expedite a task winds up being an indispensable technology.
All of this has unmistakable implications for the use of technology in classrooms: When do technologies free students to think about more interesting and complex questions, and when do they erode the very cognitive capacities they are meant to enhance? The effect of ubiquitous spell check and AutoCorrect software is a revealing example. Psychologists studying the formation of memories have found that the act of generating a word in your mind strengthens your capacity to remember it. When a computer automatically corrects a spelling mistake or offers a drop-down menu of options, we’re no longer forced to generate the correct spelling in our minds.

This might not seem very important. If writers don’t clutter their minds with often-bizarre English spelling conventions, this might give them more energy to consider interesting questions of style and structure. But the process of word generation is not just supplementing spelling skills; it’s also eroding them. When students find themselves without automated spelling assistance, they don’t face the prospect of freezing to death, as the Inuits did when their GPS malfunctioned, but they’re more likely to make errors.

The solution might seem to be improving battery life and making spelling assistance even more omnipresent, but this creates a vicious cycle: The more we use the technology, the more we need to use it in all circumstances. Suddenly, our position as masters of technology starts to seem more precarious.

Relying on calculators to perform arithmetic has had similar risks and benefits. Automating the time-consuming work of multiplying and dividing large numbers by hand can allow students to spend time and energy on more complex mathematical subjects. But depending on calculators in classrooms can also lead students to forget how to do the operations that the machines perform. Once again, something meant to expedite a task winds up being an indispensable technology.

The phenomenon is not specific to modern technologies; the same concern appears in Plato’s Phaedrus, where a character in the dialogue worries about the effects of the phonetic alphabet: “This discovery … will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.” Automating almost any task can rob us of an ability.

The difference today is the sheer breadth of mental tasks that have been outsourced to machines. Carr describes a 2004 study in which two groups of subjects played a computer game based on the logic puzzle Missionaries and Cannibals. Solving the puzzle required figuring out how to transport five missionaries and five cannibals across a river in a boat that could hold only three passengers. The cannibals, for self-evident reasons, could not outnumber missionaries on either of the riverbanks or in the boat.

The more we use the technology, the more we need to use it in all circumstances.
The first group of players used a sophisticated software program that offered prompts and guidance on permissible moves in given scenarios. The second group used a simple program that gave no assistance. Initially, those using the helpful software made rapid progress, but over time those using the more basic software made fewer wrong moves and solved the puzzle more efficiently. The psychologist running the study concluded that those who received less assistance were more likely to develop a better understanding of the game’s rules and strategize accordingly.

As all good teachers know, students need to experience confusion and struggle in order to internalize certain principles. That’s why teachers avoid rushing in to assist students at the first hint of incomprehension. It’s neither necessary nor possible to abolish calculators and spellcheck programs in classrooms, but periodically removing these tools can help ensure that students use technology in order to free their minds for more interesting tasks—not because they can’t spell or compute without assistance.

Carr notes that the word “robot” derives from robota, a Czech term for servitude. His book is a valuable reminder that if we don’t carefully examine the process that makes us dependent on technology, our position in the master-servant relationship can become the opposite of what we imagine.


Aegis wins Rs 200 crore Punjab National Bank BPO deal

October 1st, 2014

Aegis, the business process outsourcing arm of the Essar Group, signed a deal to take over the customer service aspects of Punjab National BankBSE 0.33 % including the new business created by the Prime Minister’s push for financial inclusion. Outsourcing38

The five-year deal will offer customer support services from Aegis’ centres in Gurgaon and Bhopal and will initially have 500 people. This will be scaled up to 1500 people over the course of the contract. Aegis did not disclose the size of the contract, but a source informed of deal said it was close to Rs 200 crores.

“Creation of schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojana and the push for financial inclusion will create increased demand in the banking sector. I think that the boom that happened in the telecom sector will be replicated in financial services,” Sandip Sen, CEO of Aegis told ET.

Sen added the company had three-four such deals in the pipeline and expected at least two to close in the next couple of months.

Aegis said that it has won over 12 banking BPO deals in the last 18 months.


Managers ignore outsourcing risk

October 1st, 2014

Outsourcing rests on a law of comparative advantage. That foundation has grown truer as fund managers have focused on trading, financing and investing assets while custodians have concentrated on gathering, safekeeping and servicing them.Outsourcing42

On the sterner test, of whether fund managers and custodians have captured the potential gains from the transactions agreed between them, outsourcing is a failure.

Every outsourcing is bespoke. Some buyside middle and back-office operations have seen nothing change but the branding. Others have yet to transfer every function agreed at the outset. The exact combination of custody, fund accounting, transfer agency, securities financing, reporting and performance measurement varies in every case. There is no standardisation of platforms and processes, and so no economies of scale.

Costs are visible only in the sense that managers pay invoices. They have minimal understanding of the costs custodians have incurred, onshore and off, and in purchasing services from third parties. Managers assume that, by spreading the costs across multiple clients, custodians keep them lower than they would otherwise be. In reality, custodians have cut their prices but not their costs, so these are bound to rise again.

Outsourcing, like any contract, also generates unexpected costs. Data needs reformatting. Reconciliations are manual. Entire asset classes (repos, swaps, contracts for difference) are standard-free zones. The division of labour between fund managers, distributors, custodians, transfer agents and order-routing networks remains chaotic and costly. In its inability to banish daily frictions and frustrations, the average outsourcing is more like a bad marriage than a mutually rewarding partnership.

Now regulators are tightening their stance on outsourcing. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive I and II oblige managers not to outsource in ways that increase operational or compliance risks. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has now taken the lead in urging managers to plan ahead for the failure of a custodian bank to which they have outsourced critical functions.

However, far from prompting fund managers and custodians to rethink outsourcing, FCA intervention has created a blizzard of business-speak about oversight, governance, control, exit planning and business continuity. In its resolute refusal to face reality, a report from the Outsourcing Working Group formed by fund managers and global custodians represents the apogee of this brand of thinking.

Managers quizzed about risk are content to argue that it is impossible to mitigate, on the grounds that a major outsourcing would take 18 to 24 months to shift to a new provider. Managers believe either that no custodian will ever get into trouble in isolation (so planning a transition is pointless) or that resolution and recovery plans drawn up by regulators will keep a failed service provider in business long enough for an alternative to be found.

Yet reality cannot be obscured. Fund managers are dependent on custodians to maintain registers of investors, collect subscriptions, pay redemptions, value funds, safekeep assets, collect entitlements, clear and settle trades, post collateral, and populate reports to regulators and investors. Much of this work is carried out in offshore locations whose vulnerabilities are unknown to the fund manager. If its custodian failed, no manager could continue in business.

An industry which took its responsibilities seriously would want to address that risk. Maximising the standardisation of data exchanges and operational processes would permit data to be captured by back-up facilities, facilitate transitions and offer the immediate bonus of gains in efficiency. It is also a lot cheaper than adopting the Bridgewater solution of full duplication and much less risky to the status quo than building a co-operatively owned and managed utility. Fund managers should act before regulators (or investors) act for them.

• Dominic Hobson is founder of COOConnect, a peer group network for fund management chief operating officers


Sensex, Nifty end down; Strides Arcolab up 6%, IT gains

September 30th, 2014

The market ended volatile session on a flat note. The Sensex is down 29.21 points at 26597.11 and the Nifty down 9.95 points at 7958.90. About 1857 shares have advanced, 1088 shares declined and 100 shares were unchanged.Outsourcing41

IT and pharma stocks were on buyers radar while banks, metals and FMCG were down. TCS, Sun Pharma, GAIL, Infosys and Hindalco were top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers were Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite, Coal India, ICICI Bank and ITC.

03:15 pm Currency movements: The dollar hit its highest in almost two years against the euro with German inflation data expected to keep pressure on the ECB to ease monetary policy further, while unrest in Hong Kong hurt Asian-exposed European shares.

The dollar was broadly stronger, hitting a four-year high against a basket of currencies, a six-year peak against the yen and a 13-month high against the New Zealand dollar. Reserve Bank of New Zealand data showed the central bank intervened last month to speed its currency’s descent.

Data on Friday showing higher US growth in the second quarter fuelled speculation that a Federal Reserve interest rate hike may come sooner than expected, in striking contrast with the outlook for the European Central Bank.

3:00 pm Buzzing: Shares of  Strides Arcolab jumped 9 percent after board approved its merger with Shasun Pharmaceuticals . Shares of Shasun Pharma were up 5 percent intraday.

”Each equity shareholder of Shasun will be entitled to receive five equity shares of Strides in lieu of 16 equity shares held in Shasun. Based on the exchange ratio, Shasun shareholders will own 26 percent  of the combined entity.  The current promoters of Shasun will, post the approval of the merger, be categorised as promoters of the combined entity, along  with the existing promoters of Strides,” a BSE filing said.

The combined entity to be amongst the top 15 listed Indian pharmaceutical companies by revenue with a turnover in excess of Rs 2,500 crore. The board of directors of the combined entity will comprise of independent directors. The appointed date for the Scheme of Amalgamation is April 1, 2015.

The Nifty is hovering around 7950, down 12.80 points at 7956.05. The Sensex is down 32.78 points at 26593.54. About 1846 shares have advanced, 1004 shares declined, and 84 shares are unchanged.

Defensives like pharma and IT lend support while select metal and FMCG stocks correct and midcaps outperform.

Sun Pharma is the top gainer on the Nifty. Its merger with Ranbaxy is expected to be on FIPB agenda on October 1. Additionally, CNBC-TV18 learns the company is planning to focus on dermatology post Ranbaxy merger. It expects almost 38-40 percent of US sales to come from dermatology by FY18.

TCS, Infosys, BHEL, GAIL are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the laggards are the Tata Steel, ITC, Sesa Sterlite, Coal India and Bajaj Auto.

1:50 pm Market outlook: Ambit has introduced 15 stocks in its core opportunities portfolio to benefit from the economic revival. These include Bharat Forge , Ramkrishna Forgings , Alstom T&D and PTC India Financial among others. In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Andrew Holland, CEO of Ambit Investment Advisors, said manufacturing sector will play a key role in India’s economy, which this time around will be more ‘domestic-driven’ than outsourcing based, seen in 2003-2006.

Once the government’s kick starts the infrastructure reforms, it will have a multiplier effect on the economy, Holland said. Ambit is upbeat on the companies that are into supply side of this growth story. Ambit sees GDP growth to increase by 1 percent and says the country is likely to see significant FDI in insurance. It expects the road sector to see 8,500-km contract in FY15, and engineering, construction sectors to get big boost.

1:30 pm Buzzing: Shares of IDBI Bank was up 3 percent intraday after its board meeting. In the meeting held on September 26, the board has approved to increase borrowing limit to Rs 15000 crore from Rs 4000 crore.

”The board of directors has approved enhancement in rupee borrowing limit from the present limit of Rs. 4000 crore (approved by the shareholders on September 02, 2014) to Rs 15000 crore subject to compliance with all applicable laws, regulations & guidelines as well as the approval of shareholders to be obtained in terms of Section 42 of the Companies Act, 2013 by postal ballot,” it said in a statement.

Also, the board has approved to infuse additional capital of Rs 58.34 crore by way of equity in its subsidiary compnay IDBI Asset Management to meet its growth requirements.

The market seems to be tired on first day of week as traders are cautious ahead of RBI policy review. The Sensex is up 23.97 points at 26650.29 and the Nifty is up 2.35 points at 7971.20. About 1851 shares have advanced, 833 shares declined, and 77 shares are unchanged.

Sun Pharma, TCS, BHEL, Infosys and GAIL are top gainers while Hindalco, ITC, HUL, Tata Steel and Bajaj Auto are laggards.

Crude oil futures eased by 0.59 percent to Rs 5,741 per barrel today as speculators reduced their exposures amid a weakening trend in Asian trade. The trading sentiment eased at futures trade after crude oil prices fell in Asian trade today as the US dollar strengthened, analysts said.

Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude forNovember delivery dropped 59 cents to USD 92.95, while Brent crude for November fell 25 cents to USD 96.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in mid-morning trade.

1:50 pm Exclusive: While most market experts and economist don’t see an interest rate cut anytime soon, SL Bansal, CMD, Oriental Bank of Commerce hopes for some rate cut by the RBI on Tuesday, but adds that banks may not pass it to customers for a month at least. “Why there should be a rate cut beacuse all numbers favourable. Current account deficit (CAD) and commodity prices have come down substantially especially crude prices, so if you cannot cut now, it will be very difficult for you to take a call subsequently,” he says.

Meanwhile, Ashish Parthasarthy, Head Treasurer, HDFC Bank expects the central bank to oblige the market with a statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) and held-to-maturity (HTM) cut. He further adds that if these two rates cut come through then the bond yields reaction will be temporary. However, Bansal feels that cut in SLR won’t have much impact.

1:30 pm Buzzing: Shares of Patel Integrated Logistics are locked at 20 percent upper circuit, hitting Rs 54.05 intraday after it entered into a cargo alliance with e-tailing major Amazon. It has joined hands with Amazon to fast-track delivery to customers across the country.

The logistics company has begun securing exclusive bookings from airlines to ship Amazon’s products ahead of the festive season.

In an interview CNBC-TV18 Areef Patel, Executive Vice Chairman said the company fetches monthly business of around Rs 50-70 lakh and is looking to double this revenue. ”We will be looking at the margins going up as the volumes go up. Unfortunately, over the last couple of months we have had couple of rate increases with the airlines due to the high fuel cost but hopefully that will change if things settle down,” he said

The market still rangebound. The Sensex is up 25.66 points at 26651.98 and the Nifty is up 5.35 points at 7974.20. About 1728 shares have advanced, 828 shares declined and 79 shares are unchanged. Midcaps, IT and pharma stocks are supportign the indices with smart gains.

Sun Pharma, TCS, BHEL, Infosys and Cipla are top gainers while Hindalco, HUL, Tata Power, Coal India and ITC are among the laggards in the Sensex.

All eyes are now on the Reserve Bank of India as the market gears up for the policy announcement tomorrow. A CNBC-TV18 poll suggests that Raghuram Rajan may hold fire this time. Bankers, dealers and company CFOs expect no rate cut in the policy tomorrow but a tone as hawkish as august.

FIIs turn bullish on India as PM Modi wows audiences in New York. Rajeev Bhaman of Oppenheim believes Indian stock market can double over the next five years if government provides policy support. He maintains that India is the best among emerging markets.

11:55 am Oil check: Crude oil futures eased by 0.59 percent to Rs 5,741 per barrel today as speculators reduced their exposures amid a weakening trend in Asian trade.
At the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for delivery in October traded Rs 34, or 0.59 per cent, to Rs 5,741 per barrel in 2,312 lots.

In a likewise fashion, oil for November delivery moved down by Rs 30, or 0.52 per cent, to Rs 5,721 per barrel in 96 lots.

11:30 am Market outlook: India received a shot in the arm as global rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday revised India’s credit outlook to “stable” from “negative”, acknowledging the improvement in the country’s economic environment. The revision was backed by an improvement in India’s external position and growth prospects and means it’s no longer on the brink of a “junk” rating.

S&P was the last of the three main global ratings agencies with a negative outlook on India; Moody’s never changed India’s outlook, while Fitch upgraded it to stable in 2013. Although Moody’s outlook on India remains stable, Andrew Colquhoun, Head of Asia-Pacific Sovereign Ratings Group at Fitch Ratings doesn’t see any chance of an alteration in ratings for India in the medium-term.

The Nifty starts the week in consolidation mode as traders seem to be cautious ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy review tomorrow. The 50-share index is down 1.20 points at 7967.65. The Sensex is up 35.34 points at 26661.66. About 1633 shares have advanced, 663 shares declined, and 66 shares are unchanged.

Defensives continue to gain as Sun Pharma builds on to Friday’s rally while banks trade mixed & metals are weak. TCS, BHEL, Cipla and Infosys are top gainers in the Sensex. On the losing side are Hindalco, M&M, Tata Power, Coal India and Bharti Airtel.

Tourism stocks are higher after the PM Narendra Modi eased visa norms for US nationals and PIO card holders.

NSE’s volatility gauge, India VIX has surged 7.3 percent and is heading towards fourth day of gains in five on fears of foreign investor sales. It has risen nearly 20 percent since September 22. Traders cite uncertainties including the Supreme Court’s cancellation of most coal blocks allotted since 1993. State elections in October are also seen weighing.

Globally, Asia is mixed while Hang Seng is at a two-month low on account of pro-democracy.
10:50 am Market cap: Amid weakening stocks, the combined market valuation of top five Sensex companies fell by Rs 45,887.6 crore last week, with RIL and ICICI Bank taking the biggest hit. While TCS , RIL, Infosys, SBI and ICICI Bank saw losses in their market capitalisation (m-cap), ONGC, ITC, CIL, HDFC Bank and Sun Pharma witnessed addition. The m-cap of RIL plunged Rs 19,728.88 crore to Rs 3,01,948.82 crore. ICICI Bank suffered a loss of Rs 10,682.94 crore to Rs 1,71,031.83 crore, while the value of SBI dipped by Rs 9,376.96 crore to Rs 1,82,380.34 crore.

10:30 am Buzzing: Shares of MTNL were up 5 percent intraday as reports suggested that the state-run company will not be privatised but will be turned around. According to a media report telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the loss-making state-owned telecom service providers, Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and MTNL will not be privatised instead they will be turned around.

He was quoted as saying ‘experience in turning around loss-making PSUs and has done so with Coal India when he was coal minister during the Vajpayee government’s regime’.

However, he did not provide any fixed time-frame or share any strategy but added that he was closely monitoring them.

The Nifty is struggling below the 8000-level. The 50-share index is up 5.70 points at 7974.55 and the Sensex is up 45.89 points at 26672.21. About 1434 shares have advanced, 510 shares declined, and 48 shares are unchanged.

Both Sun Pharma and TCS are up 3 percent each. BHEL, Wipro and Infosys are top gainers in the Sensex. Among the losers are Hindalco, Tata Power, Bharti Airtel and Coal India.

The dollar hit a four-year peak against a basket of currencies in early Asian trade on Monday, bolstering Japanese shares, but other Asian shares shrugged off Friday’s Wall Street rebound in the face of political unrest in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong shares dropped 2.3 percent to three-month lows in the worst unrest since China took back control of the former British colony two decades ago.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.7 percent, hitting its lowest level since mid-May. Even the usually calm Hong Kong-dollar, which is pegged to a narrow band against the US dollar, slipped 0.1 percent to 7.761 against the greenback, its lowest level since March, as the street clashes affected some banks’ operations.

9:55 am Buzzing: Shares of Anant Raj jumped 8.5 percent intraday on Monday after it announced sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary Greatway Estates for Rs 304.12 crore. The real estate company aid the fund would be utilised to part repayment of debt and project development.

In a filing to the BSE, Anant Raj informed that the board at its meeting “approved the sale of 100 percent equity stake in its wholly owned subsidiary Greatway Estates for a consideration of Rs 304.12 crore.”

“The consideration received shall be utilised partly for repayment of debt and partly for development of the projects of the company,” it added.

Anant Raj posted net profit of Rs 100.38 crore on revenue of Rs 503.11 crore for 2013-14. It had a debt of about Rs 1,400 crore at the end of last fiscal.

9:35 am Market outlook: The Indian equity market is fundamentally in a bull phase, says Jaideep Goswami, Head of Equity, ICICI Securities. In an interview with CNBC-TV18, he cautions that one has to identify the triggers that can move the market on the downside. ICICI Securities has Nifty target of 9,200 for the next 12 months. On specific sectors, Goswami is positive on the FMCG space given the increasing demand in this segment. He is positive on Marico . He also likes the IT sector. With Vishal Sikka taking over Infosys and clarity on management issues, there is a possibility of a PE re-rating in the stock, he says. From the realty space, he is bullish on Sobha Developers .

The market has opened on a flat note. The Sensex is up 8.81 points at 26635.13 and the Nifty is up 9.60 points at 7978.45. About 474 shares have advanced, 127 shares declined, and 22 shares are unchanged.

Tata Steel, Wipro, Axis Bank, Reliance and Infosys are top gainers in the gainers while HUL, Coal India, ITC, Tata Motors and Bharti Airtel are major laggards in the Sensex.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a rock star reception at Madison square garden. As a Navratara gift for a rapturous crowd of NRIs, persons of Indian origin cardholders to get lifetime Indian visa. Modi said he wants the world to ‘Make in India’, lists democracy, demographic dividend & demand as India’s biggest strengths.

Globally, US stocks rose sharply on Friday, cutting losses for the week, after the government raised its estimate of economic growth in the second quarter and consumer sentiment rose in September.

And on the economic data front, the us economy grew at an annual rate of 4.6 percent in the second quarter. In commodities, Brent crude trades close to 97 levels giving back most of their gains from the previous session as dollar strengthens. From precious metals space, gold prices fall as a dollar-driven rally encouraged by US economic growth dimmed bullion’s investment appeal.


ICT firms urged to take care of workers’ health

September 30th, 2014

INFORMATION communications technology-Business Process Outsourcing (ICT-BPO) companies are encouraged to initiate activities that will promote a healthy lifestyle for their employees, an executive said.Outsourcing40

“From an employee engagement perspective it is a responsibility of the organization, BPO, or employer to make sure they have fitness programs [for] health and wellness [that is] sustainable for their employees,” said Catherine S. Ileto, Sutherland Global Services marketing and communications director, in yesterday’s Kapehan sa Davao at SM City Davao.

She said it is important for employers to take care of their employees since they are part of a successful business.

“If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your business. For the simple reason that our people is our biggest asset [and] we should take care of them by coming up with employee engagement activies on health and wellness,” Ileto said.

She said the health of a company’s employees is important because they will become more productive in their work if they are healthy.

For instance, Ileto said one of Sutherland’s initiatives to promote health and wellness among their employees is their Sutherland Fitness Challenge. In other Sutherland branches, this is set to conclude by the end of October but for Davao branch, it is yet to start next month.

“[Through the program] we are trying to integrate fitness into the daily life of [our employees],” she said.

Ileto encourages other ICT-BPO companies to also follow their lead in coming up with employee engagement activities for the wellness of their employees.

“We [at the private sector] should help erase the negative perception that [being in our industry] is stressful. It is important for the companies to launch programs that they feel would be beneficial for their employees,” she said.

Ileto also said that companies should not only focus in coming up with programs for the health aspect of their employees but they should also launch other programs that will positively impact the wellness of the employees as a whole like programs on financial wellness.

She said initiating such activities will have a positive impact on their employees.

“In our recent focus group discussion with our employees, we learned from them that they are saying that ‘Yes, Sutherland cares for me’, ‘they care for my well-being’, and we encourage a culture of bayanihan,” Ileto said.


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