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SRMCRI, MedGenome set up genomics centre

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Chennai, Jan 31(PTI) The Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute (SRMCRI) and MedGenome, global leader in research and diagnostics, today announced the launch of a new genomics centre here.

The centre located at the SRMCRI in Porur, would provide an environment for doctors and researchers to translate “Next Generation Sequencing” based genomic solutions into new and actionable patient services, a press release said.

“The focus of the facility will be to deliver the most up-to-date genomic-based diagnostics for patients and also provide researchers a great opportunity to advance their understanding of the human biology,” it said.

The release said that a Genetic Health Clinic will also be set up to offer counselling to patients on hereditary cancers, pregnancy-related issues, genetic and neurological disorders.

“We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with MedGenome. This is an exciting step forward in our efforts to deliver the benefits of the latest technologies and research in genomics…” said SRMCRI, Dean of Research, S P Thyagarajan.

The advanced genomic-based diagnostic solutions by MedGenome would enable the clinicians to identify the precise genetic causes for a disease and offer the best and most suitable treatments, he said.

MedGenome currently offers more than 550 genetic tests across key disease areas at its lab in Bengaluru.

“We are grateful to SRMCRI for recognising the excellence of MedGenome’s genomic capabilities in research and diagnostics”, MedGenome, COO, V L Ramprasad said. PTI VIJ ANB

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Global stocks seesaw after Fed flags U.S. inflation, bonds rise

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – World stocks lost some of the shine provided by Boeing’s strong results as the dollar fluttered on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated more interest rate hikes were in store, putting on edge a nervous market.

Reaction to a statement from Fed policy-makers was mostly muted, but stocks seesawed after the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note – the benchmark for world lending – briefly shot up to 2.75 percent, a level last seen in April 2014.

The Fed said it anticipated inflation would rise this year, signalling it remained on track to raise borrowing costs again in March under incoming central bank chief Jerome Powell.

Most observers shrugged off the statement as expected, but some see the possibility the Fed raises interest rates four times this year, or one more than the market anticipates.

“The Fed’s acknowledgment of the quickening pace of inflation today put three hikes in 2018 into the ‘base-case’ and perhaps raises the prospects for a fourth,” said Mike Terwilliger, portfolio manager of Resource Liquid Alternatives for the Resource Credit Income Fund in New York.

The 10-year note later pared losses to rise 2/32 in price and drop yields to 2.7181 percent. While historically very low, it’s above the 2.70 percent mark some investors had set as a tipping point for the long-complacent equities market.

MSCI’s gauge of equity markets in 47 countries edged lower to settle at 541.18, but then rose in after-hours trade. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares lost 0.25 percent as a bevy of healthcare stocks fell sharply.

Stocks on Wall Street closed higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 72.5 points, or 0.28 percent, to 26,149.39. The S&P 500 gained 1.38 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,823.81 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.00 points, or 0.12 percent, to 7,411.48.

“It’s just more of a technical bounce-back but they’ll be more pressure down in the days ahead. I don’t think this is over by any stretch,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O‘Neil Securities in New York.

Boeing Co, the world’s biggest planemaker, provided the most upside to both the benchmark S&P 500 stock index and MSCI’s all-country world index.

Boeing forecast core profit would rise to $13.80 to $14.00 a share this year, well ahead of analysts’ average estimate of $11.96, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Investors had been relieved when Boeing beat expectations for both earnings and revenue, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

The dollar initially rose against a basket of six currencies after the Fed statement, but later gave back those gains.

The dollar index fell 0.03 percent, with the euro up 0.09 percent to $1.2411. The Japanese yen eased 0.40 percent versus the greenback at 109.22 per dollar.

Oil prices rebounded from earlier losses to end higher after the U.S. Energy Department said oil inventories rose for the first time in nearly three months.

But that outlook was offset by strong demand for gasoline and distillate products and news that OPEC countries maintained heavy supply cuts in January.

U.S. crude rose 23 cents to settle at $64.73 per barrel and Brent settled up 3 cents at $69.05.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled up $3.60 at $1,339.

Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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Navi Mumbai airport may take 5 years to be operational: Sinha

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Mumbai, Jan 31 (PTI) Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha today said his ministry will try to enhance the capacity of the congested Mumbai airport in medium-term, as the one being built in Navi Mumbai could take “four to five years” to become operational.

The implementing agency City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has been claiming that the first phase of Navi Mumbai airport with 10-million per annum capacity would be operational by 2021.

The private partner for the Navi Mumbai International Airport is the GVK Group which also runs the current airport in the city.

Addressing the second day of the annual CAPA (Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation) summit through a video link, Sinha said, “Mumbai remains the most bottlenecked single-runway airport due to which aviation growth is a concern. There is no quick way to add capacity until the Navi Mumbai airport comes up in the next four to five years”.

He said in the meanwhile the ministry will try to enhance the capacity at the Mumbai airport. But he did not offer any details.

The Mumbai airport has already crossed its installed capacity of 40 million passengers. Last year, it handled over 45 million passengers.

The city airport is the busiest single runway airport in the world, handling around 970 flights a day or close to one aircraft movement per 65 seconds.

Speaking on the efforts made by the government to boost aviation, Sinha said six to eight helicopters will also be flying under regional connectivity scheme to link smaller cities soon.

“Growth of the sector depends on two factors — the number of aircraft added by the airlines, and slots available in major airports,” he said.

On CAPA’s complaint that bilateral pacts with other nations were hampering the domestic airlines’ international growth plans, the MoS said the government was not constraining international air traffic growth.

“Slots are issued not so much as bilaterals. More important than slots are low-cost direct international flights and one way to achieve that is to use wide-body planes,” the minister noted. PTI BEN KRK SRY

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Gold edges lower after Fed says it sees signs of inflation

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NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Gold prices were flat on Wednesday, but dipped slightly after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would keep interest rates the same, but expected inflation to rise this year.

On Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s last policy meeting as head of the central bank, the Fed left interest rates unchanged. But its message on inflation signalled it was on track to raise borrowing costs in March under incoming chief Jerome Powell.

Inflation worries generally boost gold, which is seen as a safe haven against rising prices. But expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates to fight inflation make gold less attractive because it does not pay interest.

“Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to move up this year and to stabilize” around the U.S. central bank’s 2 percent target over the medium term, the Fed said in a statement following the two-day meeting.

Spot gold edged down 0.07 percent at $1,337.20 by 2:41 p.m. EST (1941 GMT), hitting a one-week low, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled up $3.60, or 0.3 percent, at $1,339.

The U.S. dollar turned positive after the Fed statement. A stronger dollar pressures commodities priced in the currency, making them more expensive for buyers using other currencies. [FRX/] [USD/]

But, “as expected, even though they said the near-term risk to economic outlook looked balanced, they’re clearly setting he stage for a March rate increase and trying to send a message to the market to expect three or so (rate hikes) in 2018,” said Trey Reik, senior portfolio manager at Sprott Asset Management USA.

“Their confidence comes from the fact that there are signs that we’re having this synchronized growth acceleration.”

Gold prices, which have been boosted by a weaker dollar, headed for a third consecutive monthly gain in January, up 2.6 percent, the biggest monthly increase since August 2017.

In other precious metals, silver climbed 0.4 percent at $17.20 an ounce after hitting a one-week low of $17.03.

Palladium shed 2.7 percent at $1,026 an ounce, hitting a fresh five-week low after a 55 percent gain in 2017. Despite rocketing earlier in January up to the highest since records dating back to 1990, spot palladium was on track to close the month down 3.3 percent, its weakest monthly performance since December 2016.

Platinum dipped 0.1 percent at $995.20 per ounce. It is up about 8 percent for the month. It hit a one-week low in the previous session.

Additional reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York, Nithin Prasad and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams and David Gregorio

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Indian American CEO indicted for bribery

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By Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 31 (PTI) A former Indian American CEO of an IT company based in the US city of Detroit has been indicted for his alleged role in orchestrating a scheme to bribe a city official to obtain benefits, the Department of Justice said today.

According to the 11-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, Parimal D Mehta, 54, made multiple cash payments to Charles Dodd, former Director of Detroit’s Office of Departmental Technology Services between 2009 to 2016.

This included two cash bribes hand-delivered by Mehta to Dodd in the restrooms of Detroit-area restaurants in 2016, the DOJ alleged.

Mehta is also alleged to have employed Dodd’s family members at FutureNet and its subsidiaries. Dodd previously pleaded guilty to bribery on September 27, 2016.

The indictment alleges that Mehta paid these bribes to Dodd in exchange for preferential treatment for his company, FutureNet, which received approximately USD 7.5 million from Detroit in 2015 and 2016.

According to the indictment, Mehta and FutureNet benefitted from Dodd’s influence over the administration of city contracts, expenditures under those contracts, and the hiring and selection of contract personnel.

Mehta obtained confidential information about Detroit’s internal budgets for specific technology projects, the indictment alleges. PTI LKJ KUN

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Boeing ends Wall Street's slide, Fed caution limits gains

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(Reuters) – A surge in Boeing led Wall Street out of a two-day slump on Wednesday, but U.S. stocks pared gains in early afternoon trading as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s comments to gauge the future path of monetary policy.

The Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged and signal a gradual tightening of monetary policy later this year as the economy continues to expand and job gains remain solid.

The Fed’s statement, due at 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT), will also be parsed for the central banks’ gauge of inflation, which remains below its target, the risks to economic outlook, and any assessment of the impact of the U.S. tax overhaul on growth.

“There is some nervousness ahead of the Fed statement,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director of institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird.

“In general, people are a lot more concerned about a hawkish tone from the Fed. While the market has priced in three rate hikes for 2018, if the economy continues to firm up and earnings remain solid, the possibility of a fourth rate hike definitely becomes more firm.”

In another sign of a strong labor market, an ADP report showed the U.S. private sector added more jobs than expected in January. The report comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

At 12:36 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 155.81 points, or 0.6 percent, at 26,232.7, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 6.83 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,829.26 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 23.81 points, or 0.32 percent, at 7,426.29.

FILE PHOTO – Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Dow had tumbled nearly 540 points over Monday on Tuesday amid a broad market sell-off as U.S. Treasury yields surged.

But, the blue-chip index clawed back as much as 200 points earlier on Wednesday. That came as Boeing (BA.N) surged 6.9 percent to record high after the planemaker’s full-year profit forecast easily topped estimates.

The jump in Boeing’s shares, the biggest weight in the price-weighted Dow and the S&P, helped the industrials sector .SPLRCI rise 0.75 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors.

Electronic Arts (EA.O) jumped 10.4 pct to record high after it gave a upbeat forecast, which also sent shares of fellow videogame makers Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) and Take-Two (TTWO.O) to all-time highs.

Anthem’s (ANTM.N) strong results and forecast sent its shares up 1.5 percent and also boosted other health insurers, a day after the group and other health stocks were hit by news of’s (AMZN.O) healthcare plans.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,567 to 1,298. On the Nasdaq, 1,510 issues fell and 1,349 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 32 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 73 new highs and 35 new lows.

Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

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Gold slips by Rs 65, silver eases

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Mumbai, Jan 31 (PTI) Gold prices slipped by falling Rs 65 per 10 grams in the bullion market here today, mostly on account of weak demand from jewellers even as the metal rose overseas.

Silver, however, continued its fall and lost another Rs 20 per kg owing to reduced offtake by industrial units.

Standard gold (99.5 purity) dropped by Rs 65 to close at Rs 30,240 per 10 grams from Tuesday’s level of Rs 30,305.

Pure gold (99.9 purity) also dipped by the same amount to finish at Rs 30,390 per 10 grams as compared Rs 30,455 yesterday.

Silver (.999 fineness) declined by Rs 20 per kg to end at Rs 39,170 as compared to Rs 39,190 previously.

Globally, Gold prices rebounded as the dollar resumed its downtrend, but analysts said bullion was vulnerable to weakness ahead of the Lunar New Year and if bulls start shedding their long positions.

Spot gold was up 0.4 per cent to USD 1,342.80 per ounce at early trade.

In other precious metals, silver climbed 0.5 per cent to USD 17.22 per ounce. PTI RD MKJ

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BP expects gas to overtake oil as main energy source in 2040

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VIENNA (Reuters) – BP expects gas to overtake oil as the world’s primary energy source in around 2040 as demand for the least polluting fossil fuel grows, its vice president for strategic planning said on Wednesday.

“We see it (gas) take over from coal in the early 2030s… We think there is a very good case for gas actually overtaking oil post 2040 or just before 2040,” Dominic Emery told a gas conference in Vienna.

Emery highlighted estimates for demand growth for gas in China of around 15 percent year-on-year last year and said BP expects overall gas demand to grow around 1.6 percent a year for years to come, compared with 0.8 percent for oil.

“We do see a very strong chance that (gas) is going to be the largest source of primary energy into the future… By gas we mean natural gas, but also … we mean biogas, we mean biomethane, we mean power-to-gas…”

In terms of demand for gas from different sectors, Emery singled out industry as especially resilient and transport as fast-growing, albeit from a low base, at annual rates of three to four percent.

BP is due to reveal more details in its next energy outlook on Feb. 20. In its last outlook it said it saw gas overtaking coal’s share in the primary energy market to become the second-largest fuel source by 2035.

BP’s previous forecast to 2035 forecast oil’s share shrinking from around 33 percent to around 30 percent and gas’ share grow from the low 20s to the mid 20-percentage range.

Emery said one of the biggest challenges for the gas industry was reducing methane leakages from pipelines, which he said was estimated at around 1.3 to 1.4 percent.

“Once (methane leakage) exceeds 3 percent it means that gas, certainly in the nearer term, over a few decades, is actually worse than coal from a (greenhouse gas) perspective,” he said.

“We’re getting a lot of pressure…, and rightly so, to get our act together in terms of managing methane in the supply chain. There are not only climate benefits for doing it but also economic benefits from doing it.”

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Alexander Smith

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US dollar ends cheaper against rupee

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Mumbai, Jan 31 (PTI) The US dollar ended cheaper against the rupee at Rs 63.58/59 per dollar but the pound sterling finished higher at Rs 89.91/93 per pound at the close of the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market here today.

Following are the Interbank forex and RBI rates:

(In Rs per unit) Unit Interbank RBI Reference US Dollar 63.58/59 US Dollar Rs 63.6878 Pound Sterling 89.91/93 Euro Rs 79.2149 Euro 79.17/19 Japanese Yen (100) 58.46/48. ————— PTI KNM MKJ

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U.S. private payrolls growth maintains brisk pace; labor costs rise in Q4

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. private sector payrolls rose at a brisk pace in January as hiring increased across the board despite unseasonably cold weather, pointing to sustained labor market strength at the start of the year.

Other data on Wednesday showed a solid increase in labor costs in the fourth quarter. Growth in compensation is expected to accelerate as the tightening labor market forces employers to raise wages to retain and attract workers.

Federal Reserve officials were scheduled to resume a two-day meeting on Wednesday. The U.S. central bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at the end of the meeting. The Fed has forecast three rate hikes this year. It increased borrowing costs three times in 2017.

The ADP national employment report showed private sector employment rose by 234,000 jobs in January, beating economists’ expectations for an increase of only 185,000. December’s payrolls count was revised down to 242,000 from 250,000.

The ADP report, which is jointly produced with Moody’s Analytics, was published ahead of the release on Friday of the government’ comprehensive employment data for January.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls probably rose by 180,000 jobs in January after increasing 148,000 in December. The unemployment rate is forecast unchanged at 4.1 percent.

“The job market juggernaut marches on,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester Pennsylvania. “Given the strong January job gain, 2018 is on track to be the eighth consecutive year in which the economy creates over 2 million jobs.”

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

In a separate report the Labor Department said the Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, increased 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter after an unrevised 0.7 percent rise in the third quarter. That lifted the year-on-year rate of increase to 2.6 percent, the largest increase since the first quarter of 2015, from 2.5 percent in the third quarter.


Wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of employment costs, rose 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter after advancing 0.7 percent in the prior period. Wages and salaries were up 2.5 percent in the 12 months through December. That followed a similar gain in the year to September.

Wage growth is expected to get a boost from a strong labor market, which is forecast to hit full employment this year. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent and economists expect it to drop to 3.5 percent by the end of 2018.

A $1.5 trillion tax cut package pushed through by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress in December is also expected to bolster compensation growth. The tax cut has resulted in some companies either paying out one-time bonuses or raising wages for employees.

Companies like Starbucks Corp and FedEx Corp have announced they will use some of the savings from the tax cut to boost wages for workers.

The ECI is widely viewed by policymakers and economists as one of the better measures of labor market slack. It is also considered a better predictor of core inflation. Economists say labor costs need to rise by at least 3 percent to push inflation closer to the U.S. central bank’s 2 percent inflation target. Labor costs increased 2.5 percent in the year to September.

Private sector wages and salaries rose 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter. They were up 2.8 percent in the 12 months through December, the biggest increase since the first quarter of 2015. That followed a 2.6 percent gain in the year to September.

Benefits for all workers increased 0.5 percent in the October-December quarter after rising 0.8 percent in the third quarter. They were up 2.5 percent in the 12 months through December after rising 2.4 percent in the year to September.

Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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