Even as the bench-mark 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) closed Thursday 131.27 points higher at 17,431.85, the shares of new telecom licensee companies took a heavy hammering in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling cancelling 122 2G licences issued by former Telecom Minister A Raja. Shares of public sector banks such and the State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB), which have huge exposure to the telecom sector, too, fell early in the day. As the trading progressed, the bank shares cut their losses towards the end of the trading session. The banking sector, according to a rough estimate, has reportedly an exposure of a whopping Rs.90,000 crore to the telecom sector at the moment.
The shares of older telecom players such as Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, however, saw smart gains. Some recovery was seen during the later part of the day in the earlier-battered telecom stocks as well, as some investors saw buying opportunity at lower levels. Shares of realty firm Unitech, one of the promoters of Uninor, were the worst hit. The settled the day 7.04 per cent down at Rs. 25.10 on the BSE, after dropping as much as 14 per cent intra-day. DB Realty, which had lost 8.62 per cent during the day, trimmed most of the losses and closed the day 0.48 per cent lower at Rs. 62.30. Videocon ended at Rs. 171.95, down 0.92 per cent. The Supreme Court judgment is a big blow to all the telecom companies whose licences are cancelled. Bharti, however, is clear winner, as it was not entangled in all these issues. Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular outperformed the broad-based selling pressure witnessed in the some of the telecom-related stocks. Shares of Bharti surged 6.88 per cent to close the day at Rs. 385.95, becoming the best performer among the 30-share sensitive index. Similarly, the shares of Idea, too, went up by 2.68 per cent. Shares of Reliance Communications, which had lost 9.31 per cent during the day, pared most of the losses and settled at Rs. 96.85, down 3.54 per cent.
SBI, PNB trim losses
The shares of State Bank of India, the country's largest bank, lost nearly five per cent during the day. In intra-day, however, they managed to pare much of the losses to end at Rs.2,072.65, down 0.21 per cent on the BSE. The shares of Punjab National Bank closed the day 0.21 per cent lower at Rs.953.50.