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Mon, 20th February 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “Appeal” Tag

Overnight US Market :Dow closed -19 points.

Energy companies led U.S. stock indexes lower Monday as the price of crude oil declined. Phone company and materials stocks were also among the big decliners. Investors were weighing the latest batch of company earnings news.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.04 points, or 0.1%, to 20,052. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4.86 points, or 0.2%, to 2293, as the broad-based index snapped a three-day winning streak. The Nasdaq composite index fell 3.21, or 0.1%, to 5664, as the tech-heavy index pulled back from Friday’s record closing high.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 82 cents, or 1.5%, to close at $53.01 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost $1.09, or 1.9%, to $55.72 a barrel in London.

Several energy companies were trading lower. Devon Energy slid 3.2%, while Chesapeake Energy dropped 3%. Marathon Oil shed 4.1%.

The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.42% from 2.47% late Friday.

Investors are still cautious as Trump’s early acts as president have been shaping markets for the past couple of weeks. On Friday, Trump directed the Treasury Secretary to look for potential changes to the Dodd-Frank law, which reshaped financial regulations after the 2008-09 financial crisis. Investors applauded that move but remain uncertain about the future impact of other policies. Over the weekend, the U.S. immigration ban on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries was blocked by a federal judge and an appeals court turned down a Justice Department request to set that judgment aside. The White House said it expects the courts to restore executive order, which was founded on a claim of national security.

US court refuses to immediately restore Trump travel ban

A U.S. appeal court late on Saturday denied a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately restore a immigration order from President Donald Trump barring citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries and temporarily banning refugees.

The court ruling dealt a further setback to Trump, who has denounced the judge in the state of Washington who blocked his executive order on Friday. In tweets and comments to reporters, the president has insisted he will get the ban reinstated.

 Trump says the temporary immigration restrictions on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and on all refugees, are necessary to protect the United States from Islamist militants. Critics say they are unjustified and discriminatory.

The judge’s order and the appeal ruling have created what may be a short-lived opportunity for travelers from the seven affected countries to get into the United States while the legal uncertainty continues.

In a brief order, the appeals court said the government’s request for an immediate administrative stay on the Washington judge’s decision had been denied. It was awaiting further submissions from Washington and Minnesota states on Sunday, and from the government on Monday.

The government’s appeal says the decision by judge James Robart in Washington poses an immediate harm to the public, thwarts enforcement of an executive order and “second-guesses the president’s national security judgment about the quantum of risk posed by the admission of certain classes of (non-citizens) and the best means of minimizing that risk”.

Trump denounced the “so-called” judge in a series of tweets on Saturday and told reporters: “We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win.”

IRAQI FAMILY

The president’s Jan. 27 order has drawn criticism even from U.S. allies and created chaos for thousands of people who have, in some cases, spent years seeking asylum in the United States.

Iraqi Fuad Sharef, together with his wife and three children, spent two years obtaining U.S. visas, and had packed up to move to America last week, but were turned back to Iraq after a failed attempt to board a U.S.-bound flight from Cairo.

US Plans To Impose Additional Iran Sanctions As Early As Friday; Would Not Violate Nuclear Deal

According to Reuters, the United States is expected to impose sanctions on multiple Iranian entities as early as Friday following Tehran’s recent ballistic missile test, but in a way that will not violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

One source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said about eight Iranian entities were to be sanctioned, or “designated” in U.S. legal jargon, for terrorism-related activities and about 17 for ballistic missile-related activities under separate existing U.S. executive orders. The source declined to name the entities.

While we await more details, the fact that the Trump administration is in no hurry to scrap Obama’s Nuclear Deal is likely a suggestion that this particular draconian step will not be taken in the near future, if at all, and thus a potential major risk factor for higher oil prices can be eliminated for the time being.

ALERT- Narendra Modi govt puts hefty $1 bn burden on ONGC, Oil India

Government-owned explorers ONGC and Oil India face an additional royalty burden of more than $1 billion after the Narendra Modi government decided that they would have to pay royalty to crude oil-producing states such as Assam, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu at ‘pre-discount’ rates.

“It has been decided that ONGC and Oil India will pay royalty to all similarly placed crude oil-producing states at pre-discount prices effective February 1, 2014, pending the outcome of the special leave appeal filed by ONGC before the Supreme Court,” said a petroleum ministry order dated July 15.

This means ONGC and Oil India would have to pay royalty to the states based on their gross realisation on sale of crude oil and not on the net price. This is despite the fact that the shift from gross to net price for royalty was made in 2008, in concurrence with the petroleum ministry. The difference between the gross and net price is the subsidy burden borne by these upstream companies to compensate state-run IOC, HPCL and BPCL for selling sensitive petroleum products below market cost. Though the exact additional burdens on ONGC and Oil India because of the ministry’s stance are not immediately known, officials say their combined additional payout would be $1 billion.

DK Sarraf, chairman and managing director, and AK Srinivasan, director (finance) at ONGC, could not be reached for comments, as both are travelling overseas.

Thanks to the drastic fall in global crude oil price that reduced India’s oil subsidy substantially, in FY16, ONGC reported gross realisation of $48.26/barrel. After forking out for subsidy at $1.12/barrel, its net realisation stood at $47.14/barrel. In FY15, ONGC gross realisation was $85.28/barrel and after sharing $40.41/barrel towards subsidy, its net realisation dropped to $44.87/barrel. “We have decided Assam and oil-producing states will get additional royalty from ONGC and Oil India. Assam might get above R1,400 crore,” said petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

India : Struggling debt recovery tribunals add to stress in banking sector

At a time when India’s state-run banks are reeling under bad debt and trying hard to recover loans, the sorry state of debt recovery tribunals (DRTs)—a body set up for speedy adjudication and recovery of debts due to banks and financial institutions—is adding to the woes.

Nearly two years after finance minister Arun Jaitley promised to open six more DRTs in his maiden budget speech, nothing has changed.

There have been no fresh additions to the 33 DRTs in the country, said two lawyers who handle tribunal-related cases. The additions were supposed to reduce the burden of increasing number of bad debt cases and ensure speedy redressal.

The state of existing DRTs is also a cause of concern, according to the two lawyers.

“The current infrastructure is not sustainable and that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Papers are still filed manually at these tribunals and many times, case papers disappear during important hearings and the court adjourns the matter, delaying it further,” said one of the two lawyers cited above, on condition of anonymity.

In September, Jaitley had asked the department of financial services under the finance ministry to computerize DRTs on a priority basis. But the proposal seems to have made no headway.

An email sent to the department on Thursday remained unanswered till the time of going to press.

‘Flash crash’ trader Navinder Singh Sarao to be extradited to US

Navinder Singh Sarao, the British futures trader accused of contributing to the so-called stock market “flash crash” of 2010, has lost his court battle and will be extradited to the US.

A judge ruled that Mr Sarao, 37, should be sent to the US to face trial on 22 charges ranging from wire fraud to commodities manipulation on US futures markets over a four-year period. The offences carry sentences totalling a maximum of 380 years

US prosecutors claim that Mr Sarao was heavily engaged in a type of market manipulation known as “spoofing” that played a role in one of the most spectacular moves ever seen in US equity markets.

The Department of Justice said Mr Sarao’s activity “contributed to the market imbalance on that day” and he is accused of making a $900,000 profit that day, and $40m over four years by employing similar tactics. They have frozen £30m of his assets and want him to stand trial in the US.

WTO ruling gives solar power shock for India

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has ruled that India’s power purchase agreements with solar companies are “inconsistent” with international norms.

The US had dragged India to the WTO on this issue, alleging that the clause relating to domestic content requirement (DCR) in the country’s solar power mission is discriminatory in nature and “nullified” the benefits accruing to the American solar power developers.

Indian government sources said that they were likely to appeal against the verdict before WTO’s Apellate body. India has about three months to file the appeal.

 The WTO’s dispute settlement panel ruled that the “requirements were inconsistent with the national treatment obligations of the Agreement on Trade-related Investment Measures (TRIMs Agreement) and of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT).”

The panel also found that the DCR measures accorded “less favourable treatment” to the US companies and were “not justified” under the general exceptions in GATT rules.

India can challenge this ruling before the appellate body of the WTO.

US to withdraw charges in SAC insider trading cases

The US attorney’s office in Manhattan will seek to dismiss insider trading charges against a former SAC Capital trader and six co-operating witnesses in the wake of an appeals court decision that has made prosecuting such cases much tougher.

The case against former SAC portfolio manager Michael Steinberg, who was found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years in prison in 2014, is now to be dropped.

Mr Steinberg, who has been on bail since his conviction, is one of several hedge fund traders set to benefit from an appeals court decision to overturn two insider trading convictions in related cases.
In December, the US Appeals Court for the Second Circuit said prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to convict Todd Newman, a former portfolio manager at Diamondback Capital, and Anthony Chiasson, a former money manager at Level Global Investors of insider trading.
The ruling set a higher bar for proving insider trading crimes, arguing that prosecutors had to show a tipster had received a “consequential” benefit in an explicit quid pro quo arrangement to prove insider trading. That meant certain actions that had been considered illegal would no longer constitute a crime.