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SBI stock gains on better performance

Aparna Krishnan

MUMBAI, June 28

THE share prices of most public sector banks have been on the rise lately, but leading the pack is State Bank of India (SBI), the largest and most well networked PSU bank. Most funds are currently bullish on the stock in the near term.

The scrip of SBI has gained 10 per cent in the last one month from the Rs 220 levels. On Friday, the stock moved up by 2 per cent on the BSE to close at Rs 240.50 with 2.03 lakh shares being traded. On the NSE, it went up by 2.43 per cent to close at Rs 241.65 with 3.96 lakh shares being traded.

Analysts say that the main trigger for SBI is its good performance in the financial year 2002 with profits up by 52 per cent and net interest income up by 8.3 per cent. For FY 2002, retail assets continued to be the growth driver.

"The bank has made considerable progress on the retail front in FY 2002. Retail assets are now 15 per cent of its loan book, compared to less than 12 per cent last year. Retail lending in the FY2002 has also gone up, accounting for over 60 per cent of SBI's incremental loans," stated a CLSA report on SBI.

Said an analyst "SBI is expected to continue its focus on retail in the current year, with total disbursement in this segment targeted at Rs 7,000 crore, of which Rs 4,500 crore is to be achieved through housing loans."

Dealers said that the stock was likely to be re-rated shortly. "We see several re-rating triggers in the near term: progress on technology initiatives will narrow the current gap with the private sector banks, rapid growth in retail banking, consolidation of associate bank accounts that is likely to raise profits and increasing focus on Rs 600 crore of unrealised gains that will enable it to maintain margins," stated the CLSA report.

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