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Stocks to watch on Thursday
August, 21st 2008

Volatility is likely to be the order of the day as markets grapple with higher inflation, a rebound in crude prices and mixed global cues. The wholesale price index, scheduled to be announced post market hours Thursday, is forecast to have risen 12.63 per cent in the week to Aug 9 compared with 12.44 per cent.

Oil prices rose to more than $116 per barrel on supply concerns. US crude futures were at $116.30 per barrel.

Rupee continued to fall on expectations a rise in oil prices will spur dollar demand. At 9:08 a.m., the partially convertible rupee was at 43.75/77 per dollar, against Wednesday's close of 43.70/72 per dollar.

Oil was above $116 a barrel, which will force refiners to buy more dollars to pay for their costlier imports.

Sliding stock markets and a steady decline in its share price have forced Tata Motors to change the structure of its Rs 7,200-crore rights issue, which was announced three months back. The issue was aimed at part-financing its $2.3-billion acquisition of Jaguar-Land Rover early this year. The company has abandoned plans to raise Rs 3,000 crore through an issue of convertible preference shares; instead, the company will raise the amount by divesting some of its investments.

The government will soon raise the foreign direct investment cap to 74 per cent in cable and direct-to-home modes of distributing telecast signals. The current policy permits 49 per cent foreign holding in cable TV and DTH. The Cabinet is expected to take up the matter of raising the FDI cap soon.

The 50:50 joint venture between apparel retailer Raymond and Italian fashion house Grotto SpA is learnt to be in trouble less than two years after it was formed. The JV was formed to retail Grottos high-street brand GAS in India. Grotto is learnt to be exploring the options of exiting the JV and is tying up with another potential partner for India operation.

Drinks giant Diageo is stepping in to play active operational role to shore up the joint venture with Radico Khaitan amidst speculation that the two-year-old arrangement could be falling apart. Diageo will spearhead the marketing and distribution of the JVs first offering, Masterstroke Whisky, in a bid to re-ignite the same in the marketplace.

Leading hotel chains and top real estate developers are understood to be bidding for the beleaguered UK investment group Dawnay Day's four-star hotel chain Ten Hotels and other real estate assets in India. ITC, Royal Orchid, Pride Hotels, Sarovar group, Lemon Tree, DLF and Paraswanath have made a pitch for the deal, which is valued at around Rs 500-700 crore.

The Centre will release Rs 22,000 crore to the cash-strapped fertiliser companies soon, followed up by another Rs 31,000 crore within three months. The finance ministry following the intervention of prime minister Manmohan Singh has cleared the decks for the release of the second tranche soon.

The government has decided to extend service tax exemption to developers and SEZ units for authorised services rendered not just within the zones but outside as well. Right now, the finance ministry provides tax exemptions only for services availed inside SEZs.

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