FIIs reduce stakes in banks in Jul-Sept quarter
Mumbai: Concerns over inflation, hardening interest rates and asset quality have prompted FIIs to cut exposure in banking stocks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and SBI in the July-September quarter, say analysts.
In the banking indices, which comprise 13 stocks, foreign institutional investors (FII) reduced their shareholding in 9 banks, while increasing in two. The other two are yet to disclose the change in their shareholding.
Bank stocks have underperformed in the second quarter of FY'14 with the BSE Bankex declining 18 percent compared to fall of 1 percent in the BSE 30-stock index, Sensex, during this period.
State Bank of India saw the maximum decline in FII holding which went down to 8.88 percent at the end of September quarter, from 9.79 percent from June-end.
Overseas investors trimmed their exposure in ICICI Bank to 37.56 percent from 39.24 percent, while in HDFC Bank it went down to 33.61 percent from 34.49 percent.
"Asset quality concerns, weak markets, hardening of interest rates and high inflation are some of the factors that led FIIs to reduce their stakes in banking stocks," said Paras Bothra, Research Head at Ashika Stock Brokers.
On banks' asset quality, Unicon Financial Solutions CEO Gajendra Nagpal said: "NPAs (Non-Performing Assets) of banks are under pressure for sometime now.
"FIIs are not investing in banking stocks due to high inflation, rising interest rates and worsening asset quality. Also, the health of Indian economy is not encouraging enough to attract foreign investment."
He said banks have great exposure in construction and real estate sectors and these industries are not doing well currently.
That apart, indicating worsening of the price situation, inflation - wholesale as well as retail - went up in September, dimming the prospects of rate cut by RBI later this month to boost the sagging economy.
While the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation climbed to 7-month high of 6.46 percent, the one based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) inched closer to double digit at 9.84 percent.
Deteriorating price situation will make the Reserve Bank task of reducing interest rate difficult at monetary policy review on October 29.
As for other lenders, FIIs cut stake in Canara Bank from 12.70 percent to 11.93 percent, while in IndusInd Bank their holding came down to 39.90 percent from 42.28 percent.
In Bank of India, FII holding came down to 13.17 percent from 13.62 percent; PNB from 17.99 percent to 17.87 percent; Kotak Mahindra Bank from 31.21 percent to 31.12 percent and Federal Bank from 44.42 percent to 44.11 percent.
In contrast, FIIs raised their stake in Axis Bank and Bank of Baroda during the same period.
FIIs' holding in Axis Bank went up to 43.37 percent from 40.70 percent, while in Bank of Baroda it rose to 15.51 percent from 15.34 percent.
Apart from 13 banks under banking indices, FII have offloaded stakes in Punjab & Sind Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Overseas Bank and Syndicate Bank.
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