Researched by: Rachel John, Sara Varghese, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Priyanka Gulati
Adani stocks plummet again!
Just when Gautam Adani breathed a sigh of relief, the shares of his company plummeted again. This time, the trigger is an announcement by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that it intends to review the free float of the eight Adani group stocks.
Wtf does that mean? ‘Free float’ refers to the number of a company’s shares that are available to buy on the open market—i.e they are not held by the promoters, institutional investors etc. According to stock market rules, a promoter cannot hold more than 75% of a publicly listed company. The report put out by Hindenburg Research alleged that four Adani companies had breached that threshold—using shell companies in Mauritius to buy stock.
About MSCI: The MSCI indices are used by foreign investors to make decisions about where to put their money. MSCI accords a weightage to a company’s stock based on how desirable it is. And it reviews its indices every quarter—the latest announcement is due today.
What MSCI said: So MSCI announced that it will reevaluate the weightage given to eight Adani stocks based on Hindenburg’s review. These are Adani Enterprises, Adani Total Gas, Adani Transmission, Adani Ports, Adani Green Energy, Adani Power, ACC and Ambuja Cements. The reason why: If the report is accurate, the percentage of shares available to foreign investors as free float is far lower than what has been declared. If the weightage given to Adani stocks is slashed, they will go into freefall once again. While the rumours are that the weightage will be cut by 50%, the actual number will be revealed in the official announcement.
What LIC said: As you may know, the government-controlled insurance company is the second largest shareholder in most of the Adani companies. And the government is under pressure for not taking action against Adani—allegedly because of the PM’s close relationship with Gautam-bhai. LIC’s chairman finally announced that it will meet the top management of the Adani Group and seek “clarification” on the crisis: “We are soon going to call them to meet us and explain. We want to understand what is happening in the market and in the group.” The Telegraph and Mint have more on the MSCI announcement—while The Hindu has more on LIC.
Also losing market value: Alphabet—whose stock dropped 8% after the demo video of its AI chatbot Bard failed to impress. Bard gave an incorrect answer to a question about the James Webb Space Telescope. The plunge erased $170 billion in market value. In contrast, Microsoft’s unveiling of its ChatGPT-powered search engine bumped up its stock by over 4%. Why this is notable:
The fact that the selloff was far bigger than the 2.8% drop the day after Alphabet’s earnings missed estimates show how important success in the AI arms race has become for investors. “For a stock like Google to get knocked down this much, it just shows you that people aren’t even looking at the fundamentals,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co.
The Twitter melodrama continues
Users across the world found that they were suddenly unable to tweet, follow new accounts or check messages. They instead received the odd message that they were “over the daily limit for sending Tweets”—including those who had not posted that day. CEO Elon Musk vaguely claimed “multiple internal and external issues” that would soon be resolved.
Less easy to resolve: The EU’s displeasure with Twitter. Officials claimed that it was the only major tech platform that didn’t send a full report on how it plans to fight disinformation. Why this matters: the EU is gearing up to enforce stricter content rules on social media platforms—and could penalise or even ban those who fail to comply. (Mint)
Meanwhile, over at Twitter India: The paid subscription Twitter Blue is now available for Rs 650 per month for website users—and a hefty Rs 910 for mobile apps. Contrary to Musk’s earlier claim, the fee is not market-sensitive—and is exactly the same as US prices. Hindustan Times has more on what this buys you—other than the blue tick.
The future of electricity consumption
A new report from the International Energy Agency predicts that Asia will consume 50% of the world’s electricity by 2025. The biggest guzzler: China—whose share of global consumption will rise to a third—consuming more electricity than the European Union, United States and India combined. In stark contrast, the entire continent of Africa—home to almost a fifth of the world's population—will account for a paltry 3%. (Associated Press)
A flurry of Hollywood news
Disney: is laying off 7,000 employees—around 3.6% of its global workforce. It is part of the plan to make its streaming platform more profitable. Disney+ lost 2.4 million subscribers in the previous quarter—costing the company more than $1 billion.
Reuters has more on the restructuring.
La La Land: The Oscar-winning movie is unsurprisingly being turned into a Broadway show—directed by Bartlett Sher (‘To Kill a Mockingbird’). ‘La La Land’ already has a spinoff—‘La La Land in Concert’—which has been touring the world for the past six years. (Variety)
Fawlty Towers: In far more exciting (and vaguely alarming) news, a reboot of the beloved BBC comedy is in the works. John Cleese will return as Basil Fawlty—and write the script—along with his daughter Camila. Here’s what we know about the new version:
The new series will explore how Cleese’s over-the-top, cynical and misanthropic Basil Fawlty navigates the modern world. Plot details are largely being kept under wraps but the development will bring the story forward to explore Basil’s relationship with a daughter he has just discovered he had, as the pair tempt fate and team up to run a boutique hotel.
The series will be developed by Rob Reiner’s Castle Rock Entertainment—not the BBC—which may be the most worrying bit. If you don’t know much about ‘Fawlty Towers’, you can get a sense of it in the clip below. (Deadline)
Burt Bacharach: has passed away at the age of 94. The legendary composer and producer was an icon of 60s music—especially its romantic melodies. Younger generations may recognise him from his turn in the 1997 movie ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’. (New York Times)
Boy orcas are mummy’s boys
A new study shows that male orcas are the ultimate ‘maa ka laadlas’. Their mothers continue to hunt for them even after they become adults. And they continue to do so even though it affects their ability to produce more offspring: “Each surviving son cuts a mother's chances of having a new calf by more than 50% in a given year.”
Interestingly, daughters do not get this special treatment—and are “cut off entirely from prey sharing by their moms once they reach sexual maturity.” The reason for this blatant sexism:
From the mom's point of view, there are some good reasons why they might want to preferentially help their sons. When daughters reproduce, their calf is in the same group as the grandma, and that means there's another mouth to feed in the group that might compete with the female's other offspring. So, there's a cost there to helping your daughter reproduce. Whereas with males, when they have their kids, they're usually born in someone else's group.
Point to note: both sons and daughters remain in the pod after becoming adults. (Live Science)
Two things to see
One: Deepika Padukone put out a video plugging her new skincare line—with the help of her fave leading man. It mainly consists of her teaching Shah Rukh a morning routine. No, there were no skin lightening creams involved. Sorry, that’s one SRK sin we can’t forgive…
Two: Disney has bowed to Beijing pressure and axed a scene from ‘The Simpsons’ that references “forced labour camps” in China. The scene has only been deleted from the version on Disney+ Hong Kong. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Disney has previously snipped references to Tiananmen Square, as well. You can see the censored clip below. (Al Jazeera)