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Financial, energy stocks drag Indian shares as virus spread weighs – News

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The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.68 per cent lower at 10,312.4, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.6per cent at 34,961.52, after sliding as much as 1.5 per cent earlier in the session.

Indian shares closed lower on Monday, dragged by financial and energy stocks, as a jump in coronavirus cases at home and around the world stoked fears of renewed restrictions, dimming hopes of a quick economic recovery.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.68 per cent lower at 10,312.4, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.6per cent at 34,961.52, after sliding as much as 1.5 per cent earlier in the session.

Global equities were also under pressure, with MSCI’s world shares index slipping to its lowest since June 15 and European shares opening slightly lower.

Coronavirus cases in India jumped to 548,318 as of Monday, with the death toll at 16,475, according to federal health ministry data. The global death toll reached half a million people on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally.

Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital Mumbai and the worst hit state by the outbreak so far, extended its lockdown to July 31.

“The economic reality is going to be on the downside, that’s a given. Liquidity is the only support for global markets and that is the only hinge on which the markets are moving,” said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O’Neil & Co in India, adding that tensions with China following the recent border clashes were also denting the sentiment.

The Nifty 50 has recovered around 40 per cent from a four-year low hit in mid-March, as foreign inflows returned to the market. But the index is still down 15 per cent for the year, compared with a 7 per cent drop for the MSCI Asia index.

Shadow bank Bajaj Finance Ltd and private-sector lender Axis Bank Ltd tumbled 1.6 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, after S&P Global Ratings cut their ratings to junk, while Coal India slid 5.1 per cent as quarterly profit slumped.

HDFC Bank Ltd closed 1.9 per cent higher, helping check broader losses. – Reuters

 




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Principality CEO Julia-Ann Haines: ‘Improve diversity in financial services’

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Julie-Ann Haines joined the Principality in 2007 before becoming boss in 2020

Diversity in financial services must be improved, the new boss of Wales’ biggest building society has claimed.

Julie-Ann Haines is the first woman chief executive of the Principality in its 160-year history.

It has introduced blind shortlisting of candidates and ensured job adverts are inclusive. But Ms Haines wants more done by the industry.

“Financial services have got a long way to go,” she said.

“I recognise that I have a platform as the first female CEO to really make some changes, not just in my organisation, but to set the tone.”

“I think that there is a lot more work for Principality to do, and indeed the wider environment here in Wales, to make sure that we are adequately representing people, not just of gender but of diverse populations.”

Changes at the building society have resulted in more women in senior roles, including on the board, she said.

A recent Financial Conduct Authority report found just 17% of the most senior roles in the sector in the UK were held by women.

It also found there had been little improvement on that in 15 years.

The report said while there had been some advances at larger companies, there was a lack of women in senior roles at smaller firms.

And it raised concerns male-dominated firms engaged in more risk-taking.

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Ms Haines said there were practical changes the industry could make.

“Being the first female CEO gives you that licence to challenge and ask questions,” she said.

“To necessarily look beyond the skill sets that maybe have been valued in the past.

“Whether that is about recruitment, looking for apprenticeships, making sure that we are really searching far and wide.”

‘Promising news for future generations’

She said firms should be checking that they are using blind recruitment and breaking down barriers to create “fantastic opportunities” for people.

“For example, we have a financial services graduate scheme where we partner with other leading Welsh financial services organisations,” Ms Haines said.

“Why wouldn’t we want to look at particular schemes for ethnic minorities or for gender rather than just for graduates of any background or experience?”

Insurance company Admiral has just appointed its first female chief executive, Milena Mondini de Focatiis, which some see as another sign that the financial sector is changing.

Ms Mondini de Focatiis takes up the role next year.

Cerys Furlong, chief executive of gender equality charity Chwarae Teg, said: “It is welcome news that the under-representation of women in senior roles within the financial services sector is being recognised, and that moves are being made to tackle the problem.

“Our own research has shown that a lack of female role models in senior positions has a real impact on young women’s aspirations too, therefore the commitment shown by Principality is promising news for future generations, the sector and the economy in Wales.”

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B.C. forecasting $12.5B deficit due to COVID-19 pandemic

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The British Columbia government is forecasting a $12.5 billion deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, five months after the provincial budget featured a marginal surplus.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Finance Minister Carole James called the projected scenarios “staggering, but not without hope.”

“This could be the worst downturn experienced in our province in recent history,” she said.

The provincial budget for 2020, tabled just months before the COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread shutdowns, included a $227 million surplus for 2020-21.

Now, James said B.C.’s GDP is forecast to decrease by 5.4 per cent for 2020, while Canada’s is forecast to decrease by 6.6 per cent.

So far, $1.5 billion has been earmarked by the province for economic recovery measures. James said that so far, the government has provided $6.26 billion in financial aid to businesses and individuals.

The B.C. economy could grow back 3.1 per cent in 2021, according to the economic projections. But James said that current projections are based on a snapshot in time, with a huge number of unknowns, including the possibility of future outbreaks in B.C. or elsewhere, evolutions in public health responses, supports from government and central banks, and the development of a vaccine.

Sales, job numbers plummeted

The province has lost 235,000 since February. Unemployment numbers in June were up to 13 per cent, the highest numbers recorded since 1987.

James said while many jobs have bounced back as the province has continued with its gradual reopening, not all jobs will be recovered before the end of the year. Youth employment remains at 29 per cent, and data shows that men are re-entering the workforce at a far faster rate than women.

Data presented on Tuesday showed that retail sales fell by 24 per cent between February and April, with the biggest sales losses in clothing, sports, hobbies, books, music, furniture, gasoline, and motor vehicles and parts. Home sales plummeted by 45 per cent between February and May, with home prices dropping four per cent.

Possible risks like a second wave of infections or shifts in other jurisdictions that would affect B.C. exports mean the timeline for economic recovery is uncertain.

The B.C. government has already tabled legislation giving itself room for three years of deficits and James says that will be re-examined each year.

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Face masks will help UK’s ‘physical and financial’ recovery, says Health Secretary

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Working conditions could be leaving people exposed to coronavirus, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham told a press conference today as he called for more clarity from the Government.

Giving a joint address with Steve Rotheram, metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Mr Burnham said that the Government should provide more information to local authorities on those who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Burnham said that the Government was “at risk of not observing their own law” by not providing daily data, which identified patients, to councils, while calling for clarity on at what point the Government will intervene to implement local lockdowns.

The metro-mayor said a high number of cases in Rochdale may be linked to a warehousing operation which had been the “focus of some extra work with regards to testing”.

In the House of Commons today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that patient identifiable data is available to local authorities, and “we plan to publish more and more of this data as open data”, but noted that “there has to be a data protection agreement”.



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