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Festive demands up airfares by 20-30% on key routes across country

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The hike in airfare prices is a result of the increased cost of aviation turbine fuel, according to ixigo's data

Delhi airport, air travel, passengers, coronavirus

Increased demand during the ongoing festival season has caused airfares on major routes across the nation to increase by 20 per cent to 30 per cent, reported The Hindu Businessline.

Research by ixigo, an Indian AI-based online travel portal, shows that typical airfares have increased by 20–30 per cent this year on popular routes as a result of the increase in aviation turbine fuel (ATF). Around  and Diwali, EaseMyTrip has also seen a surge in airfares on metro routes.

Aloke Bajpai, Group CEO & Co-founder of the IPO-bound OTA  said to The Hindu Businessline, “With  and  just around the corner, excitement for the festival season is at its peak. Flight searches have risen 25-30 per cent for leisure travel for  week compared to last year.”

Cleartrip’s data also revealed 23 per cent higher bookings in the same period.

Patna, Mumbai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Hyderabad, Pune, Goa, Bagdogra and Dehradun are among the top 10 leisure destinations for travel between October 01 and October 24, found the ixigo’s data.

Customer confidence has now increased as the majority of eligible citizens of India have received their booster vaccinations and the virus's impact has decreased.

This has encouraged airlines to make up for the lost revenues over the previous two years, which is supported by the raising of the airfare cap on August 31.

 has predicted that due to increasing demand for travel, last-minute prices for well-travelled routes will experience a sharp increase in airfares. For instance, on travel dates shortly before Diwali, one-way rates for routes like New Delhi to Patna, which are typically approximately Rs 5,000, might reach as high as Rs 8,000-13,000.

However, there is a decrease in airfare between  and after Diwali in an effort to prevent further financial hardship for its consumers. Along with this,  (OTAs) and airlines are providing their clients with flash bargains and offers.

According to Cleartrip spokesperson, there are sectors where prices have dropped and there are expensive fares too.

Manufacturing PMI edges down to 55.1 in September

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India's manufacturing PMI for September has come in above 50 for the 15th month in a rowManufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index jumps to 55.3 in July

India's manufacturing activity lost some momentum in September, with S&P Global's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) edging down to 55.1 from 56.2 in August, data released on October 3 showed.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in activity, while a sub-50 print is a sign of contraction.

This is the 15th consecutive 50-plus print for the manufacturing PMI.

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Watch: Elon Musk showcases humanoid robot at Tesla AI event

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Tesla AI Day: Elon Musk has said Tesla's robot business will be worth more than its cars.Tesla CEO Elon Musk showcases humanoid robot at event | Arab News PK

Tesla CEO Elon Musk showcased his much-touted humanoid robot 'Optimus' at the electric vehicle maker's "AI Day" event on Friday.

The billionaire has said a robot business will be worth more than its cars, hoping to expand beyond self-driving cars that have not yet become a reality despite his repeated promises.

A prototype of the robot walked on stage and waved to the seated audience. A video of the robot carrying a box, watering plants and moving metal bars in the automaker's factory was shown.

"Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible," Musk said at the event being held at a Tesla office in Palo Alto, California.

Musk is also expected to discuss Tesla's long-delayed self-driving technology. In May, Musk said that the world's most valuable carmaker would be "worth basically zero" without achieving full self-driving capability, and it faces growing regulatory probes, as well as technological hurdles.

"There will be lots of technical detail & cool hardware demos," Musk wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday, adding the event was aimed at recruiting engineers.

Tesla's live demonstration record is mixed. Launches typically draw cheers, but in 2019 when Musk had an employee hurl a steel ball at the armored window of a new electric pickup truck, the glass cracked.

The key test for the robot is whether it can handle unexpected situations.

Musk announced Tesla's plan for humanoid robots at its AI day in August last year and delayed this year's event from August to have its robot prototype working, with a plan to start production possibly next year.

Tesla teased the unveiling of the bot on social media with an image of metallic robotic hands making a heart shape. But building human-like, versatile hands that can manipulate different objects is extremely challenging, said Heni Ben Amor, a robotics professor at Arizona State University.

Initially, Optimus, an allusion to the powerful and benevolent leader of the Autobots in the Transformers media franchise, would perform boring or dangerous jobs, including moving parts around Tesla factories or attaching a bolt to a car with a wrench, according to Musk.

"There's so much about what people can do dexterously that's very, very hard for robots. And that's not going to change whether the robot is a robot arm or whether it's in the shape of a humanoid," Jonathan Hurst, chief technology officer at Agility Robotics, a humanoid robot firm, told Reuters.

Musk has said that in the future robots could be used in homes, making dinners, mowing the lawn and caring for the elderly, and even becoming a "buddy" for humans or a sex partner.

He is due at Friday's event to give updates on Tesla's much-delayed plan to launch self-driving cars, and on its high-speed computer, Dojo, which was unveiled last year and the company has said is integral to its development of self-driving technology.

Musk has said he expects Tesla will achieve full self-driving this year and mass produce a robotaxi with no steering wheel or pedal by 2024.

At an "Autonomy" event in 2019, Musk promised 1 million robotaxis by 2020 but has yet to deliver such a car.

Turbulence in the bond market: What does it mean for investors?

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Risk-reward is looking favourable for investors as absolute yields have risen considerably over the past six months and now give a reasonable safety cushion to absorb mark to market volatility.

Turbulence in the bond market: What does it mean for investors?

Vikas Garg, Head of Fixed Income at Invesco Mutual Fund

Year 2022 is proving to be yet another year dominated by unprecedented events causing heightened volatility across global financial markets. While the year started on a positive note with many countries moving out of Covid-led disruptions, it was soon eclipsed by un-anticipated Russia-Ukraine conflict leading to a significant surge in global commodity prices and multi-decade high inflationary pressures in many developed countries.

Central bank US Fed has embarked upon aggressive monetary policy tightening led by steep policy rate hikes and quantitative tightening to tame inflation, thereby triggering massive dollar rally and forcing many other so-called safe haven currencies to go into tailspin.

Other key central banks are also undertaking fast paced rate hikes to control domestic inflation/currency. Consequently, global interest rates have remained extremely volatile during the year with an upward bias as market participants have struggled to gauge the inflation trajectory.

India has also seen a paradigm shift in interest rates during the year. RBI has already undertaken 190 basis point rate hike in policy repo rate and has withdrawn systemic liquidity to a great extent in response to the elevated inflation trajectory. Debt investors have been adversely impacted with high mark to market hit as domestic interest rates have hardened sharply during the year with a flattening bias.

Global backdrop continues to worsen with more rate hikes expected by the US Fed over the next few months. Indian fixed income has remained largely insulated to global spillovers on the strength of domestic stability, although the safety cushion has depleted rapidly with forex reserve falling to $524.52 billion and as India’s current account deficit remains high.

Further with FPI outflow of more than Rs 2 lakh crore year-till-date, rupee has depreciated sharply and crossed 83 against USD for the first time even as the RBI intervened to smoothen forex volatility. Much awaited inclusion of Indian G-Sec into global bond indices will now be reviewed by index providers in 2023 only as some of the operational aspects still need to be resolved with the India government.

RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has clearly articulated its concern on inflation which is reflected in retention of inflation forecasts at 6.70 percent for FY23. Domestic CPI inflation touched the 7 percent mark again in August 2022 compared with 6.71 percent in July, marginally higher than market expectations led by sharp rise in select food items such as cereals, pulses, and milk.

Core inflation remained elevated and came in at 6.1 percent YoY versus 6 percent in previous month. Supply side disruptions, geopolitical tensions, erratic rainfall, commodity prices & improving domestic demand conditions pose risks to inflation outlook, while growth seems to be fairly supported by domestic factors.

Also read - Medanta IPO: Carlyle to make full exit; strikes pre-IPO deal with RJ Corp, SBI MF and Novo Holdings

Led by global monetary policy tightening as well as still elevated inflationary pressures, we expect MPC to continue with more rate hikes and reach a terminal policy repo rate closer to 6.25 percent or 6.50 percent by early 2023.

With challenging global backdrop as many central banks tighten the monetary policies to tame inflationary pressures, huge fiscal supply and RBI’s expected rate hikes, we expect interest rates to remain volatile with an upward bias.

Nonetheless, risk-reward is looking favourable for the investors as absolute yields have risen considerably over the past 6 months and now give a reasonable safety cushion to absorb mark to market volatility. For instance, a 3 – 4 year G-Sec at 7.30 percent - 7.40 percent levels is up from the lows of 4.75 percent in December 2020 and is now similar to the levels last seen almost 4 years back.

Also read - RBI rate-setting panel plans unscheduled meet on November 3

Against the backdrop of still many uncertainties, we prefer using the conventional wisdom to contain interest rate risk with a moderate overall duration of debt investment portfolio. A much flatter yield curve gives an opportunity to investors to cut down on duration risk and still continue to maintain high accrual.

The 2 to 4 year segment of the yield remains well placed from carry perspective for medium to long investors, as it has already priced in more aggressive rate hikes and also lesser impacted by the rate volatility.

Credit environment remains healthy, however, current narrow spreads of AA / AA+ over AAA bonds do not provide favourable risk adjusted reward opportunities and we expect illiquidity premium to increase sharply over a period of time thereby posing mark to market challenges for this segment.

India’s September services PMI expansion slowest since March

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India's services PMI for September has come in above 50 for the 14th month in a rowIndia's services sector output growth at six-month low in March: PMI |  Economy News | Zee News

India's services sector expanded at the weakest pace since March, survey data released October 6 showed.

The sector expanded for a 14th month in a row in September, with the S&P Global India Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) coming in at 54.3 last month.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in activity while a sub-50 print signals contraction.

The services PMI was 57.2 in August.

"The Indian service sector has overcome many adversities in recent months, with the latest PMI data continuing to show a strong performance despite some loss of growth momentum in September.," noted Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

India's key inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), returned to 7 percent in August from July’s five-month low of 6.71 percent. The Reserve Bank of India is now just one month away from failure, with CPI inflation having been outside the central bank's 2-6 percent tolerance range for all of 2022.

The RBI is deemed to have failed if CPI inflation is outside the 2-6 percent range for three consecutive quarters. It averaged 6.3 percent in January-March, 7.3 percent in April-June, and will exceed 6 percent again in July-September.

The central bank has raised interest rates sharply since early May in a bid to curb inflation. It is expected to tighten policy again when its rate-setting panel meets in December.

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