The Stock Shock



What is it? The losing streak of the BSE Sensex. In these last five days, the bellwether index has shed 4.2%.

Why is it important? After a steady and continuous run up in 2017, share prices are correcting, not just in India but also across the world. In the US, the Dow Jones crashed 1,600 points during intra-day trading on Monday, its biggest fall ever, eventually closing the day with a loss of 1,175 points. The Dow has wiped off its 2018 gains in the last two days.

Tell me more: A host of global reasons (like the US hiking interest rates and the run-up in prices) and local reasons (the imposition of a long-term capital gains tax in India) are being cited for the weakening sentiment.


88.2 million

What is it? The number of passengers that passed through Dubai International Airport in 2017.

Why is it important? This figure makes this airport in the Middle East, which is a hub for Emirates Airline, the busiest international airport for the third year in a row. Its 2017 passenger number is an increase of 5.5% over its 2016 number. Dubai’s elevation has come in a short period of time, and in 2014 it overtook London’s Heathrow airport as the busiest international airport. The airport expects international passenger footfalls to cross 90 million in 2018.

Tell me more: While Dubai is the busiest international airport, the busiest airport overall (domestic plus international) in 2017 was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, servicing 101.6 million passengers.



What is it? The fall in the price of Bitcoin on Monday, briefly even dropping below $7,000 to reach a level it last hit on November 14.

Why is it important? The meltdown reflects the growing caution against crypto currencies and how they integrate into the mainstream. In the last week, concerns have arisen about increased regulation, hackers and potential price manipulation at a major crypto currency exchange. On Friday, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup said they had disallowed crypto-currency purchases on their credit cards.

Tell me more: In India, economic affairs secretary SC Garg said the government was planning policy measures to make crypto currencies illegal as a payments system and appoint a regulator to oversee unregulated exchanges trading.



What is it? The EBITDA margin (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of Tata Motors’ India business in the third quarter (October to December) of 2017-18, the results for which the company announced yesterday.

Why is it important? On a year-on-year basis, that’s an increase of 7.5 percentage points, and comes on the back of a 59% increase in revenues, suggesting improving performance in the India business of Tata Motors. For the past couple of years, Jaguar Land Rover, the company’s international business, has been pulling performance at the company.

Tell me more: In the third quarter, the company posted a decline in net profit for the third straight quarter to Rs 1,214 crore, compared to Rs 2,501 crore in the previous quarter.



What is it? The number of years it has been since American singer-songwriter Paul Simon released his first solo album, The Paul Simon Songbook, in 1965. He has since released another 15 albums and toured prolifically.

Why is it important? On Monday, the 76-year-old said 2018 would be his last year doing live shows, citing the demands of touring and the death of lead guitarist, Vincent N’guini. Further, Simon would celebrate this passing of an era with a series of shows in the US and Europe between May and July in ‘Homeward Bound-The Farewell Tour’.

Tell me more: He first made his name in the 1960s as one half of Simon & Garfunkel. After they split in 1970, Simon built a successful career as a solo artist, showing an interest for global musical styles, working with South American and African musicians in projects that drew attention for their musical ambition and political context.


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News in Numbers, August 8, 2016: Apple India sales decline, floods have killed over 300…


What is it? The number of smartphones Apple shipped in India in the April-June quarter of this year, according to a report.

Why is it important? This is a third lower than the 1.2 million smartphones the company shipped in the same period last year. These numbers do not look good at a time when Apple is betting big on India, even as its sales in China (its second largest market after the US) has slowed down recently. The Indian government relaxed some foreign direct investment norms a couple of months ago, where Apple was seen as one of the beneficiaries.

Tell me more: Apple’s loss seems to have been Android phones’ gain, whose shipments increased by over 28% to 29.8 million in the second quarter of 2016.


Rs 19 crore

What is it? The average overall pay package of the chief executive officers (CEOs) of 20 of the 24 private sector companies listed on BSE Sensex in 2015-16. The other four are yet to disclose this information.

Why is it important? This is almost double from the average CEO salary of Rs 9.9 crore in 2013-14 and a 35% hike from 2014-15’s average. This came during a year when the combined net loss of 11 BSE Sensex companies was Rs 33,905 crore, which far exceeded the cumulative net profit of 16 firms (Rs 23,525 crore) on this index. The three other firms posted a dramatic turnaround last financial year.

Tell me more: Of the six public sector companies on the BSE Sensex, details of only one firm was available, that of the chairperson of the State Bank of India, which was just Rs 31.1 lakh.


Rs 13,500 crore

What is it? The amount the government hopes to raise from public sector units (PSUs) buying back their shares in the next couple of months.

Why is it important? With the government having already garnered Rs 3,183 crore from stake sale in hydropower generation firm NHPC, employee subscription in Indian Oil Corporation and disinvestment in power utility firm NTPC in 2016-17, this is likely to take the total amount raised through this route to over Rs 16,000 crore – around 44% of the target the government has set from minority stake sale in PSUs this financial year. After missing its disinvestment targets for the sixth year in a row last year, these buy-backs could help the government achieve its target of Rs 56,500 crore in 2016-17 (with Rs 36,000 crore expected from minority stake sales and Rs 20,500 crore from strategic stake sales).

Tell me more: In June, the government had asked PSUs with a net worth of at least Rs 2,000 crore and cash balance of over Rs 1,000 crore to buy back their shares from the stock markets. A central public sector enterprise can seek to be an exception based on its financials and mentioning its capital expenditure plans.


> 300

What is it? The number of people who have died in different states such as Bihar, Assam and Uttarakhand due to floods in the recent weeks. Lakhs of them have been displaced.

Why is it important? Floods are an almost annual affair in the country during monsoon, which account for around 70% of India’s yearly rainfall. These occurrences are mainly as a result of poor drainage systems in urban areas with haphazard construction activities without due consideration to the hydrology of an area while in rural areas, it is due to bad policy decisions, climate change and man-made problems such as deforestation.

Tell me more: According to a 2015 United Nations report, India’s annual economic losses due to disasters is $9.8 billion, of which floods account for over $7 billion.


Rs 1,200

What is it? The proposed upper limit fee for issue of driving licences, up from Rs 320.

Why is it important? This is part of the proposed amendments to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989, which is likely to make driving (any vehicle) more expensive. The charges for conducting a driving test is likely to increase to Rs 300 from Rs 50 while that for a twin-test (two-wheeler and four-wheeler) could be hiked to Rs 600 from Rs 50.

Tell me more: The other increases include hikes in cost of issuing smart-card driving licence, learner’s driving licence, international driving permit and introduction of fees for applying for changing details (such as residential address) in the licences. The states are allowed to levy additional fees for automation, technology and value-add services.

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News in numbers, Jan 25, 2016: Share of tobacco users down, Zomato’s operating revenue…


What is it? Percentage of male tobacco users in 13 states in India in 2015, according to the recently released National Family Health Survey-4 report.

Why is it important? This is a decline from 50.1% in 2005-06. Similarly, tobacco use among women have also come down from 5.2% in 2005-06 to 4.4% in 2015. Though it has come down in terms of prevalence, it has increased in absolute terms. Smoking kills over a million people per year and is the fourth leading cause of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart diseases, according to a report by the World Health Organization. The economic burden due to tobacco use is over Rs 1 lakh crore, as per the Healthy Ministry of India. In the first quarter of 2015-15, ITC’s cigarette volumes were down 17% year-on-year due to four years of successive tax increases, the highest decline in at least the last 15 years.

Tell me more: Alcohol consumption has also fallen from 2005-06 to 2015. Among men, its consumption is down from 38.2% to 34.2% while among women, the decline is from 3.2% to 1.6%.



What is it? Number of companies that have received the market regulator’s approval to launch their initial public offerings (IPOs) this month. These companies, which include, GVR Infra Projects, GNA Axles and Maini Products, are likely to raise a combined amount of at least Rs 2,500 crore.

Why is it important? This comes at a time when BSE Sensex, India’s benchmark stock index, neared the bear market territory (a fall of 20% from a recent peak) last week. Some of these companies might not follow through. In 2015, for example, 2 companies let their IPO approvals from the market regulator, lapse. Concerns over China’s faltering economic growth, declining commodity prices, foreign investors pulling out money from Indian markets and domestic factors including falling exports, delay in revival of investment demand and economic reforms have pulled the stocks down to the levels when the present government got elected a year ago.

Tell me more: In 2015, there were 20 main-board IPOs and together, the companies raised around $2.1 billion (Rs 15,000 crore), a seven-fold increase from the previous year’s proceeds. A Reuters report quoting investment bankers says in 2016, India would see IPO proceeds doubling to over $5 billion.


1.9 million

What is it? Number of subscribers who have enrolled for Atal Pension Yojana, a government-backed guaranteed pension scheme for all those who are not part of any social security programme.

Why is it important? This is just around 10% of the 20-million target set for December 31, 2015. Shows the scheme has not picked-up momentum even though the government had offered to contribute 50% of the subscriber’s’ contribution if they enrolled before December. This deadline has now been extended to March 31, 2016. New changes are being considered to attract more people to the scheme. These include allowing the widow of the subscriber to continue with the scheme, extend the offer of government’s contribution to next financial year as well and changes regarding withdrawal and contributions.

Tell me more: This pension scheme is mainly focused on unorganised workers and subscribers would get pension amounts varying from Rs 1,000-5,000 per month.


Rs 96.7 crore

What is it? Operating revenue of online restaurant discovery firm Zomato in 2014-15.

Why is it important? The company plans to double its revenue in the fiscal ending March 31, 2015 and expects to break-even at the operational level by mid-2016, according to Pankaj Chaddah, co-founder of Zomato. Zomato’s loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in 2014-15 stood at Rs 136 crore. If it breaks even, then the firm will likely be the first among unicorns (startups that are valued at over $1 billion) to do so. Other unicorns in India include Flipkart, Snapdeal, Ola and Quikr. This comes at a time when Indian food tech companies have been facing problems including layoffs and funding trouble.

Tell me more: The company raised $60 million in its latest round of funding last September, taking the total funds raised to $225 million. Though Zomato hopes to overtake FoodPanda and Swiggy, its core ads business would continue to be the main contributor of revenue, accounting for 80-85%.



What is it? Number of vessels (of a total of 17) containing combustible chemicals at the Government Opium and Alkaloid Works, Asia’s biggest opium alkaloid processing plant in Madhya Pradesh, that are in a dilapidated state and leaking. This is according to a report dated January 15, 2015, by a government-approved chartered engineer, who inspected this factory.

Why is it important? The plant hasn’t stopped operations per latest available information. The vessels, which operate at very high temperatures, could explode and the leaking fumes from the vessels contain harmful chemicals including acetic acid, sulphuric acid, toluene and alcohol. The effects of these chemicals, which range from affecting a human being’s central nervous system to birth defects to respiratory problems to skin burns and eye damage, could affect over 1 lakh residents of Neemuch district where the factory is located. The general manager of the processing plant said that “an accident is waiting to happen” though all precautions are being taken and that he has alerted officials in Delhi.

Tell me more: The last inspection of this factory was carried out in 2010 and according to Indian rules, such checks are supposed to be done once in every four years. However, the latest inspection has been done after a delay of two years.

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