Portland General Electric Q4 Profit Rises, Guides FY20 EPS In Line With View

Sensex, Nifty fall for 2nd day as banking, auto stocks slide

Banking shares tumbled following the Supreme Court taking a strong note of non-compliance of its order asking telcos to pay ₹1.47 lakh crore in statutory dues.

Market benchmarks Sensex and Nifty dropped by almost half a percentage point on Friday as banking shares tumbled following the Supreme Court taking a strong note of non-compliance of its order asking telcos to pay ₹1.47 lakh crore in statutory dues.

The 30-share BSE Sensex fell by 202.05 points or 0.49% to end at 41,257.74, with 22 of its constituents closing with losses.

The broader NSE Nifty shed 61.20 points or 0.50% to settle at 12,113.50 as banking, auto, FMCG and energy counters retreated.

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the top echelons of telecom firms to explain why contempt action should not be taken against them for non-compliance of its order to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues of ₹1.47 lakh crore to the telecom department.

The order raised concerns over banks’ exposure to AGR-hit telcos, mainly Vodafone Idea which reported more than ₹6,000 crore loss for the October-December quarter.

The telecom department also withdrew its order that asked for no coercive action against telecom companies defaulting on statutory dues payment.

IndusInd Bank was the top loser among Sensex stocks, dropping by 4.38%. SBI declined 2.41%, HDFC Bank 1.77% and Axis Bank fell by 1.5%.

Among others, auto, FMCG and power stocks also closed in the red.

Gold Holds Steady Amid Virus Concerns

Gold prices held steady on Friday as risk sentiment improved a little bit on hopes of global measures to soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Both spot gold and U.S. gold futures were marginally higher at $1,578.95 per ounce and $1,578.85, respectively.

The death toll from coronavirus epidemic rose to 1,483 in China, but the number of new infections in hard-hit Hubei province fell.

Nearly 64,000 people are now recorded as having been made ill by the virus in China, with the last two days showing a steep rise after a change in diagnostic methods.

The World Health Organization said there was no major shift in the coronavirus’s pattern of mortality or severity, despite a dramatic increase in Hubei province.

Meanwhile, on the trade front, the United States and China have lowered tariffs on each other’s goods today as part of the “Phase One” trade agreement.

Russia Cuts Key Rate; Signals Additional Easing

Russia’s central bank lowered its key interest rate for the sixth consecutive meeting and signaled more easing to counter the slowdown in inflation.

The Board of Directors, led by Governor Elvira Nabiullina, decided to cut the key rate by 25 basis points to 6.00 percent, the Bank of Russia said in a statement on Friday. The bank had reduced its rate by a quarter-point in December.

Policymakers said inflation slowdown is overshooting the forecast. Disinflationary risks still exceed pro-inflationary risks over the short-term horizon, the bank said.

Annual inflation is expected to come in at 3.5-4.0 percent in 2020 and to remain close to 4 percent further on.

“If the situation develops in line with the baseline forecast, the Bank of Russia holds open the prospect of further key rate reduction at its upcoming meetings,” the bank said.

The bank said it will assess the effect of the adopted key rate decisions on monetary conditions and inflation movements.

With inflation likely to remain well below the central bank’s 4 percent target, interest rates will be lowered by an additional 50 basis point in the first half of this year, Jason Tuvey, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

Economic activity continued to be constrained by weakening external demand for Russian exports on the back of a global economic slowdown.

Nonetheless, the bank has left its growth outlook unchanged. The GDP growth rate is forecast to gradually increase from 1.5-2.0 percent in 2020 to 2-3 percent in 2022.

New Seasons Market Recalls Grab N’ Go Vegetarian Lasagna For Undeclared Soy

New Seasons Market is recalling 30 units of Grab N’ Go Vegetarian Lasagna w/ Gluten-Free Pasta for the presence of an undeclared soy, a known allergen, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced.

The recall only affects the products made and purchased at the company’s Hawthorne location. The products have UPC 52390 code, with packed on dates 2/1-2/3, and sell by dates 2/6-2/9.

The company urged the customers who purchased the product and are allergic to soy to dispose them and contact their nearest NSM store for a refund.

In recent incidents, Astrochef, LLC in late January recalled about 7,363 pounds of pepperoni stuffed pizza sandwich products for mislabeling and undeclared soy.

Further, Whole Foods Market recalled select bundt cakes and chocolate dipped cookies, and Bakkavor Foods USA, Inc. recalled 840 units of mushroom barley soup as they contain undeclared milk.

California’s Culinary International, LLC recalled around 626 pounds of egg burrito products labeled as chicken burrito products as they contain eggs, a known allergen.

Portland General Electric Q4 Profit Rises, Guides FY20 EPS In Line With View

Portland General Electric Co. (POR) on Friday reported fourth quarter net income of $61 million or $0.68 per share, up from $49 million or $0.55 per share a year ago.

On average, 9 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.68 per share. Analysts’ estimates usually exclude special items.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2020, the company initiated its earnings guidance in a range of $2.50 to $2.65 per share. The Street is looking for earnings of $2.56 per share for the year.