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Asia markets off to a cautious start as Omicron spreads, US CPI looms. By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian share markets got off to a cautious start on Monday as Omicron emerged in more countries and investors faced a week-long wait for key U.S. inflation figures that could settle the course of interest rates.

Asia markets off to a cautious start as Omicron spreads, US CPI looms

A mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of a more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve and the consumer price report due on Friday was likely to make the case for an early tapering. Omicron remained a concern as the variant spread to about one-third of U.S. states, though there were reports from South Africa that cases there had mild symptoms. [ Early trade was sluggish as MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched down 0.2%.

Japan's Nikkei eased 0.7%, even as the government considered raising its economic growth forecast to account for a record $490 billion stimulus package. Employee group cuts UK economic growth forecast, cites supply chain pain. Britain's economy looks set to grow more slowly than previously thought this year and in 2023 due to global supply chain problems and the government must encourage longer-term business investment, an employers group said on Monday.

Employee group cuts UK economic growth forecast, cites supply chain pain

The Confederation of British Industry cut its forecasts for economic growth to 6.9% in 2021 and 5.1% in 2022 from previous estimates of 8.2% and 6.1%. It said the downgrade mostly reflected weaker growth since its last forecasts in June and the supply chain problems that have slowed the recovery from last year's coronavirus slump were likely to end in mid-2022. With exports still weak, household spending would drive 90% of growth next year and two-thirds of it in 2023 thanks to a strong jobs market and savings racked up during the pandemic. Modi's farm reform reversal to deter investment in India's agriculture. By Mayank Bhardwaj and Rajendra Jadhav NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India's repeal of agriculture laws aimed at deregulating produce markets will starve its vast farm sector of much-needed private investment and saddle the government with budget-sapping subsidies for years, economists said.

Modi's farm reform reversal to deter investment in India's agriculture

Late last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government introduced three laws meant to open up agriculture markets to companies and attract private investment, triggering India's longest-running protest by farmers who said the reforms would allow corporations to exploit them. With an eye on a critical election in populous Uttar Pradesh state early next year, Modi agreed to rescind the laws in November, hoping to smooth relations with the powerful farm lobby which sustains nearly half the country's 1.3 billion people and accounts for about 15% of the $2.7 trillion economy. "All incentives to shift towards a more efficient, market-linked system (in agriculture) have been smothered.

" (1 = 74.83 rupees) Japan govt is considering lifting FY2022 economic growth forecast. TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese government is considering raising its economic growth forecast for fiscal 2022 to take into account the effects of its record $490 billion stimulus package, public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday.

Japan govt is considering lifting FY2022 economic growth forecast

In a mid-year review in July, the government projected real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about 2.2% for the fiscal year starting in April 2022. With the spending package aimed at helping businesses and households weather the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, it now estimates a tailwind of about 5.6% for real GDP from this fiscal year to next, NHK said. Japan has lagged other economies in pulling out of the pandemic-induced slump, forcing policymakers to maintain massive fiscal and monetary support even as other advanced nations dial back crisis-mode policies. The world's third-largest economy shrank more than expected in the third quarter due to a hit to consumption and exports from pandemic curbs and global supply disruptions.

Alibaba Group overhauls e-commerce businesses, names Toby Xu new CFO. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Monday it was reorganising its international and domestic e-commerce businesses and would appoint a new chief financial officer.

Alibaba Group overhauls e-commerce businesses, names Toby Xu new CFO

The changes come as Alibaba faces headwinds on multiple fronts, including increased competition, a slowing economy and a regulatory crackdown. The e-commerce giant's Hong Kong-listed shares slid 8% in early morning trade. Alibaba said it would form two new units to house its main e-commerce businesses - international digital commerce and China digital commerce, in a bid to become more agile and accelerate growth.

The international digital commerce unit will house Alibaba’s overseas consumer-facing and wholesale businesses, and include AliExpress, and Lazada. The unit will be headed by Jiang Fan, whose past roles include president of the Taobao and Tmall marketplaces. Alibaba will house its domestic commerce businesses in the China digital commerce unit which be led by Trudy Dai, a founding member of Alibaba, it said. Domestic push: Retail investors fill FPI vacuum; metal, IT stocks in demand. Foreign funds' continuous flight from Indian equities has led domestic institutions along with retail investors to go in for a buying spree across sectors.

Domestic push: Retail investors fill FPI vacuum; metal, IT stocks in demand

Accordingly, the outflow of foreign funds have made valuations of many "quality stocks" attractive again. Anand Rathi Wealth IPO subscribed 1.60 times on Day 1 of offer. The initial public offer of Anand Rathi Wealth Limited, part of Mumbai-based financial services group Anand Rathi, was fully subscribed on the first day of subscription on Thursday.

Anand Rathi Wealth IPO subscribed 1.60 times on Day 1 of offer

The Rs 660-crore initial share-sale received bids for 1,36,00,818 shares against 84,75,000 shares on offer, translating into 1.60 times subscription, according to NSE data. The category for Retail Individual Investors (RIIs) received 2.45 times subscription, non-institutional investors portion garnered 1.93 times subscription and Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) 1 per cent.

The company's initial public offer is of up to 1,20,00,000 equity shares and is in a price range of Rs 530-550 a share. Anand Rathi Wealth Ltd on Wednesday said it has raised Rs 194 crore from anchor investors. IPO-bound Metro Brands aims to utilise Rs 250 cr for store expansion. Footwear retailer Metro Brands Ltd, which is likely to come out with its initial share-sale by the end of the month, will utilise Rs 250 crore from the proceeds towards opening 219 stores in the next two-and-half years, its senior official said on Thursday.

IPO-bound Metro Brands aims to utilise Rs 250 cr for store expansion

At present, the company has 586 stores in 134 cities spread across 29 states and union territories in India. Of these, 211 stores were opened in the last three years. It opened its first store under the Metro brand in Mumbai in 1955 and have since evolved into a one-stop-shop for all footwear needs, by retailing a wide range of branded products for the entire family including men, women, unisex, and kids, and for every occasion including casual and formal events.

Dhanlaxmi Bank Part-Time Chairman G Subramonia Iyer submits his resignation. Dhanlaxmi Bank on Thursday said its Part-Time Chairman G Subramonia Iyer has resigned, on personal grounds.

Dhanlaxmi Bank Part-Time Chairman G Subramonia Iyer submits his resignation

"G Subramonia Iyer, part-time chairman and independent director of the bank, has submitted his resignation from the board of directors of the bank vide his letter dated December 2, 2021," the bank said in a regulatory filing. His resignation is to be effective from December 31, 2021, it added. "G Subramonia Iyer has informed that he was tendering his resignation owing to certain urgent and emergent domestic and personal reasons and there were no other material reasons for his resignation," it added. Shares of Dhanlaxmi Bank on Thursday closed at Rs 14.14 apiece on the BSE, down by 0.42 per cent from the previous close.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.) Investors track Covid cases, watch key market levels as Omicron fears grow. By Lewis Krauskopf NEW YORK (Reuters) - The emergence of Omicron is fueling uncertainty in markets, as investors await information about the heavily mutated coronavirus variant and gauge how badly it could damage the global recovery.

Investors track Covid cases, watch key market levels as Omicron fears grow

Early indications suggest Omicron may be markedly more contagious than previous variants, though researchers are still seeking to understand its impact. In the meantime, volatility across asset markets has soared, with a recent hawkish turn from the Federal Reserve contributing to the gyrations. Here are some factors investors are watching to discern Omicron's impact on the economy and asset prices. Among the key factors that could sway market reaction to Omicron are whether it causes more severe disease than previous variants, if it becomes the dominant strain across the world and how responsive it is to existing vaccines and therapies.

Reliance Power defaults on interest payment to IDBI and DBS banks. Reliance Power (RPower) has defaulted on payment of interest worth Rs 1.17 crore to DBS Bank India and Rs 44 lakh to IDBI Bank. It failed to pay up interest on October 30, 2021. The firm, part of the Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance group, in filing with BSE, said it has term loans and working capital arrangements with three lenders — YES Bank, IDBI Bank and DBS.

Its stock closed 1.41 per cent lower at Rs 12.6 per share on the BSE. About exposure of YES Bank, there is a ‘standstill’ applicable till December 26, 2021. IDBI Bank extended working capital facility and total principal amount is Rs 42 crore. Total outstanding borrowings from banks/financial institutions are Rs 1,194 crore. India's biggest car dealer Popular plans $100 million listing: Report. Popular Vehicles & Services, India's biggest auto dealer, is planning a $100 million listing next year, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. Papers filed in August with India's markets regulator seeking approval for its listing show the dealer plans to raise $20 million by issuing new shares.

Those funds have been earmarked to acquire smaller cash-strapped dealers in India and expand Popular's repairs and services business, Naveen Philip, a shareholder and member of Popular's founding family, told Reuters. The rest of the IPO will consist of Indian private equity fund BanyanTree Growth Capital cashing out by selling its entire 34% stake. Popular is set to be the first Indian auto dealership in a highly fragmented market to list. It is one of the biggest dealers for Maruti Suzuki, which sells one in every two cars in India. HDFC Bank quickest to list among 100 global firms, shows data. HDFC Bank is the fastest among 100 global companies to have gone public. The gap between its incorporation and listing was less than a year, shows a study done by Tide, a UK-based financial platform.

The second quickest was Chinese beverage firm Kweichow Moutai, which took two years to launch an IPO. E-commerce giant Amazon also is among the fastest as it went public in just three years. Meanwhile, the slowest was luxury goods firm Hermès, founded in 1837 and listed 162 years later. The other Indian firms in the top 100 global list are Reliance Industries (RIL) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). RIL was incorporated in 1973 and was listed four years later. Oil rallies as Opec meets, but supply concern looms. Oil prices rallied on Wednesday after recent sharp drops as major producers started to discuss future output against the backdrop of a new coronavirus variant triggering fresh travel restrictions that could dampen oil demand. Equity markets, which often move in tandem with oil prices, also rebounded as investors bought the previous session's dip in the hope the Omicron variant would not derail an economic recovery. Brent crude futures for February were up $2.08, or 3%, at $71.31 a barrel at 1445 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $2.06, or 3.1%, to $68.24 a barrel. Both contracts retraced some of their gains after an OPEC+ document showed the group forecasting a bigger oil surplus in the new year than previously thought. Gold trading at Rs 48,120 per 10 gm today, silver at Rs 61,700 a kg. The price of 10 gram of gold remained unchanged on Thursday: 24-carat is trading at Rs 48,120 and 22-carat at Rs 47,120. The price of 1 kg of silver decreased by Rs 200 with the precious metal trading at Rs 61,700 on Thursday.

In Delhi, the rate of 24-carat gold stands at Rs 51,000, while in Mumbai the yellow metal's price is at Rs 48,120, according to the Goodreturns website. Global risk from new coronavirus variant Omicron ‘very high’, warns WHO – Diya Jain Blog. The World Health Organization says the global risk from the omicron variant of the coronavirus is very high based on early evidence, and it could lead to surges with severe consequences. The World Health Organization says the global risk from the omicron variant of the coronavirus is very high based on early evidence, and it could lead to surges with severe consequences. Parag Agrawal Twitter’s youngest CEO in S&P 500 – Diya Jain Blog. Twitter new Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal is now the youngest CEO in the S&P 500, but apparently just barely. Agrawal, who was appointed Monday to succeed Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, is 37, the same age as Meta Platform Inc.

Singer Rihanna declared national hero by world's newest republic Barbados. Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados. " Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honour, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports

Twitter prohibits sharing of personal photos, videos without consent. Twitter Inc said on Tuesday it will not allow sharing of personal media such as photos and videos on its platform without the consent of the person. Coronavirus: Latest News Updates on Covid-19 Symptoms, Precautions and Treatment. Coronavirus in India and elsewhere: Total number of cases in India (state-wise) and all countries of the world. Protest against Pakistan's atrocities on minorities: Modi to CAA protesters. Lambasting Congress and its allies for opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the protests were against the Parliament and called on the agitators to raise their voice against Pakistan's atrocities on its minorities for the last 70 years.

Amit Shah says protests against CAA political, blames Congress leaders. Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are "mostly political" and insisted that no Indian will lose her nationality because of the legislation. Trump ordered killing of top Iranian military commander: Pentagon. US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iran Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, who died in Baghdad "in a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad," the Pentagon said. "General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.

General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more," the Department of Defence said. Following Soleimani's death, Trump tweeted an image of the US flag without any further explanation. CAA protests: UP Police releases video of Meerut violence showing protestors allegedly trying to burn cops, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Xiaomi to invest $7 billion in 5G, AI, Internet of Things over next 5 years. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp will invest more than 50 billion yuan ($7.18 billion) in artificial intelligence and fifth generation internet technologies over the next five years, as competition in the sector grows. Happy New Year for Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump in fundraising hauls.

Bernie Sanders raised more than $34.5 million in the last quarter of 2019, the largest three-month haul for a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, while Republican President Donald Trump drew $46 million on the heels of his impeachment, their campaigns said on Thursday. Hong Kong's iconic HSBC lion statues caught in protest cross hairs. Hindustan Aeronautics, Wipro 3D join hands for 3D printing in aerospace. Qassem Soleimani, Iraq's militia chief killed in Baghdad air strike: Report. Artificial intelligence can spot breast cancer better than doctors: Google. Vaishno Devi pilgrim footfall in 2019 lowest in 3 years: Shrine Board. 8 more children die in Kota hospital, toll rises to 100 in Dec, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Study finds how brain balances pleasure and pain, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Kota infant deaths: Mayawati questions silence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Global air crash deaths fell 50% to 257 in 2019 from 534 in 2018: Report.

Fearing more bushfires, Australia orders mass evacuation before heatwave. Austrian People's Party agrees to form coalition government with Greens. Drug kingpin El Chapo had same powers as my predecessor: Mexico's president. Flooding in Indonesia's Jakarta claims 16 lives, thousands displaced. Australia, NZ cricketers to pay tribute to firefighers ahead of Sydney Test. Watch: CRPF jawans dance to celebrate New Year in Raipur, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Four astronauts identified for Isro's Gaganyaan mission: Chief K Sivan. 3 people found dead in car on Mathura highway, Video Gallery - Business Standard. SMS services restored in Kashmir, Video Gallery - Business Standard. We keep ourselves away from politics, we follow govt directives: CDS Rawat. Have a wonderful 2020: Vice President Naidu, PM Modi extend new year wishes.

Two army soldiers killed in gunfight with Pakistani infiltrators in J&K. Delhi continues to be in the grip of cold wave, minimum temp at 2.4 deg. Sonny Mehta, venerable publisher known for spotting great books, dies at 77. Delhi elections 2020: Voters' slips to have QR code to help identification. UGC NET Result 2019 declared on Get direct download link. People resort to tea, bonfires amid cold spell, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Delhi continues to shiver under severe cold; 34 trains running late. Year in Review: From CCA stir to Hong Kong demonstrations, protests in 2019.

Will give 5G spectrum for trials to all players, including Huawei: Prasad. Year in Review: From Apple iPad to Samsung Galaxy Tab, best tablets of 2019. Slowdown hits sales of cars, biscuits in 2019, but not smartphones. Microsoft takes down 50 web domains used by North Korean hacking groups. US carries out air strikes against pro-Iran militant group in Iraq, Syria. Year in review: CAA, Article 370 flavoured up social media in 2019. Watch: World's highest ice hockey rink in Lahaul-Spiti, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Ajit Pawar sworn in as Maharashtra dy CM, Aditya inducted in Cabinet. Here are the top 10 films of 2019 as per online booking platform BookMyShow. Year Ahead 2020: Top 6 most promising gadgets to look out for next year.

Year in Review: Sony to LG ThinQ, top 5 portable Bluetooth speakers of 2019. Year in Review: From Jabra and Bose, top 5 Bluetooth earphones of 2019. UN backs Russia on internet convention, alarming online rights advocates. Year in review: CAA, Article 370 flavoured up social media in 2019. With focus on NRC, CAA, govt wants to implement Hindu Rashtra: Chidambaram. Hundreds gather outside Delhi's Jama Masjid to protests against CAA. Matheran's heritage toy train to resume service from Friday; check details.

NPR and NRC like a tax on poor people of India, says Rahul Gandhi. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu cancels Odisha visit due to bad weather. CAA is not anti-minority; opposition is misinforming people: Hardeep Puri. Flag marches, police deployment in parts of Delhi as anti-CAA protests loom. Delhi shivers as minimum temperature slips below normal to 4.2 degrees. Kerala govt to give Rs 1.3 crore as compensation to former ISRO scientist. Kargil gets mobile services back after 145-day long internet shutdown. Kamal Nath should read Constitution, states are bound to implement CAA: Kailash Vijayvargiya, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Parts of nation witness solar eclipse, Video Gallery - Business Standard.

UP Police issues 'wanted' posters of anti-CAA rioters in Varanasi, Video Gallery - Business Standard. In pics: From Jammu to Chennai, India celebrates Christmas. Tier II cities more prone to cyber security threats: K7 Computing report. Oppn 'spoiling atmosphere' with protests against citizenship law: Amit Shah. Year in Review: Galaxy Fold to Moto Razr, best foldable smartphones of 2019. Isro puts Chandrayaan-2 setback behind ends 2019 on positive note. Year in Review: Why 5G remained a distant dream for India in 2019 too. Year ahead 2020: A list of popular gaming titles to be launched next year. CAA protests LIVE: Agitation in Delhi; Rahul, Priyanka return from Meerut. PM Modi to unveil Atal Bihari Vajpayee's statue in Lucknow, Video Gallery - Business Standard.

Pakistani Hindu refugees hail CAA in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Goa is all prep up for Christmas, Video Gallery - Business Standard. Bengal governor faces black flags, 'go back' slogans at Jadavpur University. Kashmir reels under intense cold, Srinagar records coldest night of season. Anti-CAA stir: HC refuses to entertain plea on telecom services' disruption. Performance standards are being set for govt officers, says Rajnath Singh. GoAir passengers troubled for second day as airline cancels 19 flights. Man detained for posting 'derogatory remarks' against Rajasthan CM Gehlot. Jharkhand election result LIVE: Clear majority to JMM-Cong-RJD, says Soren. Jharkhand election result LIVE: Clear majority to JMM-Cong-RJD, says Soren.