All you need to know about the markets & economy today

At the onset of a new week, markets made a gap-up opening tracking positive global cues and optimism due to the partial opening of the economy and public services. However, selling in banking stocks due to mixed numbers by ICICI bank dragged down the market ending the session with 0.1 percent. Sensex gave up all its early gains to end 81 points lower on Monday, dragged by losses in financial stocks as lenders beefing up provisions against COVID-19 risks stoked slippages worry. Besides, spiking COVID-19 cases in the country and tepid cues from global markets weighed on investor sentiment.

The Rupee opened at 75.59 versus its previous closing of 75.55 per US dollar. In the bond market, the yield on 10-year benchmark bond opened at 6.20% versus its previous closing of 5.97%. On Friday, May 8, the government increased its gross borrowing from the market by more than 50% to Rs. 12 trillion in FY21 which was originally as per budget estimates was pegged at Rs. 7.8 lakh crore. This is one reason that saw bond yield to spike sharply today.

Gold prices today inched lower for the second day even on firm global cues. At 9:34 am, the precious yellow metal inched lower on the MCX by 0.17% or Rs. 76 to Rs. 45736 per 10 gm. Gold in the international market on Monday edged higher to $1706, up 0.3% per ounce. This was largely on fears of a new wave of coronavirus infection as most economies are reopening after an extended lockdown even as dollar and equities remain firm.

The Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme (SGB) 2020-21-Series II opens for subscription today-11 May 2020. The scheme will close on 15 May, 2020. The issue price has been fixed at Rs 4,590 per gram of gold, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement on Friday. Here's all you need to know about the scheme, eligibility and advantages:

Brace yourself for fuel to become dearer. The base price of petrol and diesel has not seen a change since March 16 and the higher retailing price in some of the states is primarily on account of tax-hike of some nature at state levels. But as per reports, as the lockdown 3.0 nears its end on May 17, 2020 and there will be more relaxations allowed, oil marketers may begin to revise prices daily as was practiced earlier. And this shall yet again bring about a hike in fuel cost as globally too crude oil has jumped more than 50% over last month's price to levels of $30 per barrel currently.

India's benchmark 10-year bond yield surged on Monday following the government's decision to sharply increase market borrowing amid a major hit to the economy and public finances from the coronavirus pandemic. The government plans to borrow 12 trillion rupees ($160 billion) in the fiscal year to March 2021, up from the previously budgeted 7.8 trillion rupees, to cushion the blow from the pandemic.

Home loan interest rates are on a decline. In case you are looking to take a home loan, here are the interest rates being offered by the major private banks in India.

In some relieving news, the Indian Railways said that it plans to gradually resume train service for passengers from 12 May, starting with 15 pairs of trains (30 return journeys) that will be run as special trains from New Delhi to different parts of the country. Here’s all you need to know about how to book tickets and what rules have changed amid COVID-19?

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), led by GMR, has made operational several technology-based unique facilities at Delhi Airport, including specially designed UV (ultraviolet) based tunnels to disinfect checkpoint trays and baggage, mobile UV tower to disinfect surfaces in the terminal area and handheld UV devices. In addition, passenger trolley disinfection system and walk-in shoe sanitiser mats will also be made available for passenger safety.

Speaking of technology, researchers claim voice tech can grow 30% due to COVID-19 pandemic. Voice-activated systems such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri have seen strong growth in recent years, and the virus pandemic could accelerate that, analysts say. Voice assistants are not only answering queries and shopping but also being used for smart home control and for a range of business and medical applications which could see increased interest as people seek to limit personal contact.

When it comes to hailing cabs, there is a genuine fear of using public transport once lockdown lifts. Cab operators like Ola and Uber are already expecting a drop in ridership as customers may prefer to use their own personal transport. However, to reassure customers, some state governments like the Kerala government is mandating the use of isolators in cabs to separate passengers from the driver. But will it work in preventing the spread of COVID-19? There are still some risks.

COVID-19 has thrown everything out of order. On Monday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) paid heed to the fact that customers amid the lockdown have been receiving inflated bills from their service providers as they unintentionally dial international numbers. In an advisory, the telecom regulator asserted that users inadvertently dial premium or international telephone numbers which inflates up their phone bills in the process. Also it alerted users to be cautious while using any of the online conferencing platforms.

Leading industrialist Anand Mahindra on Monday said that if lockdown is extended for much longer duration then the country will be "risking economic hara-kiri". The Mahindra Group chairman said that while the lockdown has been able to save lakhs of lives, its further extension could lead to severe difficulties for weaker sections of the society.