Manchester United sign Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero

Manchester: English football club Manchester United on Monday roped in Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero as David de Gea is still uncertain about signing for the Premier League team.

Romero left Italian club Sampdoria and was a free agent. United lured him to sign a three-year deal to replace Spanish reserve goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who has been asked to leave by manager Louis van Gaal.

"We have to prepare our season with the threat that David de Gea is going to Real Madrid," van Gaal was quoted as saying by BBC.

De Gea is into the final year of his contract with United and is wanted by Real Madrid. If at all de Gea stays at Old Trafford, the Dutchman said Romero would bring in healthy competition.

"You always need competition. When I see that a player is better than the player in the line-up, he shall play the next match," said van Gaal.

Sergio RomeroSergio Romero

Romero has 62 international outings to his credit and was instrumental in knocking van Gaal's Netherlands out of the World Cup by saving two spot-kicks in 2014.

He became United's fifth signing of the summer, following in the footsteps of defender Matteo Darmian, midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin and striker Memphis Depay.

Asked about Romero, the manager said: "He is a very dominating goalkeeper, he dominates the 60-metre area. His stature is also tall and he gives a lot of confidence to the players."

But the story of the crash and the rebound did not end there. The next day, the mood continued to be sullen, resulting in a loss of 717.43 points, followed by a fall of another 438.41 points the day after, which was a Friday.

Once trading began on Monday, after a two-day holiday, the markets started reacting positively after some initial hiccups, ending with a marginal gain of 54.01 points. The next trading day, however, marked a smart recovery of 878.85 points.

Over the next two days, the Sensex rose -- by 20.07 points and again by an impressive 878.85 points -- to close on Thursday at 18,770.89 points, by which time all the losses incurred over a six-day period, beginning Oct 17, had been recovered.

The market rally continued on Friday with a gain of another 472.28 points, and by Monday, the Sensex had breached the psycologically-important 20,000-point level -- all these developments within the matter of just nine trading days.

But what are these P-Notes in financial jargon, that have have come to haunt Indian equities once again? What are the government's concerns and why have they evoked such strong reactions from investors?

P-Notes, or just PNs, are financial instruments used by foreign funds to invest in the Indian stock markets on behalf of their overseas clients who do not wish to register themselves with the markets regulator.

There are hordes of clients who wish to invest in Indian equities, but not directly as enrolled entities with the regulator but in an informal manner through their India-based brokerages, who issue participatory notes for the shares bought on their behalf.

In the process, the anonymity of the clients is maintained. Accordingly, some large funds, notably those who hedge their investments across markets, are able to invest in a discreet manner without evoking much market attention.

For such clients, trading through PNs is not only easier, as they can be freely transferred like a contract note, but also help them avail of tax benefits that are available in some tax havens, like Mauritius.

What's the concern now? A special probe team on black money, set up at the behest of the apex court, has suggested that these need to be regulated. For, they are perceived as a major instrument for unaccounted money sent abroad through hawala to be routed back discreetly.

For the moment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has sought to assuage the feelings.

"No step will be taken that can adversely impact investment sentiment. The government will certainly not take any such action in a knee-jerk fashion, particularly one which has any adverse impact on investment environment," he told reporters here on Monday.

But the markets respond in their own way!

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