Hindus rated “fairly warmly” in USA, survey reveals

Most religious groups in USA rate Hindus fairly warmly, according to “polling and analysis” posted by Washington DC headquartered Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank, on February 15.

Asked to rate a variety of groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100, Americans’ feelings toward Hindus have shifted from relatively neutral place of 50 in 2014 on the thermometer to somewhat warmer rating of 58.

Americans aged 18-29 put the Hindus at 64 on the thermometer, which is higher than Jews, Atheists, Evangelical Christians, Mainline Protestants, Muslims and Mormons. Jews gave Hindus a thermometer rating of 70, which is highest given to Hindus by any religious group.

Hindus were rated at 70 by those who had personal connections with someone in the Hindu community, as compared to 54 given by those who had no such connection.

But only 22% of Americans say they personally know a Hindu.

These were among the findings of a new Pew Research Center survey of 4,248 adults conducted between January nine to 23 on the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel.

Meanwhile Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, congratulating the American Hindu community on climbing higher on the warmth scale; urged them to continue with the traditional values of hard work, higher morals, stress on education, sanctity of marriage, etc.; amidst so many distractions.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, advised Hindus to focus on inner search, stay pure, explore the vast wisdom of scriptures, make spirituality more attractive to youth and children, stay away from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

There are about three million Hindus in USA.

Reliance Power Reaches Agreement with JP Group to Acquire Hydroelectric Business

Reliance Power has reached an agreement to acquire 1,800 mega watt hydropower assets of Jaypee Group. Reliance CleanGen, a unit of Reliance Power, will acquire 100 percent stake in the hydroelectric power business of Jaypee Group.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed yet. After the deal, Reliance Power will become the largest private sector company in India in hydroelectric sector with combined capacity of 7,800 mega watts.

SBI Capital Markets has acted as the advisors to the group for the deal which marks the biggest deal in the power sector in India.

Jaypee Group had earlier offloaded its hydroelectric power projects in Himachal Pradesh to Abu Dhabi based energy major for Rs 10,500 crore. The deal could not be finalized.

Reliance Power was trading around Rs 93 in today’s market. The stock has touched 52-week high of Rs 112 and low of Rs 60.

Indian Stock Market near Lifetime High; Waiting Election Results

Indian stock market is trading near its lifetime high and investor community is waiting for results. While many market and technical analysts have downplayed the role of politics and have said that Indian economy is strong, there is growing concern over the next government in India.

The ongoing elections have created an uncertainty in the mind of investors. Markets are staying range-bound and waiting for election outcomes on 16 May.

The business community favors a stable government. There is growing consensus that the major opposition party BJP could make the next government. However, the AAP factor could spoil the BJP campaign. Many regional parties have also decided to keep BJP out of power. The future of the country will depend on the number of seats NDA combine will get in the elections.

Among Indian stocks, major gainers on Friday were Tata Power, Ambuja Cements, Lupin, BPCL and HCL Tech. Among major losers were Jindal Steel, Tata Steel, Larsen, Sesa Sterlite and Maruti Suzuki.

The earnings season has some positive surprises for investors. While automobile sector is suffering due to lower sales, Bajaj Auto has managed to increase its market share to 20 percent compared to 17 percent in December.

DLF Registers 28 Percent Decline in Q2 Net Profit

Real estate major DLF has registered 28 percent decline in net profit for second quarter. The biggest real estate company in India witnessed decline of 4 percent in income from operations, which stood at Rs 1956 crore compared to Rs 2039 crore during same period last year.

The consolidate net profit of DLF stood at Rs 100 crore compared to Rs 138 crore for the same period last year. The company incurred expenses of Rs 1527 crore compared to Rs 1476 crore during the quarter under review.

Real estate companies in India have seen lower margins and less number of sales due to slowdown in realty market in India. Many projects have been delayed by developers due to scarcity of funds and higher rates in Indian market. Buyers have also declined over the past few years due to higher interest rates. Also, many buyers are expecting real estate developers to reduce the prices and they are still waiting for better deals. In major cities, the slowdown in real estate has resulted in higher inventory levels for developers.

DLF currently has 52 million square feet area under construction for various projects. The company stock was trading marginally down in today’s trade. The stock has touched 52-week high of Rs 289 and low of Rs 120 on NSE.

Ranbaxy Reports Loss of Rs 454 Crore for Quarter Ending September

Ranbaxy Laboratories has reported Rs 454 crore loss for quarter ending September 2013 on 3.4% rise in revenues. The biggest pharmaceutical company in India has been suffering for past few years due to regulatory troubles with US FDA.

Ranbaxy Labs reported profit of Rs 754 during the same quarter last year. The company also suffered on account of stock write-off worth Rs 70 crore at Mohali plant. The company registered forex loss of Rs 360 crore during the quarter.

The revenue was up by 3.4% at Rs 2802 crore. The company registered Rs 480 crore sales in East Europe. The sales in West Europe were down by 31 percent. The company managed to grow marginally in Africa and Middle East.

The company has disappointed investors on many occasions in the past couple of years. Even after the Japanese pharmaceutical company took over the control of Ranbaxy, things haven’t improved much. The stock seems over-valued at current levels, considering the issues like FDA alerts on all its plants in India.

Stock Markets Trade Flat; Aptech, HCL Tech Zoom

Stock Markets were trading flat in the afternoon session on Thursday. BSE Sensex was down by 30 points at 19960 while NSE Nifty was trading with a loss of 11 points. Most of the heavyweight index stocks were trading flat.

Among major gainers in today’s session were PNB (trading 4.8% higher), HCL Tech (trading 3.8% higher), Ambuja Cements (up by 2%) and Aptech (trading with gain of over 11%). HDFC touched 52-week high of Rs 900 in today’s trading session.

Among major losers were Sun Pharma, Ranbaxy Labs, Axis Bank and NMDC. Standard Chartered has expressed positive sentiment about the earnings for fourth quarter from majority of Indian companies.

German car maker BMW’s Indian arm received Rs 650 crore showcause notice from Income Tax department.

Indian markets are expected to remain rangebound for today’s session. Asian markets closed mixed on Thursday.

Reebok India Alleged Fraud Cost Euro 153 Million to Adidas

Reebok India alleged fraud last year has put 153 million euro dent on the balance sheet of German sportswear maker Adidas. In year 2012, Reebok India filed FIR against two top officials of the company.

The investigation is currently on and ex-Managing Director Subhinder Singh Prem and ex-COO Vishnu Bhagat are under investigation for their alleged involvement in the fraud.

Adidas Group changed top management this year by bringing Erick Haskell from China operations to lead Indian team. The company also offered voluntary retirement to 84 employees last year. The company has also reduced its store count in India to reduce costs.

Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer announced that 2012 was successful year for Adidas Group with the company managing to grow its overall sales by six percent. The company registered 14.9 billion Euro sales in 2012.

Indian Stock Market Trades Higher; DLF and Hero MotoCorp Gain

Indian Stock Markets were trading marginally higher during afternoon trade with Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki and DLF among major gainers. At 14.28 pm IST, BSE Sensex was up by 46 points at 19300 while NSE Nifty was trading higher by 10 points at 5828.

European markets have opened marginally higher. FTSE was up by 0.2 per cent at 6440. DAX and CAC were also marginally higher.

Among major gainers in today’s trade were Hero MotoCorp with gain of 4.2% at Rs 1716. Maruti Suzuki was higher by 1.8% at 1450. DLF and Larsen were up by nearly 2 per cent.

Among major losers were Jindal Steel, HUL, Tata Motors and Ambuja Cements. Reliance, ONGC and Coal India were trading marginally lower.

Indian currency was slightly higher compared to US dollar and Euro. Gold was trading at Rs 29555 for 10 grams in Mumbai market while Silver was at Rs 55050 for 1000 grams.

AirAsia Gets FIPB Approval to Start New Airline in India

AirAsia has received approval of Foreign Investment Promotion Board for setup of new airline in India. The Malaysia based budget airline has jumped in Indian aviation sector by setting up a joint venture with Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace. Tata Group was planning to enter aviation sector for quite some time.

After the modifications in FDI policy in September 2012, AirAsia is the first airline to enter domestic aviation sector in India. Domestic travelers in India can expect lower airfares as the new airline company will try to cut the market share of other players.

In Indian domestic aviation sector, Indigo Airlines and GoAir have been doing very good. Jet Airways and Air India are also prominent players in domestic aviation space.

Jet Airways is also looking to expand its base in India with investment from Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways.

The Tata Sons-AirAsia joint venture company will operate from Chennai. The company will focus on Tier-II and Tier III cities connectivity by air routes. AirAsia will be involved in operations of the airline while Tata Sons will be holding 30 per cent stake in the company with negligible operating role.

More Painful Quarters for European Automakers

European automotive majors could see more struggle in coming quarters as the automobile sales have been dropping in the recent months. With bleak outlook for future months, the auto majors are having no option but to cut staff and reduce plant costs.

Major auto companies operating in European region are expecting years of low sales due to austerity measures by European governments. With continued plunge in sales of new vehicles, the companies have to reduce their operating costs.

In year 2012, the car sales dropped 8.2 per cent in the European Union nations. The new vehicle registrations in Germany were down by 10% this February compared to last year. For the same period, the sales in France were lower by 12% and in Italy were lower by 17percent.

Many companies are betting on the growing markets like India and Brazil. By shifting production base to these countries, the automobile companies are able to maintain a strong hold in the developing nations.

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