Mumbai: As the financial year 2018-19 neared closure, India’s largest equity market investor, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), booked profit in its blue chip holdings, as the market rallied towards new all-time highs in the January-March quarter.
Benchmark index Sensex rallied close to 7 per cent during January-March 2019 period gaining 2,418.34 points, rising from 36,254.57 to 38,672.91 points.
An FC analysis of quarterly shareholding data shows LIC booked profit in 13 of the 30 Sensex companies, as indicated by its reduced shareholdings as on March 31, 2019 compared to those of December 31, 2018.
The companies in which LIC’s stakes were down included Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Infosys, Larsen & Toubro, Sun Pharma, HCL Technologies, Yes Bank, Bharti Airtel, NTPC and Tata Motors.
LIC’s stake in Hindustan Lever has come down to less than one per cent in the January-March quarter (Q4) from 3.64 per cent in October-December (Q3).
The HUL stock traded above Rs 1,800 a share in January-February, before profit booking set in. Asian Paints was another consumer focused stock where LIC’s stake came down from 5.22 per cent to 3.96 per cent during the last quarter.
“LIC buys wherever it sees value and sell when it sees valuation getting expensive compared to the future growth potential,” said a senior broker and analyst tracking LIC’s investments in the equity market.
Reliance Industries, where LIC’s stake came down from 7.59 per cent to 6.98 per cent, was another stock where LIC seems to have made profit, as the stock has rallied 21.5 per cent during January to March.
Banks, which also saw a big rally in share prices, saw select profit booking by LIC as the insurance major sold shares of ICICI Bank, SBI, and Yes Bank while it raised stake in HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
In Punjab National Bank, not a Sensex stock, the LIC stake came down from 8.89 per cent to 7.34 per cent.
On an annual basis, too, for the fiscal year 2018-19 LIC reduced its stake in 15 of the 30 Sensex companies, including in ITC and HDFC, as at the end March 31, 2019 against shares held as on March 31, 2018.
LIC’s stake went up in seven Sensex companies during Q4. They are: Bajaj Auto; Mahindra & Mahindra; Kotak Mahindra Bank; HDFC Bank; ONGC; Coal India; and ITC.
On annual basis LIC’s stake is up in 11 Sensex companies, including M&M, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti, TCS, HCL Tech, Kotak Bank, HDFC Bank, ONGC, Power Grid Corp, Coal India and Vedanta....