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from Breakingviews:

U.S. firms get caught in China spying crossfire

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

It’s almost a year since U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a cordial “shirt-sleeves summit”. When it comes to the two countries’ internet rivalry, however, bare knuckles have replaced bare forearms. Last week’s indictment by the United States of five Chinese army officers as alleged cyber spies has prompted a backlash against American companies. China’s weapon is shutting them out from future growth.

China responded with predictable speed after the Federal Bureau of Investigation put the hackers on its “Most Wanted” list. The mainland plans to scrutinise foreign information technology vendors in the name of national security. Companies which fail security checks could be blacklisted from supplying products and services. State media reported authorities would also ban Windows 8 from government computers. Meanwhile, the government is discouraging state-owned companies from using foreign management consultants like McKinsey, according to the Financial Times.

It’s hard to know how seriously China will enforce this stance. Even so, the threat is potent. Though the World Trade Organisation bans its members from discriminating against foreign imports, it allows exceptions for national security. That is how the U.S. government keeps Chinese telecom equipment companies like Huawei and ZTE out.

from Expert Zone:

In defence of the defensives: Why IT, pharma stocks are not pariahs

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Expectation that the ongoing general election will throw up a stable government has spurred a return to risk in domestic equities. The consequent rally has meant those favoured defensives of the sluggish times - information technology and pharma stocks - received a shearing.

The CNX IT index shed 7.8 percent and CNX Pharma 10.1 percent in March - even as the benchmark Nifty surged 6.8 percent.

from Expert Zone:

India Markets Weekahead: ‎Ride the election rally but skim the profits

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

The market began the week on a high note after an extended weekend but could not sustain the rally due to profit booking. The Nifty was at a high of 6570 on Tuesday but the rest of the trading days remained lackluster and it ended the week with a marginal loss - at 6495 after the extended trading session on Saturday.

Although the week was marked with heightened political activity as candidates for the general election were announced, the U.S Federal Reserve had a sobering effect on the markets. The Fed decision to continue with further tapering of $10 billion and focus on interest rates, which should start rising sooner than expected, saw corrections in most markets as the dollar strengthened.

from Expert Zone:

India Markets Weekahead: Markets move into pre-election rally

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

A spectacular rally in the last few days has put the market in a pre-election mode, buoyant with hopes of a stable and reform-oriented government. Led by institutional buying and the resultant short squeeze, the markets rallied more than 3 percent in the last two trading sessions - closing the week at 6526, a record high for Nifty. The markets seemed to have moved into a new territory with metals, realty, banking, capital goods, infrastructure and energy sectors participating in the rally.

 Generally, the data points for a pre-election rally are the developments on political activities and opinion polls. The economic data takes a backseat in this “rally of hope” and markets take a keen interest in electoral analysis.

from India Insight:

Equity funds underperform Sensex for first time since 2008

India’s diversified equity mutual funds rose in 2013 but underperformed the broader markets for the first time in five years, as returns were dampened by the losses in the mid- and small-cap shares as well as financial companies.

These funds gained 4.8 percent on average in 2013, according to data from fund tracker Lipper, delivering lesser annual returns than the benchmark BSE Sensex after 2008.  The Sensex touched life highs in 2013 and ended 9 percent higher, boosted by foreign inflows of more than $20 billion.

from India Insight:

Indian IT finds promise in Europe as continent looks at offshoring

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Europe's reluctance to send information technology and other business processing work to India might be changing, based on recent financial results from companies that specialize in handling "IT and business process outsourcing" work. It looks like this is a trend that will last more than a quarter.

from FaithWorld:

Sorry, Catholics can’t confess via the new iPhone app – Vatican

iphone apps

(Religion apps for the iPhone, photographed in New York, July 21, 2010/Tom Heneghan)

Catholics cannot confess via iPhone and technology is not a substitute for being present when admitting sins to a priest, the Vatican spokesman said on Wednesday. The statement by Father Federico Lombardi follows the launch of an iPhone application aimed at helping Catholics through confession sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the United States.

from Money on the markets:

BSE IT index gains 3.15 pct

Bombay Stock Exchange buildingIT stocks posted smart gains on Wednesday as IT cos' stocks gained on expectations of strong quarterly earnings.

Oracle Financial Services Software ended 4.6 percent higher as the top gainer in the index.

from Money on the markets:

Infosys shares hit record high

Shares in Infosys Technologies, India's second-largest outsourcer, rose as much as nearly 2 percent to a record high of 2,882 rupees on Friday on optimism about quarterly earnings next week.

InfosysThe company unveils its quarterly earnings on June 13. Its earnings are often dubbed as a trendsetter for sectoral peers.

from Money on the markets:

IT counters post decent gains

The BSE IT Index gained 1.7 percent on Tuesday as expectations of revenue growth for the June quarter pushed up export-focused outsourcing firms.

Bombay Stock ExchangeAll stocks in the IT index, except Mphasis, closed in positive territory, with Rolta India leading the list of gainers with a jump of 4.1 percent.

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