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India’s Jio Financial drops 5% for second straight day, delaying index removal

A cameraman is seen next to logos of Jio Financial Services and Bombay Stock Exchange ahead of its listing ceremony at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai

A cameraman is seen next to logos of Jio Financial Services and Bombay Stock Exchange ahead of its listing ceremony at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai, India, August 21, 2023. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

BENGALURU, Aug 22 (Reuters) – India’s Jio Financial Services (JFS) (JIOF.NS) slid 5% for a second straight day on Tuesday, triggering an exchange rule that will delay its removal from the country’s benchmark indexes.

Still, analysts warned, that index-linked funds could see distorted weightages for longer if fund managers cannot sell their JFS holding as soon as possible, which could be made tougher by the continuous slide and reducing trading volumes.

JFS shares opened down 5%, mirroring the decline in their trading debut on Monday and triggering a circuit breaker, as funds offloaded the stock they got after JFS was spun out of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries (RELI.NS).

JFS was automatically included in the benchmark Nifty 50 (.NSEI) and Sensex (.BSESN) indexes, due to Reliance’s presence, with the plan to remove the stock at the end of Aug. 23.

That will now be delayed by another three days until the end of Aug. 28 as the stock has hit two consecutive lower circuits, the Bombay Stock Exchange said after the market closed.

The two-day drop has lowered JFS’s valuation to about $18 billion, from around $20 billion during a “price discovery” session in mid-July. The trading volume, however, slumped by about 90%, possibly due to lackluster interest, analysts said.

This compounds the worry for index-linked funds, which are supposed to mirror the components of the benchmarks.

“If after the sixth day there are still no buyers, there will be a weightage distortion, a higher tracking error and we will have to hold the stock,” said the manager of a passive index fund.

Once JFS is excluded from the indexes, it could seem more attractive, the manager said, declining to be named as they are not allowed to speak to the media.

JFS, which has said it intends to be a “full-service financial services player”, holds a 6.1% stake in Reliance.

Analysts have said investors will look for more clarity on JFS’s business at Reliance’s annual general meeting on Aug. 28.

“In the near term, JFS is unlikely to impinge on the terrain of banks. Initially, it could disrupt the digital and unsecured lending market done by fintechs and NBFCs,” Macquarie analysts wrote in a note.

“Banks have a significant edge on the cost of funds and have built robust collection mechanisms, especially in the secured lending market which is far more difficult to scale up.”

Reporting by Sethuraman NR in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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