Top of the Morning

Understanding the market's roller-coaster ride

Episode Summary

New govt needs to focus on job creation, Maruti's shifted focus

Episode Notes

Welcome to Top of the Morning by Mint, your weekday newscast that brings you five major stories from the world of business. It's Thursday, June 6, 2024. My name is Nelson John. Let's get started:

After suffering the worst crash in four years, the Indian equity markets bounced back yesterday to recoup some losses recorded on Tuesday. Nifty and Sensex rose around 3.2% each.

The last three have been a roller coaster for investors. Why have they been reactionary and jittery? Ram Sahgal has the answer: BJP being unable to secure a simple majority on its own has spooked investors. They feel that the new NDA government will have to resort to populist measures in order to effect some damage control. This could potentially delay major infrastructure projects like new airports or bullet trains, making market participants unhappy. Ram explains that future market movements will likely be based on which politician gets which ministry in the new government.

Like the broader market, Tech Mahindra too rose more than two percent yesterday. But a broader look at its share price and financials would have any investor worried. The IT company's net profit crashed by more than 40%, while revenue declined too. While the overall picture for the IT sector looks grim, Tech Mahindra, in particular, seems to have borne the worst of it. Still, it's not a small company with a total revenue of more than $6 billion. But for Mohit Joshi, this situation provides an opportunity. Joshi took the reins of the company in December 2023. He wants to transform Tech Mahindra into an upper-tier IT company that competes with TCS and Infosys. As Shelley Singh outlines, this is easier said than done. Joshi has his work cut out for him, but the only way for Tech Mahindra is up.

One of the main issues in this year's general elections was jobs — or the lack thereof. Creating new jobs should be a central focus of the new government. Devina Sengupta writes that two-thirds of Indian citizens are now under 35 years old. This statistic means that the ongoing job crunch will only worsen as more of India comes of working age. Analysts told Devina that the focus needs to be on higher-paying jobs and getting small and medium businesses to hire employees on a larger scale. Tier 2 and beyond cities especially have immense scope to create and localise jobs, they added. Lastly, a concerted effort needs to be made in the labour market, which is dominated by migrant workers. It's a tough task ahead that will almost immediately assume importance for the new government.

If you've been in the market for earphones, it's tough to look past Boat. The electronics company, which started with audio and then moved into wearables, provides a tonne of cheap options for earphones, speakers, and smartwatches. As Sowmya Ramasubramanian and Samiksha Goel write, the company transformed the domestic market for wearables by unleashing an affordable range of products. But now, you have plenty of other options in the same segment, lowering Boat's market share. Now, the company plans to reset its focus to audio, a segment providing 80 percent of its revenue. It's going to take a step back in the wearables segment to assess its options, according to Sowmya and Samiksha's report.

For the longest time, a small car in India usually meant a Maruti Suzuki. The 800, Alto, Zen, Swift, Wagon R... the list goes on. But the winds of change have reached the country's biggest carmaker. Alisha Sachdev reports that Maruti Suzuki will now shift its focus to bigger cars. There's a very good reason for this: every other car sold today in India is an SUV. Maruti wants to strengthen its presence in the SUV, EV, and hybrid segments moving forward. This will also see Maruti dip out of sedans too, a segment where it's only been selling the Ciaz and the market-leading Swift Dzire.

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Show notes:

Why markets will remain volatile until the new govt is formed

Can Mohit Joshi catapult Tech Mahindra into the big league of Indian IT? 

New government must focus on jobs, get more women to join labour force  

boAt helped make smartwatches affordable for Indians. That’s now come to bite it 

Maruti Suzuki begins portfolio revamp strategy