State-run insurance giant LIC has lowered its holdings in as many as 27 of the 50 blue-chip firms forming the market benchmark index Nifty, while selling shares worth an estimated Rs 8,000 crore.
Amid stepped-up share purchase by Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and an uptrend in the stock market, the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) appears to have booked profits in many blue-chip stocks, shows an analysis of shareholding data of Nifty companies for the three-month period ended December 31, 2012.
LIC holds shares worth about Rs 2.33 lakh crore in all the Nifty companies put together, but it lowered its holding in a total of 27 Nifty companies during the quarter. The cumulative value of LIC holding in these 27 companies fell by little over Rs 8,000 crore during the quarter, shows the analysis of changes in their shareholding patterns.
Individually, LIC is estimated to have sold shares worth Rs 500-1,000 crore in each of Mahindra & Mahindra, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, L&T, HDFC, Wipro, SBI, Maruti Suzuki, Dr Reddys and Bajaj Auto.
The insurance behemoth also trimmed holdings in Ambuja Cements, Cipla, TCS, Lupin and Asian Paints. A marginal decline was also witnessed in its stakes in companies such as IDFC, Hindustan Unilever, Grasim, ACC, BPCL, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Sun Pharma and Tata Power.
On the other hand, LIC further ramped up its stake in a total of 14 Nifty constituents with purchase of shares worth an estimated Rs 4,000 crore.
The major companies where LIC has raised its stake include Infosys, RIL and Cairn India. Other such companies are ITC, Power Grid Corp, NTPC, Siemens, Bharti Airtel and Hero MotoCorp.
The state-run insurer also marginally hiked its exposure in Ultratech, Gail India, Ranbaxy, Kotak Mahindra Bank and HCL Technologies, while its shareholding remained almost unchanged in companies like ONGC, Tata Steel, BHEL and Reliance Infra.
Among the Nifty companies, LIC's holding in terms of value is estimated to be highest in ITC (Rs 27,326 crore), followed by RIL (Rs 21,659 crore), ONGC (Rs 17,764 crore), SBI (Rs 17,058 crore), L&T (Rs 16,800 crore), and ICICI Bank (Rs 10,006 crore).
Nifty is a well-diversified 50-stock index accounting for 22 sectors of the economy. The index represented about three-fourth of the free float market capitalisation of all the stocks listed on NSE as on December 31, 2012. The insurance major appears to have mainly booked profits in select stocks from sectors like banks, pharma, auto, refineries and metal.