Life Insurance Corporation of India has lowered its exposure in 17 blue-chip firms during the October-December quarter, selling off shares worth over Rs 11,000 crore.

LIC has increased its holding in eight Sensex companies during the quarter, according to an analysis of the shareholding pattern of 30 blue-chip companies.

The state-owned insurer’s stake in three companies — ONGC, GAIL and Sesa Sterlite — remained unchanged. It did not hold any stake in Hindustan Unilever in the past two quarters, while data for one company was not available.

LIC’s stake in Larsen & Toubro rose marginally. It holds 17.06 per cent stake in L&T, the highest it has among the Sensex firms.

At current share prices, LIC offloaded shares worth Rs 11,306 crore in 17 Sensex constituents. At the same time, the insurance giant picked up scrips to the tune of Rs 3,402 crore in eight blue-chip companies, resulting in a net outflow of Rs 7,904 crore in all the Sensex firms together.

The sell-off by LIC coincided with a surge of 9.24 per cent in BSE’s benchmark index Sensex during the quarter.

During the quarter, LIC decreased its stake in energy giant Reliance Industries, telecom player Bharti Airtel, IT firms — Wipro and Infosys, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank.

It also trimmed its holding in four Tata group companies — Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Power.

On the other hand, the biggest institutional investor in the stock market shored up its holding in BHEL, Sun Pharma, State Bank of India, HDFC, NTPC, ITC, and Coal India.

Tata Power saw LIC reducing its exposure by 2.1 percentage points, while its stake in Maruti dropped by 1.28 percentage point and LIC’s holding in Infosys and Wipro dropped by 1.24 percentage points each.

(This article was published on January 26, 2014)
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