State-run Life Insurance Corp of India (LIC), a major domestic institutional investor, sold shares worth Rs 12,600 crore (about $2.32 billion) in companies related to financial, auto and pharma sectors in the October-December quarter of the current fiscal.
At the same time, LIC acquired shares worth about Rs 3,877 crore (about $ 714 million) in energy, metal and mining and software companies, the global research report by BofA-Merrill Lynch said.
LIC sold shares of private lenders --Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank--drug major Sun Pharma and auto firm Mahindra & Mahindra, while bought shares of energy companies-- Reliance Power, Cairn India and Reliance Industries-- IT giant Infosys, and FMCG firm ITC, the report said.
"State-run LIC lowered its exposure to companies like Axis Bank (with sale of shares for an estimated $891 million), Mahindra & Mahindra ($177 million), HDFC Bank ($ 157 million), Sun Pharma ($154 million) and ICICI Bank ($145 million)," the report said.
On the other hand, LIC's major investment during the quarter included Reliance Power ($203 million), Infosys ($162 million), Cairn India ($150 million), Reliance Industries ($142 million) and ITC ($94 million).
The report said that LIC has emerged as net sellers during October-December quarter and most of the pullout was from private sector companies.
Also, LIC was net seller during the July-September quarter 2012 with the insurer purchasing shares worth an estimated $ 1.3 billion (Rs 7,020 crore) in India equities and selling shares to the tune of $ 436 million (Rs 2,355 crore).
In terms of sectors, LIC sold shares valued at $ 1.45 billion in the finance portfolio during the three months ended December 31, 2012 followed by auto ($ 368 million), pharma ($ 325 million), industrial ($ 82 million), cement ($ 81 million) and chemicals ($ 7 million), the report said.
In contrast, the insurance giant's investment in the utilities sector stood at $ 300 million, followed by $ 197 million in the energy category, $ 142 million in metals and mining space, $ 54 million in software and $ 21 million in the telecom area.
Financial sector accounted for 24 per cent of LICs total equity portfolio in