HDFC hits 7-month high on realty boom, inches towards record high

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Shares of Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC) hit a seven-month high of Rs 2,852, up 3 per cent on the BSE in the intra-day trade on Tuesday, on anticipation of pick up in business growth. The upcoming festive season is expected to see a growth in real estate sales, analysts say.


The stock of the largest non-banking finance company (NBFC), engaged in housing finance business, was trading at its highest level since February 2021. It is less than 2 per cent away from its record high level of Rs 2,895, touched on February 16, 2021.





The stock has underperformed the market by gaining 12 per cent in the past six months, as compared to a 16 per cent rise in the S&P BSE Sensex. Meanwhile, over the three months, it gained 10 per cent against a 12 per cent rise recorded by the benchmark index.


While announcing April-June quarter (Q1FY22) results on August 2, HDFC had said that the demfor home loans continues to remain strong disbursements had picked up with the unlocking of respective locations. “While disbursements during April May of the current financial year were somewhat impacted, business has reverted to normalised trends in the months of June July. July 2021 disbursements were the highest ever in a non-quarter end month,” the company said.


Given this, analysts at ICICI Securities had said that HDFC had demonstrated a consistent performance in terms of both business growth as well as asset quality. “Market leadership, funding advantage adequate capital lead us to remain positive on fundamentals,” they had said.




It added: HDFC have funding advantage adequate capital to aid growth & earnings. The healthy provision buffer & improvement in collection to aid asset quality. The brokerage has a ‘buy’ rating on the stock with target price of Rs 3,100 per share.


According to Rohit Poddar, Managing Director, Poddar Housing Development, buyers are preferring townships projects that are at proximity to social healthcare amenities. This trend is going to further boost housing demin central western suburbs when it comes to Mumbai.


On the other hand, the investor class has realized the value of real estate the financial security it brings along. The rise in NRIs or global Indians investing back in the home country has grown even in the pandemic is further expected to continue, said Rohit Poddar.

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Edelweiss’ IPO fund outperforms benchmarks in bumper year of listings

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An Indian fund that invests only in recently listed stocks has outperformed the nation’s benchmark indexes in 2021 despite skipping a majority of the initial public offerings in what’s shaping up to be a record year.


The fund run by Edelweiss Management Ltd. has returned 46% this year, according to the firm, beating gains of 24% for the NSE Nifty 50 Index 22% by the S&P BSE Sensex Index, which still lead the Asia region among country benchmarks.





Indian companies have raised $9.9 billion in 60 IPOs so far, on pace for an all-time annual high. Many of the sales have been by tech firms that were highly oversubscribed soared after listing, despite the companies having yet to show a profit.


“It is very normal in a bull year to have many IPOs,” said Radhika Gupta, Edelweiss Mutual Fund’s chief executive officer, noting a similar trend in 2017. “We always believe IPO investing is more about being choosy by identifying selective good companies early assessing their ability to deliver earnings.”


The Edelweiss Recently Listed IPO Fund didn’t participate in most of this year’s new offers as many didn’t meet the criteria for valuations business models, Gupta said in an interview on Sept. 1. The fund targets “new economy” companies including insurers, asset managers consumer-goods makers — in addition to financial-technology firms.






“Our stance is to have a portfolio of 30 to 40 companies, which represent the new economy we don’t do every IPO,” Gupta said. Her firm reported $9.6 billion in assets under management as of August, an increase of 74% over the past year.


Zomato Soars 80% in Debut of India’s New Tech Generation


Online food-delivery firm Zomato Ltd., this year’s largest Indian offering, electric-vehicle-components maker Sona BLW Precision Forgings Ltd. are among the 12 debutants in which the fund has invested in 2021. Medical-equipment maker Nureca Ltd. specialty chemicals maker Laxmi Organic Industries Ltd., which rank among 2021’s best performers, are new listings that the fund didn’t invest in, according to its portfolio as of July.


While declining to comment on specific companies, Gupta cited management policies, industry preferences valuations as key reasons for opting out of new issues. She noted that the unit sometimes declined to buy into IPOs but then invested later.

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Aon Survey projects 9.4% avg salary increment in 2022, up from 8.8% in 2021

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Despite the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the nation hard, Indian organisations have displayed resilience in riding through the tough times, salary increments in 2022 could touch pre-Covid levels, according to a survey.

Leading global professional services firm Aon plc’s latest Salary Increase Survey in India has projected a 9.4 per cent average annual salary hike next year, as against 8.8 per cent in 2021 9.3 per cent in 2019. Covering 1,300 companies across 39 sectors, the survey has found that more companies are willing to give salary increments.




Talking about the findings, Roopank Chaudhary, partner in Aon’s human capital business, said that as against nearly 37 per cent of companies offering 8 to 10 per cent salary hike in 2021, the projections for 2022 stat 43 per cent for the bracket. Similarly, as against 20.4 per cent of companies offering a 10 per cent salary hike in 2021, the estimates for 2022 are 24.7 per cent.

On the other hand, the share of companies giving zero 0-5 per cent increments is projected to fall to 1.1 per cent 4.5 per cent in 2022 from 2.5 per cent 7.3 per cent, respectively.

The top three sectors with the highest salary increase projected for 2022 are technology, e-commerce, IT-enabled services. The sectors with the lowest salary increase projected for 2022 are hospitality, engineering services, energy. While hi-tech IT is projected to offer an average salary hike of 11.2 per cent in 2022, followed by professional services (10.6 per cent), e-commerce (10.6), ITeS (9.6 per cent), lifesciences & pharma (9.3 per cent), sectors like cement, energy, engineering design services may offer a 7.8-7.7 per cent increment.

According to Chaudhary, while the pandemic risk in India continues, the business sentiment salary projections for 2022 revealed that employers were building for growth were much better prepared than in 2020.

“Most Indian organisations, across traditional non-traditional sectors, are making investments in digital capabilities to sustain the growth momentum disrupt their industries.

Employees with digital technological skills are the most successful in 2021, as we see the highest salary increase for employees with these skills across sectors. We expect that this trend will intensify over time, as organisations have an increased need for this talent to transform their business models build resilient workforces,” he added.

At a time when more employers employees are looking to return to office after the pandemic forced work from home (WFH) remote working, the survey found Covid-19 statistics employee vaccination as key factors in determining the strategy. While 84 per cent of the respondents voted for Covid-19 statistics, 69 per cent were looking at employee vaccination. Only 46 per cent factored in employee preferences while deciding ‘return to office’ strategies.

Five measures being considered as part of their preparation for the third Covid wave include focusing on aggressive vaccination drives, re-evaluating plans around return to premises, relooking at talent management policies to facilitate prolonged working in a virtual environment, assessing the likely business scenarios potential impact on rewards budgets, investing in collaboration productivity tools.

The survey also found a high double-digit attrition rate of overall 20 per cent, along with voluntary attrition at 15.4 per cent.

Commenting on the trends, Chaudhary said, “The pandemic has accelerated the digital journey for organisations. This led to an unprecedented war for digital talent in the short term is driving up salary increase budgets attrition numbers across sectors. Businesses will have to redefine their talent strategies to keep pace with the war for talent.”

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Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information commentary on developments that are of interest to you have wider political economic implications for the country the world. Your encouragement constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed updated with credible news, authoritative views incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

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Lab-grown mini brains mimic Parkinson’s disease, researchers say

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Researchers have grown miniature brains in laboratory dishes to mirror Parkinson’s disease, learn how it progresses study new treatments, Duke-NUS Medical School announced Tuesday, in what was reported as a first-time feat.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder without a cure, which gradually causes movement-related issues, like tremors rigidity, per the Parkinson’s Foundation.

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“Recreating models of Parkinson’s disease in animal models is hard as these do not show the progressive selective loss of neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, a major feature of Parkinson’s disease,” Professor Ng Huck Hui, senior group leader at the Agency for Science, Technology Research’s Genome Institute of Singapore, senior co-author of the study, said in a statement posted Tuesday. “Another limitation is that experimental mouse models of Parkinson’s disease do not develop characteristic clumps of proteins called Lewy bodies, which are often seen in the brain cells of people with Parkinson’s disease a type of progressive dementia known as Lewy body dementia.”

Small pea-sized human midbrain-like organoids – or three-dimensional, multicellular, in vitro tissue constructs that mimic the human midbrain – are grown from human stem cells to enable scientists to study how the human brain develops communicates. 
(Credit: Associate Professor Hyunsoo Shawn Je, Duke-NUS Medical School)

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The so-called “human midbrain-like organoids” were described as “three-dimensional, multicellular, in vitro tissue constructs that mimic the human midbrain.” The organoids, approximately the size of a pea, “are grown from human stem cells into a bundle of neurons other cells found in the brain,” per the release.

“These experiments are the first to recreate the distinctive features of Parkinson’s disease that we see only in human patients,” said Hyunsoo Shawn Je, associate professor senior co-author from the Neuroscience Behavioural Disorders Programme at Duke-NUS. “We have created a new model of the pathology involved, which will allow us to track how the disease develops how it might be slowed down or stopped.”

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New COVID-19 cases have tripled over last year’s Labor Day weekend

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COVID-19 doesn’t take a holiday.

Labor Day weekend saw more than three times the number of new cases than in 2020 — during a time when many thought the pandemic may be coming to a close, according to new data from John Hopkins University.

As some 18 months of the pandemic come into perspective, health experts are serving up a heavy dose of reality — that the nearly 40 million COVID cases on record in the US represent just about a quarter of the true statistic. The US Centers for Disease Control has estimated that just 1 in every 4.2 COVID-19 infections were actually reported.

The United States has reached a milestone of 40 million coronavirus infections.
(iStock)

COVID-19 VARIANT MU DETECTED IN 49 STATES

That number is steadily gaining, according to John Hopkins researchers, owing to a boost from the 2021 holiday weekend with a new seven-day average of around 137,999 new cases daily — more than three times higher than Labor Day 2020 weekend’s 39,000 tally, CNN reported.

The 300% revelation comes as hospitals across several spiking states struggle to maintain operations amid shortages of beds, medical supplies personal protective equipment — scenes reminiscent of the pandemic’s height in the spring of 2020.

Currently just 53% of the US, including kids as young as 12 years, are fully vaccinated; just over 62% have had at least one dose, indicating that new COVID-19 vaccine uptake is slowing.

Brown University public health researcher professor Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN, “Everyone that I’m hospitalizing is not vaccinated. We are, by large across the country, not needing to hospitalize people that have gotten both doses of the vaccine.”

FLORIDA DOCTOR WILL REFUSE TO TREAT UNVACCINATED PATIENTS

“This is a disease of the unvaccinated right now,” she added.

Some of the states with the lowest vaccination rates are consequently also the ones suffering hospital shortages, including Alabama Mississippi — two states where ICUs are at or above 90% capacity, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services. Georgia, Arkansas, Texas Florida are similarly hovering at near-max capacity among their ICUs.

Meanwhile, experts wait with bated breath over a vaccine booster rollout, hoping that it comes before those who have already received two doses from Pfizer or Moderna, or one from Johnson & Johnson, will be able to access additional doses before initial benefits run out.

Boosters of the Pfizer vaccine have already been introduced for the immunocompromised as health officials await additional data to support plans for additional doses throughout the general population. National Institute of Allergy Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed their Sept. 20 target for booster rollout, with the hope that Moderna’s data will catch up to Pfizer.

“We were hoping that we would get both the candidates …” Fauci told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “It is conceivable that we will only have one of them out.”

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“We are doing studies right now which are… mix match studies,” he also said, proposing that vaccinated people could potentially swap providers between Pfizer Moderna’s mRNA therapies.

This story first appeared in the New York Post

Until that data is available, the CDC is recommending patients stick with their original vaccine providers. Fauci added, “Hopefully, within a reasonable period of time, measured in a couple of weeks, we will have that data.”

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