Unstructured Finance

ITC shares jump 2.6 pct

Bombay Stock ExchangeShares in cigarette-to-hotel business chain ITC rose 2.6 percent on Wednesday to top the list of Sensex gainers on better earnings expectations.

The stock, which closed at 304.75 rupees, was among the big gainers on the BSE FMCG Index which topped the sectoral list with a rise of 1.9 percent.

HSBC Securities said in a note on Tuesday that the June-quarter results could be a catalyst for the stock, since it could result in EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin expansion for the cigarettes business, as price increases taken are higher than necessary to offset tax increases.

Do you think buying ITC at current levels makes sense?

The morning deal: Selling Abraxis

A sign for the NASDAQ Market site is seen in New York's Times Square, February 8, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon StapletonBiotechnology company Celgene has agreed to acquire Abraxis BioScience for $2.9 billion in cash and stock. Abraxis shared are up 20 percent on the news and that’s got to make Abraxis Chairman Patrick Soon-Shiong happy, he owns over 80 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

Activity in the red-hot potash sector: the Belorussian government hopes to raise up to $7 billion from the sale of a minority stake in potash producer Belaruskali to help replenish state coffers.

Shares in BP jumped 8 percent today, helped by bid talk and optimism that the worst may be over for the stock as the company comes closer to halting the massive oil leak from its Gulf of Mexico well. Read about the fantasy M&A story here.

Marshall not so gaga for Osborne

Lord Myners played a cheeky game of bull and bear with Paul Marshall, the co-founder of hedge fund company Marshall Wace, at the close of his Q&A session at the Fund Forum in Monaco this morning.

After a playful grilling by Lord Myners, which ran the gamut from the problems of gating amongst hedge funds to Marshall Wace’s interest in being a Red Knight for Manchester United football club, Lord Myners fired various concepts at Marshall in a quickfire round, inviting him to choose whether he was a bull or a bear.

Although Marshall was bullish on the dollar and long-dated bonds, practically everything else made him feel bearish, from the euro zone to Spanish banks to Lady Gaga, Goldman Sachs, Paris Hilton and BP’s hapless CEO Tony Hayward.

Check Out Line: Oops, Britney designed her first clothing line

spears1Check out the latest celebrity designed clothing line.

Pop princess Britney Spears is launching her own fashion collection that targets the schoolgirl crowd. (Editor’s note: Can I say I am relieved my daughter is only 5 and unaware of this development?)

Spears, whom Forbes magazine once ranked the most powerful celebrity in the world and still ranks No. 6, has designed her first collection of clothing and accessories for Iconix Brand Group’s Candie’s brand, for which she has been the face the past three seasons.

The juniors’ collection, called “Britney for Candie’s,” will be sold exclusively in Kohl’s stores starting July 1 to kick off the back-to-school shopping season. (Pencils, check. Backpack, check. Britney-designed little black dress, must have!)

Vanguard plans UK target retirement date funds

US passive giant Vanguard is planning to bring its target retirement date products to the UK market to target the growing defined contribution (DC) pensions business.

Taking to Reuters at the Fund Forum, Tom Rampulla, managing director of Vanguard UK, said that the firm was currently trying to structure these long term savings products for the UK market, and looking to add key funds to support the offerings.

“We’re trying to construct a glide path and looking to add an inflation-hedge bond fund and a long-dated bond fund,” he said. A glide path describes the way an investor’s asset allocation changes over time as they near their target retirement date. For example, a younger investor might have more equity exposure than bonds, but move more of their savings into bonds as their retirement date nears.

This little piggy went to market

A lot of fund managers like to talk about how important it is to educate the investor but T Rowe Price has put its money where its mouth is. Through a collaboration with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts it has created an online game and an interactive exhibit at EPCOT called The Great Piggy Bank Adventure.

The aim is to help kids and their parents get to grips with basic savings concepts, diversifying their assets and staying ahead of inflation in a fun way. You can choose to save up for various items like a rabbit or a basketball but woe betide the child who is tempted by the whoopie cushion or plastic vomit when they pop to the shops.

“We wanted to encourage parents to engage with their children about managing money responsibly,” said Todd Ruppert, chief executive of T Rowe Price Global Investment Services, speaking to Reuters at the Fund Forum in Monaco.

MMTC announces share bonus and split

The board of MMTC approved a 10-for-1 stock split and a 1-for-1 bonus share issue on Tuesday.

Shares in the state-run trading firm ended down 1.8 percent at 31,943 rupees, with volumes of 16,164 shares.

The counter had jumped nearly 21 percent to 34,476.60 rupees on June 15 after the firm’s announcement that its board would consider this move.

Facebook is more than just a pretty face

The social networking website of Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) is now worth $23 billion, close to the value of online shopping website Ebay, based on the price of a recent stock purchase by private equity firm Elevation Partners. Elevation purchased $120 million in Facebook stock from private shareholders, valuing the company at $23 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

A valuation of that amount makes Facebook larger than Yahoo, which has a market capitalisation of $20 billion, and edging closer to the size of Ebay, at $27 billion. Still, it is a fraction the size of Google ($150 billion). Facebook’s backers include Digital Sky Technologies, Microsoft Corp Corp, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and venture capital firms Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.

Check Out Line: US online retailers dialing up mobile apps

phone1Check out the increasing appetite for mobile applications among U.S. online retailers.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of online retailers either already have or are developing a mobile strategy and one out of every five has a fully implemented mobile strategy already in place, according to a study from Forrester Research and Shop.org, the National Retail Federation’s digital division.

“It’s imperative for online retailers to stay on top of what their customers want and these days it’s all mobile all the time,” Scott Silverman, Shop.org executive director, said in a statement. “Mobile commerce has tremendous potential and will no doubt grow to become a significant part of overall sales volume in years to come.”