As the stock market is having everyone worried, it was interesting to know what the fund managers did during this period.
The banking and financial services stocks were in good demand. The fund managers saw buying opportunity in ICICI Bank, HDFC, Axis Bank, Federal Bank and Canara Bank. Interestingly country's largest bank -the State Bank of India - failed to find favour with the fund managers. However, SBI is still part of 142 mutual fund schemes. The BSE Bankex was down by around 12 per cent in January.
The fund managers also did buying in select infrastructure companies like Unitech and Madhucon Projects. Balkrishna Industries, which has interests in paper, textiles and tyres, was also among the most bought. HDFC fund family is particularly fond of this company and figures in the portfolios of HDFC Balanced, HDFC Long Term Advantage, HDFC Equity, HDFC Prudence, HDFC Multiple Yield Plan 2005 and HDFC MIP Long Term.
In the sellers list cement and technology stocks were offloaded. Funds diluted their holdings in Grasim, JP Associates and India Cements from the cement pack and Infosys, CMC and NIIT Technologies from the tech sector. Last month JP Associates was among the most bought on the expectation that it will demerge JP Power Ventures from itself and would float an IPO. However severe correction has put several public floats on hold.
Tractor maker Escorts was hammered the most with more than 62 lakh shares of it being sold. The stock, which was part of the four funds in December 2007, is now held by just three funds - JM Auto, Kotak Equity Arbitrage and JM Arbitrage Advantage. Reliance Growth exited the stock completely in January this year.