FIIs hike HDFC, HDFC Bank stake; cut exposure to ICICI, Axis

 Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have cut exposure in two leading private lenders, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, but have increased their stake in HDFC Ltd and its group firm HDFC Bank.

Besides, FIIs also lowered their exposure to smaller banks like Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank, Union Bank of India and Andhra Bank during the last quarter.

As per an analysis of shareholding patterns of the country's listed banks, FIIs hiked their stake in housing finance major HDFC Ltd and the group's banking entity HDFC Bank during the quarter ended June 30, 2012, with additional purchase of shares worth an estimated Rs 1,600 crore.

On the other hand, FIIs sold total shares worth an estimated Rs 3,500 crore in ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.

In HDFC, FIIs' stake rose from 65.8 per cent to 66.8 per cent during the quarter with purchase of shares worth an estimated Rs 1,000 crore. FII holding in HDFC Bank rose from 30.7 per cent to 31.2 per cent with additional purchase of shares worth about Rs 600 crore.

The other banks where FIIs hiked their stake during the April-June quarter, include Kotak Mahindra Bank (from 28.2 per cent to 28.6 per cent), Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Federal Bank and City Union Bank.

FII holding fell most in case of Axis Bank from about 33 per cent to 27.3 per cent, with an estimated sale of shares worth about Rs 2,500 crore.

In case of ICICI Bank, the country's biggest private sector lender, FIIs lowered their holding from 35.8 per cent to 34.8 per cent with sale of shares worth about Rs 1,000 crore.

Overall, FIIs so far appear to have remained net sellers in the banking stocks during the last quarter with sale of shares worth about Rs 3,000 crore.

However, a few large banks like state-run SBI and PNB are yet to disclose their shareholding data for the quarter ended June 30, 2012.

The banking stocks have performed relatively well in the recent past, when compared with the market benchmark index Sensex.

While the Sensex has gained nearly two per cent in the past one month, the BSE-Bankex index has rallied more than five per cent. Also, the Sensex is trading with a fall of nearly 7 per cent for the past one-year period, but the Bankex has fallen by less than half (about three per cent) in this period.

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