Top of the Morning

Why heatwaves are getting hotter and longer

Episode Summary

Has NOTA been useful? Amazon looks to snag MXPlayer from Times Internet

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, May 30, 2024. My name is Nelson John. Let's get started:


Indian benchmark indices closed in the red for the fourth straight session on Wednesday. BSE’s Sensex closed 0.89 percent below its previous close, while NSE’s Nifty was down 0.8 percent.


Delhi hit a blistering 52.3 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, marking its hottest day in history. The scorching summer sun has been draining the energy of Delhiites. Earth sciences minister Kiren Rijuju later said this was “not official yet” and described such a high temperature as “very unlikely” while asking the weather office to verify the report.  Unfortunately, it is not just the people of Delhi-NCR who are suffering; the entire country is grappling with a nearly violent heatwave. Moreover, heatwaves are becoming more prolonged and intense. So, what causes a heatwave? Experts attribute this to two factors:  One is El Nino, the infamous weather phenomenon frequently in the spotlight, and the second is the presence of high-pressure areas over southern peninsular India. Mint’s senior editor, N Madhavan, examines the long-drawn heatwaves and the reasons behind their 

increasing duration in today’s Mint Primer.


In the world of stock trading, it’s crunch time, much like the final overs of a gripping cricket match. As India nears the end of its Lok Sabha elections, with the last votes being cast this Saturday and exit polls expected the same evening, investors are on the edge. Recently, there's been a notable shift in the stock market, particularly among retail and high-net-worth investors. These individuals, often referred to as the 'Client' category by the NSE, have traditionally been savvy, sometimes even outguessing foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in predicting market trends. However, in a striking move, they’ve significantly scaled back their bullish positions on Nifty and Bank Nifty futures. Conversely, foreign investors, who were net bearish in mid-May, flipped their stance to net bullish by the end of the month. This shift suggests a mix of caution and repositioning as everyone braces for the election results. Mint’s markets correspondent Ram Sahgal spoke to experts who pointed out that the market is playing between a position of optimism and caution.


The 'None of the Above' (NOTA) option in Indian elections hasn't quite stirred the political pot as some might have hoped. Despite being around for a decade and touted as a tool for voter dissent, its impact has been minimal. In the last couple of Lok Sabha elections, barely 1% of voters chose NOTA. It has gained slightly more traction in places like Bihar and Odisha, particularly in tribal areas, but it’s still not causing major ripples.


To break it down: in both the 2014 and 2019 elections, the majority of the 543 Lok Sabha seats saw less than 1% of voters picking NOTA. About a third of the seats saw slightly higher engagement, with 1-2% opting for it, but only a very few seats saw it cross the 4% threshold. Interestingly, its popularity dipped in 2019. Mint’s senior assistant editor Niti Kiran takes a closer look at the impact of the NOTA option on India’s elections.

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The United States is preparing to discuss a preferential trade agreement with India, according to U.S. Ambassador Eric Garcetti. In an interview with Mint’s Gireesh Chandra Prasad, the former mayor of Los Angeles indicated that while Washington isn't exactly eager to sign free trade agreements, it is open to exploring trade opportunities focused on specific products or sectors.  This move aligns with the two nations' ambitious goal to double their trade to $500 billion by the end of the decade. Relations between the two countries have been improving, highlighted by the resolution of six trade disputes last June. Following this, India reduced customs duties on several U.S. goods, including apples and almonds.


Last year, Amazon called off its deal to buy MX Player, a video platform owned by Times Internet. Now, after almost a year of back-and-forth, the e-commerce giant is back at the negotiating table with Times Internet, reports Mint’s Gaurav Laghate. Initially, Amazon valued MX Player at about $60 million, while Times Internet was seeking over $100 million. Fast forward to now, and MX Player's situation has worsened. Its valuation has dropped further due to financial struggles, including a substantial debt of about ₹2,500 crore (roughly $300 million). While Amazon remains interested, it has made it clear that it won't take on that debt.


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Show notes:


Mint Primer | Into the 50s: Why heatwaves are hotter & longer

In a market segment with its ear to the ground, apprehension is rising

After two big polls, Nota remains a one-percenter

Washington ready to discuss preferential trade deal with India: US Ambassador

Amazon to buy MXPlayer from Times Internet