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  IMF Cuts India¿s 2018 Growth Forecast to 7.3%  
  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut India’s growth forecast by 10 basis points to 7.3% for the current year and by 30 basis points to 7.5% for 2019, citing faster than anticipated monetary tightening and higher crude prices. The international body had projected 7.4% and 7.8% growth for 2018 and 2019, respectively in its April forecast. India is still the fastest growing economy, well ahead of 6.6% and 6.4% growth for China.  
 
  LIC Board Approves IDBI Bank Acquisition  
  The board of the Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC) approved a proposal to acquire 51% of staterun IDBI Bank, possibly through preferential shares, in a plan aimed at changing the lender’s fortunes. The government-owned insurer currently holds a 7.98% stake in the bank that’s laden with bad debt. “Most likely (preferential shares) would be the way—the bank needs capital. They will issue preferential shares, that should be the method,” said economic affairs secretary SC Garg, who is also on the board of the state-run insurer.  
 
  Recent QIPs Fail to Cheer St as Most Slip Below Issue Price  
  QIPs (qualified institutional placements) in the past two years haven’t really set the returns charts on fire. More than two- thirds of those that made such sales have seen their stock fall below issue prices, illustrating how tightening liquidity – and disappointing operating performance — could shrink valuations. Since the beginning of 2016, liquidity-driven Indian markets have seen a raft of companies issuing QIPs to raise Rs.74,000 crore in total. However, most have failed to reward their investors well, despite record highs for the broader market gauges.  
 
  Buyback Call-Off Dashes Hopes of a Quick Buck  
  Retail investors buying beaten-down mid-caps on expectations of making a quick buck on buybacks had a rude shock recently after three of the companies — Vakrangee, PC Jewellers and Kwality — cancelled the proposed share repurchases despite announcing them earlier. These three companies have destroyed about 90% of investor wealth if the yearly highs were taken as the base. While the mechanism of a buyback to manage stock prices is not new, the brazenness with which it is done recently is strange, prompting market participants to seek a regulatory probe into the event flow and share transactions.  
 
  GOVT NOD to raise freight limits by up to 25% comes at a time of weak sales and replacement demand  
  The government Monday allowed road transporters to raise the freight load carried in each truck by about a fourth, potentially reducing immediate demand for Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors and Eicher Motors – companies that sell commercial vehicles to Indian fleet owners. With both replacement demand and immediate sales coming under a cloud, earnings growth estimates and price-earnings multiples at the leading truck-makers should witness a major downward alignment.  
 
  Headwinds Ahead; How Long Can the HUL Rally Continue?  
  There was one big reason to cheer and one big reason to be concerned in Hindustan Unilever’s performance in the April-June quarter. HUL hit all the right buttons on volume growth, sales growth and margins to please investors. The stock has done well, but the question is whether it can continue to rise given the likely headwinds in the coming quarters. A year into the rollout of GST, HUL has been posting stellar performance — aided by low base effect, price reduction benefits and uptick in rural demand.