SBI MF lapped up bluest of bluechips in Jan; plays big on these sectors


SBI Mutual Fund put in big bets on healthcare, oil & gas and telecom sectors in January. The asset manager lapped up shares of Bharti Airtel, Narayana Hrudayalay, ONGC and IndiaOil with both hands, besides others.

The fund house emerged India’s largest asset management company in January, toppling HDFC Asset Management from the top spot.

During the month, the fund house bought 1.43 crore shares of Bharti Airtel, which emerged the second biggest gainer among Nifty stocks for the month, rising 8.91 per cent. The stock is up 18 per cent year to date and 89 per cent in last one year.

Bharti Airtel stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries if rival Vodafone Idea falls. Voda Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has warned that closure of the telco is a strong possibility due to the financial distress it is in thanks to the massive statutory dues. The former recently raised $3 billion to clear the dues.

Over 20 analysts, who track Airtel, are bullish on the stock, Reuters data showed. Emkay has a ‘buy’ rating on the stock with a price target of Rs 591 while Dolat Capital has a target of Rs 602. ICICIdirect sees the stock at Rs 630 in one year.

The fund house also purchased 65 lakh shares of healthcare services provider Narayana Hrudayalay, which has given solid returns so far this calendar, rising 14 per cent against a 1 per cent gain in the Sensex.

“We continue to believe in the long-term prospects of the company on the back of an asset-light model and affordability philosophy,” ICICIdirect said in a report. It has the target price set at Rs 430, meaning a 22 per cent upside from last close.

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SBI MF also continued to load up on select PSU stocks in January, a practice observed in the past two months. The fund manager bought 64 lakh shares of IndianOil, 57 lakh shares of ONGC, 40 lakh shares of Bank of Baroda and 29 lakh shares of SBI from the PSU pack, according to data available on corporate database Ace Equity.

PSU companies are among the largest dividend-paying companies and with the rule change that will tax dividend in the hands of shareholders, many of these stocks are expected to pay dividend earlier than usual to beat the new tax threshold.

The largest equity fund manager of the country also picked up substantial numbers of shares of Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank, both of which reported record quarterly profits for December quarter. It added 6.4 lakh shares of the former and 12 lakh shares of the latter.

Interestingly, HDFC Asset Management Company sold HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries in heaps during the month.

Market veteran Shankar Sharma says the prospects of large companies will continue to be bright. “There will be good companies at the bottom, which will come in through listing and otherwise. But large companies because of the economic distress are going to keep becoming larger at the expense of the second, third, fourth, fifth guys in the same industry,” he said in a recent interaction with ET NOW.

Meanwhile, SBI Mutual Fund sold nearly 3 crore shares of power generation company NHPC during the month and 10-30 lakh shares of HUDCO, Gateway Distriparks, Marico, PNC Infratech, Power Grid, Tata Motors and Zee Entertainment, among others.

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Some of the buying and selling in shares mentioned above might have been done by passively-managed index funds.

January saw a jump in inflows into domestic equity funds. Net inflows, which stood at Rs 4,499.39 crore in December, surged to Rs 7,877.40 crore in January, making the highest levels since August 2019. Inflows into midcap and smallcap funds picked up in January, with net inflows of Rs 1,798.16 crore and 1,072 crore, respectively, as the rally in broader markets lifted investor sentiment.

SBI MF toppled HDFC AMC as the largest fund house in the country in January. As of January 31, SBI MF’s assets under management (AUM) stood at Rs 3.82 lakh crore against HDFC AMC’s Rs 3.79 lakh crore and ICICI Prudential MF’s Rs 3.68 lakh crore.





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