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Punjab National Bank hits new 52-week high

Virendra Verma

MUMBAI, Dec. 12

THE shares price of public sector Punjab National Bank (PNB) today touched new 52-week high on the back of recent developments such as merger with Nedungadi Bank and divestment of stake in PNB Gilts, a subsidiary of PNB.

In today's trading, the stock touched a new high of Rs 61 on the BSE and closed at Rs 59.85, up 4.09 per cent from the previous day's closing. On the NSE, the stock touched a high of Rs 60.50 and closed at Rs 60.30, up 5.19 per cent.

Traded volumes on the BSE were 10.84 lakh shares of which 38.8 per cent were up for delivery. Of the total volumes of 22.71 lakh shares on the NSE, 40.03 per cent shares were presented for delivery.

Incidentally, the stocks's all time high on the BSE is also Rs 61, which it had touched during April this year.

In the last one month, the stock has gained around 50 per cent. The returns on the offer price of Rs 31 earlier this year is almost 100 per cent.

Analysts said the merger of Nedungadi Bank with PNB would be good for the bank in the long term. The Government's recent permission to divest stake in PNB Gilts would also bring additional funds for the bank.

"Both these developments would be positive for the bank and the sound fundamentals strengthened market confidence in the stock," said an analyst with a domestic broking firm.

In the last one month, a number of institutional investors — both FIIs and mutual funds — were believed to have made heavy purchases.

The passage of Securitisation Bill, enabling banks to recover non-performing assets at a speedier rate, has also brought interest in the PNB stock.

Analysts feel that apart from these events in the last one-month, the fundamentals of the bank are sound compared to other PSU banks. In addition, PNB has been able to maintain its market share despite competition from private and foreign banks.

"It enjoys one of the best interest spreads in the industry and its technology plans are comparable to the best peers in the industry," said an analyst. Some of the technology initiatives taken by the bank such as ATM and Internet banking seemed to have perked up investors' interest in the stock, he said. PNB has 192 ATMs, of which 105 are already networked. It has a target of setting up 300 ATMs by the end of financial year, 2003.

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