Yolo folks are out to shop
Also in today’s edition: Poaching for metaverse, Vodafone’s new master, Covid surges in the US, Airlines hope to fly high
Good morning! If you have enough fans, you can beat the markets. Even if you are a baby. While meme coins such as Shiba Inu, Dogecoin and the one named after Doge father Elon Musk’s dog Floki got a new year thrashing, Baby Doge jumped nearly 100%. Bloomberg says supporters are pumping it up to be listed on Binance.
In the latest episode of The Signal Daily, we understand how 2021 was a successful year for the capital market. In other news, BigBasket enters a hot and crowded territory. Hopping on the bandwagon, BigBasket is set to introduce the group buying model in Tier IV cities. Catch the full episode to find out why BigBasket is entering small towns.
The Market Signal
Stocks: Expectations of good earnings have kept shares buoyant this week. Vodafone Idea crashed on news that the government will hold a majority stake in the company. Markets would likely take cues from Fed chairman Jerome Powell who is expected to talk about inflation-fighting plans Tuesday at the Senate confirmation hearing for his second term.
The Metaverse Talent War Is Here
It was only a matter of time before companies building the metaverse started raiding rivals for the most important asset: talent. Meta (you know who) has been snapping up employees from Microsoft’s HoloLens team.
Nothing new: These defections are commonplace among technology companies, but there's a reason why companies such as Meta are looking to Microsoft. It has a significant head start in augmented reality (AR) tech, considered integral to building metaverses. Apple too is working hard to prevent defections to Meta, as it charts its own AR future.
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Just Rich People Shopping
If you were rich and in with the trends of the pandemic, you would have bought a Ghost. British icon Rolls Royce sold more cars in 2021 than any year in its 117-year history, as the wealthy realised that life is too short to postpone buying.
Luxury carmaker Bentley also had a record 2021, delivering 14,659 cars.
Fly alone: The pandemic also fuelled demand for private jets. So much so that not only are the price tags prohibitive (well, in a manner of speaking), but there’s also a shortage of private jets.
Govt Gets Another Phone Co
The deal: Vi owes the government over ₹50,000 crore in spectrum and revenue share dues. Its board has now approved converting that to equity equalling 38.5% of ownership. Tata Tele has also opted for conversion of dues.
Telecom companies were offered a relief package with an option of a moratorium on payments or conversion to equity last September to tide over their financial crunch.
The move pushes the government a step back from its stated intention of paring presence in strategic sectors, including telecom, to the bare minimum. It has struggled to restructure the state-owned BSNL and MTNL. A proposed merger of the two was junked in 2021 and instead an asset sale was mooted. An unconfirmed report also suggested that Bharat Broadband Network, which operates the national fibre optics network, will be amalgamated with BSNL.
If, however, BSNL and MTNL managements, personnel and systems were to be restructured and merged with Vi, the combined entity could be a behemoth rivalling Jio and Airtel. The government stake in such an entity could also be attractive to prospective investors.
Tracking The Third Wave
Covid-19 is determined to break a few records. It's been relentless in the US. Its neighbour, Canada has secured the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is down with the virus. For the second time.
Homebound: Private offices will be shut in Delhi. Mumbai provided some respite with a decline in cases but demand for Covid-19 test kits is on the upswing. India reported 1,85,189 fresh Covid-19 cases on Tuesday.
Wear your masks, isolate, and don't be like Boris Johnson.
Clear Skies Ahead
Despite Omicron triggering widespread flight cancellations, there is hope for the aviation industry. Airbus beat Boeing to the top spot by delivering 611 passenger jets in 2021, an 8% increase over 2020.
Optimism: AirAsia, which has also been battered by the pandemic, is expecting international travel to pick up with a vengeance. Despite some countries reimposing restrictions, things are looking up. Cancellations are already slowing down in the US.
Singapore Airlines plans to raise up to $500 million-$750 million in its second US dollar bond sale.
Tax bonanza? Salaried taxpayers may have a sweetener in the Union Budget. The finance ministry is said to be considering raising the tax-exempt component in salaries by a third.
Shutting store: New York’s beloved fabric shop, Saroj Goyal’s Dress Shoppe II will shut down after 46 years from the East Village.
More bacon for brunch: India will soon import pork from the US in exchange for mangoes, grapes, and water buffalo meat.
Toxic: Indians across 132 states are breathing poor quality air.
That sinking feeling: Meet the modern Leaning Tower of Pisa. Millennium Tower in San Francisco is tilting three inches every year. The luxury high-rise has been dipping despite throwing in a cool $100 million to straighten it out. However, the fix aggravated the sinking. Through the years, it has sunk by 26 inches.
NFTy money: This one's a first for a news outlet. Associated Press, the 175-year-old news agency, is diversifying its revenues through NFT. Digital versions of photographs, including the Pulitzer Prizes focusing on space, climate, war, will go up on sale from January 31, 2022.
Smart guns: Remember James Bond’s palm-print Walther PPK from Skyfall? Similar biometric grip guns that won’t fire without user verification are arriving in US stores. A fingerprint reader can unlock the gun, otherwise, there is a PIN pad too.
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