Mutual funds’ exposure to bank stocks hits 14-month high of Rs. 40,293 crore

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Fund managers raised their exposure in bank stocks to a 14-month high of over Rs. 40,293 crore in March this year amid rising equities market.

According to the latest data available with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), mutual fund (MF) investments in banking stocks reached Rs. 40,293 crore as on March 31, 2014, accounting for 19.76 per cent of their total equity assets under management (AUM) of Rs. 2.04 lakh crore.

This was the highest level since January 2013, when fund managers had shored up their investment in banking shares to Rs. 42,760 crore. This was also the second consecutive monthly rise in exposure.
The investment in the sector had risen to a record high of Rs. 43,659 crore in December 2012.
Mutual funds are investment vehicles made up of a pool of funds collected from a large number of investors. MFs invest in stocks, bonds, money market instruments and similar assets.

According to market participants, MFs have shown interest in banking stocks since September last year primarily on account of measures announced by Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan coupled with overall surge in the stock market.

In September 2013, MFs’ exposure in banking stocks increased to Rs. 26,838 crore after touching the lowest level in four years at Rs. 22,744 crore in August last year.

Meanwhile, the banking index (bankex) surged by 18.6 per cent in March this year, while the 30-scrip BSE sensitive index Sensex rose 6 per cent.