Stock Market Live Updates: Indian indices are likely to open in the red on Friday tracking weak cues in global peers and worries concerning the relentless second wave of COVID-19. The SGX Nifty was also trading 20 points lower around 14,670, indicating a negative start for the Indian indices. Stocks including UPL, Asian Paints, Hindalco, Lupin will be in focus after reporting their March quarter earnings.
In the biggest indication that the United States is fast returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks. The recommendation holds true for both indoors and outdoors, the CDC said.
Following the announcement on Thursday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appeared before reporters at the Rose Garden of the White House without wearing masks. ”I think it’s a great milestone. A great day. It’s been made possible by the extraordinary success we’ve had in vaccinating so many Americans so quickly,” Biden said.
Referring to the latest CDC guidelines, Biden said fully vaccinated people are at very, very low risk of contracting COVID-19. Therefore, if you’ve been fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. But if you’ve not been vaccinated, or if you’ve been getting a two-shot vaccine and you’ve only had your first shot but not your second, or you haven’t waited the full two weeks after your second shot, you still need to wear a mask,” the President said.
He said 250 million vaccine shots have been given in 114 days. ”We are seeing the results. Cases are down in 49 of 50 states. New York Times has reported that hospitalisations are the lowest they’ve been since April of 2020, over a year ago, right after the start of the pandemic. Deaths are down 80 percent and also at their lowest level since April of 2020,” Biden said.
He said that the virus tragically rages in other countries. ”In less than four months, we’ve gone from 5.5 percent to nearly 60 percent of the adults in America with at least one shot in their arm. We’ve gone from stagnation to an economy that is growing faster than it has in nearly 40 years. We’ve gone from an anemic job creation to a record for job creation for a new administration,” Biden added.
In its latest guidelines, the CDC said fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Those travelling within the United States need not get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel. The CDC said the vaccines are effective at preventing the COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. The vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19, it said.
The guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently authorised for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. It can also be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorised for emergency use by the World Health Organization. This includes AstraZeneca/Oxford, the CDC said.
A day after Germany banned Facebook from using WhatsApp users’ data over privacy concerns, Italy on May 13 fined another tech giant, Google, over the charge of ‘abuse of dominant position.’
According to a report in Euronews, Italy’s antitrust authority slapped a fine of 102.8 million euros on Google as it refused to allow Enel X Italia to develop a version of its JuicePass app, which allows users to find and book a place at electric vehicle recharging stations, compatible with Android Auto.
Italy’s Competition and Market Authority (AGCM) said by refusing Enel X Italia inter-operability with Android Auto, Google has unfairly favoured its own Maps app.
A Google spokesperson told Euronews that they would review their options.
In March 2019, the European Union fined Google 1.49 billion euros for imposing restrictive clauses in contracts for third-party websites, preventing its rivals from placing their search adverts on these sites.
Not just Google, several tech giants have been fined or slapped with a host of court cases in Europe in recent years for alleged anti-competitive practices.
Germany: Ban on Facebook
Germany’s ban on May 12 follows a controversy surrounding WhatsApp’s latest privacy terms, which the country’s data protection regulator for Facebook said was illegal.
WhatsApp, which has around 60 million users in Germany, has asked them to accept the new terms or stop using it.
Questioning the legitimacy of the ban, WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, said the Hamburg data protection authority misunderstood the purpose of the update.
But Germany’s national antitrust regulator has said that Facebook’s data practices amount to an abuse of market dominance.
Even Italy’s AGCM had fined Facebook 10 million euros for misleading users over its data practices in 2018.
Italy: Cloud over Google, Apple and Dropbox
Italy’s competition watchdog opened an inquiry into Google, Apple and Dropbox’s contracts for cloud computing services last year following a number of complaints alleging unfair commercial practices by the tech giants.
The three companies were probed for alleged failure to adequately indicate to users when their data was being collected for commercial purposes.
EU: Apple Guilty as Charged
Earlier this month, the European Commission found that Apple is in breach of EU competition law in relation to the company’s App Store practices. It had started an investigation into an initial complaint from Spotify.
In 2018, Apple also faced another case over intentional slowing down of iPhones with older batteries.
France: Google and Amazon Fined for Cookies
Last December, France’s online data privacy watchdog fined Google and Amazon 100 million and 35 million euros, respectively for allegedly breaching rules on cookies.
The National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL) found both the American tech giants automatically placed advertising trackers on users’ computers without their consent.
Disagreeing with the CNIL’s decision, Amazon had said in a statement that protecting the privacy of customers has always been a top priority for the company.
Google too echoed that it stood by its record of providing upfront information and clear controls, strong internal data governance, secure infrastructure and helpful products.
A year after leaving their royal duties to move to Los Angeles, Madame Tussauds has now decided that waxwork models of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan now belong in the attraction’s Hollywood zone and not with the other members of the House of Windsor.
The couple, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, quit royal duties to forge new independent careers on the other side of the Atlantic, and have since signed deals to deliver and produce content for Netflix, Spotify and Apple.
Now their waxwork models have been shifted from their place in the royal section of Madame Tussauds in London to join other celebrities, the famous attraction said on Thursday.
“Harry and Meghan have moved zones — Madame Tussauds London has moved its figures of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to their brand new Awards Party zone to reflect their move from Frogmore to Hollywood,” Madame Tussauds said in a statement, referring to the couple’s former British home Frogmore Cottage.
Later this month, a television documentary series on mental health issues co-created by Harry and US chat show queen Oprah Winfrey premieres on streaming service Apple TV+.
Ahead of the broadcasts, Harry appeared on the ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast hosted by US actor Dax Shephard, in which he likened his life as a royal to the ‘Truman Show,’ a film about a man who unwittingly grew up as the central character in a popular worldwide television reality show.
He also disclosed that when he first began dating Meghan, they met in a supermarket to avoid paparazzi photographers, and that the couple enjoyed more freedom after moving to California with young son Archie.
“Living here now, I can actually lift my head and actually I feel different, my shoulders have dropped, so have hers, you (we) can walk around feeling a little bit more free,” he said.
“I get to take Archie on the back of my bicycle. I would never have the chance to do that.”
The second COVID wave that India is currently grappling with is believed to be far more aggressive and infectious than the first wave and this time it has badly affected the rural areas.
In the data analysed by SBI’s Chief Economist Soumya Kanti Ghosh– nearly half of the new cases in India are coming from rural areas. The share of rural districts in new cases increased to 45.5 percent in April and 48.5 percent in May compared to around 37 percent in March.
Another appalling data depicts the lack of healthcare infrastructure in rural India. For instance, there are only 61 beds available for one lakh people in India. That number goes down to just 17 beds in Bihar per lakh people and 29 beds per lakh in UP. The percentage of these beds in rural areas is even less and both these three states have large rural populations and are also currently seeing rising COVID cases.
So what do these numbers tell us? Will agriculture economy be a saviour for rural India? How poor is the healthcare infra in rural districts? And will lack urban remittances be a big concern for rural households?
To discuss this and more, Latha Venkatesh spoke to Harish Damodaran, Rural Affairs Editor of Indian Express and a Senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, Ramesh Chand, Member of NITI Aayog and Sachchidanand Shukla, Chief Economist, Mahindra Group.
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video
China’s top e-commerce platform Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on May 13 posted its first quarterly operating loss since going public in 2014 due to a record anti-monopoly fine by the country’s market regulator.
Its US-listed shares fell nearly 3 percent in choppy trading, even as the company forecast strong 2022 revenue, betting that the pandemic-driven shift to online shopping will remain resilient.
The outlook, however, was overshadowed by a regulatory crackdown in China that led to the suspension of a $37-billion IPO of its affiliate Ant Group and a $2.8-billion fine in April for anti-competitive business practices.
The fine led to a 7.66-billion yuan ($1.19 billion) operating loss in the fourth quarter ended March 31.
“The penalty decision motivated us to reflect on the relationship between a platform economy and society, as well as our social responsibilities and commitments,” Chief Executive Daniel Zhang said in an earnings call.
Alibaba forecast annual revenue of 930 billion yuan ($144.12 billion) for the year ending March 2022, above the expectation of 928.25 billion yuan.
Core commerce revenue rose 72% to 161.37 billion yuan in the fourth quarter. But growth at its cloud computing unit slowed to 37% to 16.8 billion yuan from 58% a year earlier, its weakest since at least 2016.
Alibaba said it was due to a top customer with a “sizeable presence outside of China” ending its business for “non-product related reasons.”
Overall revenue rose to 187.4 billion yuan in the fourth quarter, topping a Refinitiv forecast of 180.41 billion yuan.
Alibaba’s US-listed shares have fallen more than 30% since hitting a record high in late October when its founder Jack Ma delivered a speech in Shanghai criticizing China’s financial regulators.
The sinking share price reflects investor anxiety over-regulation, said Brock Silvers, chief investment officer at Hong Kong-based Adamas Asset Management.
“The company has faced rogue waves of regulatory risk, which now threaten the entire tech sector.”
Xiaomi has launched two of its latest products in India on May 13, the Redmi Note 10S and the Redmi Watch. While the Redmi Note 10S saw a global launch in March, it has only now become available in India. Similarly, the Redmi Watch was released in China in November 2020, with the Indian release coming with a few improvements.
Redmi Note 10S will be available in two storage variants of 6 GB RAM with 64 GB memory and 6 GB RAM with 128 GB memory. The 64 GB memory phone will be available at Rs 14,999 and the 128 GB storage variant will be available at Rs 15,999 in India
The smartphone will be available in three colour models: Deep Sea Blue, Frost White and Shadow Black.
The phone will go on sale from May 18 on Amazon, Mi.com, Mi Home stores and retail stores.
In terms of specifications, the phone will be running Android 11 based MIUI 12.5. The 6.43-inch display has FullHD+ resolution along with 1,100 nit peak brightness, a 4,500,000:1 contrast ratio and SGS low blue light certification. The display comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
Xiaomi, which is expected to become the third-largest global phone maker by this year, has put in an octa-core chipset in the Redmi Note 10S. The phone will be using the MediaTek Helio G95 SoC. The smartphone will also have a GPU onboard in the form of Mail-G76 MC4.
The Note 10S uses a quad camera setup. The primary rear imager is a 64-megapixel sensor with an f/1.79 lens. The other sensors include an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera sensor with an f/2.2 lens, a 2-megapixel macro lens with f/2.4 focal length and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with an aperture of f/2.4. The front camera is a 13-megapixel f/2.45 lens located in the central punch hole of the phone.
In terms of connectivity, the phone has a dual sim option that allows nano sims. Other connectivity options include 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, IR Blaster, NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB Type-C port. The phone holds a side-mounted fingerprint scanner along with an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, and an accelerometer.
The phone will use a 5,000 mAh battery unit that supports 33W fast charging. Xiaomi will provide a fast charge with the phone. Note 10S is IP53 dust-resistant and water-resistant.
The Supreme Court on Thursday heard a plea on the impact of the second wave of COVID-19 on migrant workers. The apex court ordered the centre and the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi to take steps to provide relief to migrant workers.
The Supreme Court in the first part of the order has said that the Centre along with the state governments should ensure that dry rations are made available to migrant workers through the PDS system from the month of May.
The Supreme Court has also added the caveat that as far as the PDS system is concerned, migrant workers should be allowed to access this PDS system even without the identity card.
CNBC-TV18’s Ashmit Kumar take us through the highlights. Watch the video for more.
The pharma industry has reached out to the government on concerns over the rising input costs for drugs, according to people in the know.
The industry has requested the government to allow it to increase the prices of formulations by 20 percent as a one-time measure.
Industry representative had an interaction with the chairperson of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and requested for an across the board increase in prices by formulation by around 20 percent per annum.
Currently, the prices of drugs can be raised by around 10 percent per annum.
CNBC-TV18’s Ekta Batra get more details. Watch the video for more.