Sebi allows foreign investors to buy shares via primary markets

Representative image.Representative image.
NEW DELHI: Markets regulator Sebi has allowed foreign investors to acquire shares through primary markets in depositories and clearing corporations.

Prior to this, foreign investors could acquire shares of depositories and clearing corporations only through secondary market.

The move comes at a time when Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL) is preparing to launch its initial public offering.

As per norms, total foreign holding in depositories and clearing corporations is capped at 49 per cent.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has now amended Stock Exchanges and Clearing Corporations regulations as well as Depositories and Participants norms, to drop a provision that required purchase of shares by foreign investors within 49 per cent limit only through secondary markets.

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Google Assistant will soon be able to buy stuff for you on command

google assistant payments

Google Assistant already helps us organize our shopping lists and find out about things we’re interested in, but it stops short at actually letting us buy items. With a new feature rolling out to Pixel phones, it looks like that’s about to change.

A new option for setting up payment methods has appeared in the Assistant settings for Pixel users, bringing the anticipated feature one step closer to reality. First discovered deep in the beta version of the Google App back in January, it seems as though Google is ready to pull the trigger on voice-powered payments, a major step in Google Assistant’s fight against Alexa and Siri.

Head into the Settings menu of the Google Assistant screen on your Pixel phone and you’ll see the new option for Payments under the Google Account section. This feature is separate from Android Pay, so tapping it will guide you through a series of steps that lets you store credit or debit cards that can be accessed by Google Assistant. At the end of the process, you’ll see a Pay through your Assistant toggle that will need to be turned blue in order to activate the feature.

There isn’t much you can do with the feature after it’s set up, but presumably Google will announce support for third-party stores shortly. At the start of the set-up process, you’ll need to accept the terms and conditions for both Google Payments and Google Express, an online marketplace that links to a number of popular stores, such as Walgreens, Costco, and Toys R Us, so at the very least you’ll be able to buy things there. However, asking Google Assistant to shop for something on Google Express merely brings up a search results screen.

Since the feature is tied to your Google account and not the Pixel phone specifically, it’s likely it will work with all of the devices integrated with Assistant, including Google Home and Android Wear 2.0 watches.

Speak ‘n shop: Amazon Echo users have long been able to order things from Amazon without lifting a finger, and it appears as though Google is looking to do the same thing. Pigs will fly before it includes support for Amazon’s boundless marketplace, which will severely limit its usefulness, but building payments into Google Assistant is an important step in the virtual bot’s development. And while it’s surprising that the steps here don’t include a vocal passcode option to protect against unintended purchases by our chatty kids, it’s likely Google will implement some kind of safeguard for the Home speaker once the feature is officially announced.


Banks rush to buy cyber security cover as digital payments rise

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MUMBAI: At a time when cyber threats are on the rise for banks for increasing cashless transactions and effects of demonetization, insurers see rise in demand for cyber insurance and cyber liability insurance, in particular.

This is despite the fact that the industry base for cyber insurance is currently as low as Rs 60 crore.

There are various cyber insurance covers available in the country, but it is the cyber liability insurance which is in maximum demand for the banks, say insurers.

Non-life insurers that provide cyber insurance cover include New India, National, ICICI Lombard, Tata AIG, HDFC Ergo and Bajaj Allianz.

Country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI), which fell victim to cyber frauds some time back, is now considering insurance to protect its 30 crore customers.

“We have always seen maximum security in all our IT systems. We are now considering to avail cyber insurance covers for our customers,” SBI managing director Rajnish Kumar told PTI here.

“We are actively examining the issue. The only thing that we have to ensure is that insurance costs fit into our scheme,” he added.

Recently, in one of the biggest ever breaches of financial data in the country, customers of 3.2 million debit cards belonging to different banks were hit by cyber frauds where their ATM details were compromised. Several victims even had reported unauthorised usage from locations in China.

The worst-hit card-issuing banks in the episode included SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, YES Bank and Axis Bank.

Banks either had to replace or asked users to change the security codes of as many customers. Even though SBI didn’t suffer any big financial losses due to the data compromise episode, still as a precautionary measure, it had blocked 6 lakh debit cards.

Bank of Baroda, which had seen around 1 lakh of its debit cards being compromised in the recent episode, is also keen to go for such insurance covers in future.

“We are here to ensure protection of our customers and hence we will definitely go for cyber insurance cover as and when it was required for the bank,” Bank of Baroda MD & CEO, PS Jayakumar said.

Insurers said they do see uptick in demand for cyber insurance covers by banks.

Latest Comment

Most essential one for the current cyber threat happenings. Banks should have gone for it long ago. Yet, it is not too late for them to adopt to the international standard of security to which they need to invest in.Godfather Senior

“We are in talks with quite a few banks to provide cyber insurance cover to them,” New India chairman and managing director, G Srinivasan said without divulging any details.

“Cyber threat is on the rise in recent times for the banks and hence they must go for cyber insurance cover,” he added



Italy’s fifth-largest bank UBI Banca said on Thursday it would launch a share issue for up to 400 million euros (347.17 million pounds) to strengthen its capital after offering to take over three small rescued banks.

UBI approved a binding offer worth 1 euro to buy Banca Marche, Banca Etruria and CariChieti, which Italy rescued from bankruptcy in November 2015 and struggled to find a buyer for in the course of last year.

Private equity bids were rejected over the summer as too low and an acquisition by UBI took longer than expected partly due to a number of conditions set by the lender.

UBI said its offer was subordinated to the fact that Italy’s resolution fund inject 450 million euro in capital into the three banks before the closing of the sale.

The banks must also offload 2.2 billion euros in problem loans before then


CyberPowerPC’s Oculus-ready system costs $499 — if you buy a Rift

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CyberPowerPC’s $499.99 Gamer Ultra VR is the first desktop ready for the Oculus Rift headset that is priced under $500, but there’s a caveat.

You’ll need to buy it with the Oculus Rift headset, which costs more than the PC at $599.99.

The bundle will put you back $1,099.98, but that’s still a good deal for an Oculus Rift plus desktop, which could otherwise get pretty expensive.

The Gamer Ultra VR desktop is available on Best Buy and will also be sold by Amazon. The standalone price for the desktop without the headset is $649.99 on both Best Buy and Amazon.

By way of comparison, the company’s VR-ready desktops with more powerful GPUs, like Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 and AMD’s RX 480, start at about $800, also not including the headset.

The red and black Gamer Ultra VR includes AMD’s quad-core FX-4350 CPU and Radeon RX 470 GPU. It’ll also have 8GB of memory, a 1TB hard drive, three USB 3.0 ports, seven USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI slot.

An important detail: CyberPowerPC has not identified the desktop as being ready for the HTC Vive VR headset, which has its own set of minimum hardware specifications. Vive-certified PCs have more demanding minimum hardware requirements that include AMD’s FX-8350 CPU and Radeon RX 480 GPU.

Until now, VR-ready PCs were mainly for buyers who could afford high-priced desktops with top GPUs. But key technologies developed by Oculus have helped bring down the GPU requirements and the prices of PCs that are certified to run its VR headset.

Oculus’s Asynchronous SpaceWarp helps the RX 470 GPU in the Gamer Ultra VR deliver a high-end VR experience at a fraction of the cost.

ASW smooths out the VR experience by creating “synthetic frames” that pump up the frame rate for a better VR experience. It does so by analyzing previous frames, head movement and motion. For example, if a GPU were delivering 45 frames per second, ASW’s calculations could virtually pump that up to 90 frames per second to improve VR.

ASW “almost halves the CPU/GPU time required to produce nearly the same output from the same content,” according to Oculus.

Gartner is expecting shipments of VR-capable PCs to go up as interest in head-mounted displays grows. Prices of the desktops should continue to fall as lower-end GPUs add support for VR headsets.


Deal: Buy Xbox One or Xbox One S and get a free gift

If you are in the US, and are in the market for a new gaming console, here’s a deal for you: if you purchase an Xbox One or One S unit, you’ll get a free gift with your console. The gift varies based on the retailer you’re making the purchase from.

For example, if you buy from Best Buy, Amazon or, you’ll get a free Xbox Wireless Controller. Further, for purchases at GameStop, the deal includes a free Xbox Stereo Headset in white or black. And finally, those purchasing from Microsoft Stores or Target will get a free game.

Not only this, many retailers are including a $50 gift card as well. The promo has just begun,


Fairfax Financial to buy Allied World for $4.9 billion in cash and stock

Toronto-based insurance group Fairfax Financial has agreed to buy Swiss insurer Allied World Assurance for $4.9 billion in cash and stock, the companies said on Sunday.

Fairfax will pay owners of Allied World $54 per share — $10 in cash and $44 in Fairfax stock. The offer amounts to an 18 percent premium above Allied World’s Friday closing price of $45.77, their news release said.

The merger would create a leader in property and casualty insurance, reinsurance and investments, the release said. Boards of directors of both companies approved the deal.

Allied World would operate “on a decentralized basis” within the Fairfax group, Prem Watsa, chief executive of Fairfax, said in the release.

Fairfax said it expected to close the deal in the second quarter of 2017


Apple’s delayed AirPods now available to buy online

apple airpods

Apple is releasing its wire-free Bluetooth AirPods in time for Christmas, skating under the wire juuuuust barely by making them available to order online today with an initial ship date of December 21.

AirPods will also be available in Apple Stores on December 21, Buzzfeedreports.

Apple announced the AirPods back in September alongside the headphone jack-less iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, positioning the $159 earphones as the perfect accessory. But then the pre-announced shipping date—sometime in October—came and went with no AirPods to be seen. Rumors swirled last week that Apple was troubleshooting connectivity issues with the AirPods, which operate independently of each other. The earphones are unusual in that they lack buttons for controlling the volume and song playback, instead relying on double taps and Siri commands.


The AirPods use Apple’s W1 chip, which the company claims will solve the connectivity issues that have plagued other Bluetooth earphones. Apple’s BeatsX earphones use the same chip, but won’t ship until next February.

We went hands-on (ears-on?) with the AirPods at Apple’s iPhone launch event in September and loved the ease of using them. Setting up your AirPods is more seamless than pairing other Bluetooth earbuds to your iPhone—just open the accompanying charging case near your iPhone and tap to pair with every devices connected to your iCloud account.

The impact on you at home: Apple will likely have limited supply of AirPods at launch—at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, shipping estimates had already slipped to four weeks. It’s unclear how many AirPods will be on store shelves on Dec. 21, but if you want to snap up a pair before Christmas, in-store shopping is your best bet.


Twitter ‘not pathetic’ but that doesn’t make it immediate buy, Barry Diller says

Barry Diller

Chris Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Barry Diller

While Twitter has a lot of users and a solid advertising business, IACand Expedia Chairman Barry Diller said buying the platform for what it may be able to do for your company is pointless.

“I think Twitter is very good, nice — not especially growing, but not pathetic at all because a lot of people use it, and it’s got a good advertising business,” Diller told CNBC in an interview Tuesday. “I don’t think it connects to much else. So yes, it has big data. You can use the data, but all this noise of buying something not for what it does, but for what you think it can connect, I think, is mostly hogwash.”

inRead invented by Teads

Twitter has been rumored to be for sale, according to multiple sources.Its data has been seen as one of its most valuable assets, because it can give companies insight into public opinion.

Sources told CNBC on Tuesday that and Twitter are continuing talks. Analysts have cited IBM and Oracle, among other companies as potential buyers. The stockended a three-day losing streak on Tuesday after Evercore and Deutsche Bank upgraded the shares and reiterated a buy rating, respectively.

Diller’s comments came at Virtuous Circle 2016, in Menlo Park, California. The conference brings together internet business leaders and elected officials to talk about industry trends, policy and innovation. IAC is the parent company of such internet businesses as Match Group, Home Advisor and Vimeo, as well as websites like The Daily Beast and CollegeHumor. It also spun off Expedia into a separate business in 2005.


Survey says 40% of current Samsung owners won’t buy Samsung again

Samsung’s recall and discontinuation situation has many consumers in a shuffle, as there is no direct replacement for the Samsung Galaxy Note7.

A new survey from Ecommerce solutions which followed the official discontinuation of the Galaxy Note7 asked 1,020 US-based Samsung smartphone owners if they would buy another Samsung phone. 40% of them said “no” and 46% (about 188 people) of those who said “no” became Samsung customers “within the past two years”.

30% of the those who are done with Samsung said they were going to switch to the iPhone 7while the other 70% said they would stick with Android. Interestingly, 8% of those who want to stick with Android have their hearts set on getting the Google Pixel when it comes out. That factors out to about 23 people out of 1020 Samsung customers surveyed.

While it’s still hard to gauge how Google’s upcoming Pixel duo will fare as the search giant advertises the Pixel phones that aren’t even out yet, it appears that the Samsung recall situation might benefit Google even if it’s just a little bit.

Google is in an advantageous position for filling the void that left many Samsung customers with a sour taste.

Google has already spent a lot in advertising and the Pixels aren’t even out yet. LG should step up its marketing game for the V20 right away if it wants its phone to fill the void left by the Note7.

Likewise, the Google Pixel will also compete directly against the iPhone, down to the exact same price points and memory options. But with Verizon’s strange “exclusivity” deal that isn’t very clear to the public, most people will shrug when Pixel phones aren’t available at their AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint stores.

Google needs to advertise the online Google Store and payment installment options if it wants to sell more Pixels in the US. Unless, of course, Verizon’s deal doesn’t allow for that.

Are you in the same situation? What phone will you get to replace your Samsung phone (or Note7)?