As investors moved their money from financial services stocks into consumer goods makers, as they become safer bets amid the COVID-19 outbreak, HUL emerged as the biggest gainer among its FMCG peers.
On Wednesday, shares of HUL hit a new all-time high of Rs 2,614.30 on NSE and had crossed the Rs 5 lakh crore market cap mark this week, making it the first-ever India company to do so.
Despite the nearly 4 percent slump seen on Thursday, HUL's market cap is at Rs 5.14 lakh crore, above HDFC Bank's Rs 5.02 lakh crore valuation to become the third most valued company in India.
At present, the most valued company in terms of market cap is Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) at Rs 7.59 lakh crore, followed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at Rs 6.53 lakh crore.
In fact, according to recent calculations by the Economic Times Intelligence Group using data compiled by Bloomberg, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is now among the top 15 global consumer staple stocks by market cap. Taking Wednesday's closing price of Rs 2,460.85 per share into consideration, HUL has surpassed the market cap of global peers like Altria Group, Colgate-Palmolive and Reckitt Benckiser, the report said.
The country's largest FMCG makes essential goods-from staples to soaps. After the state-wise announcement of closures of shopping malls in early March and later a nationwide lockdown declared by the central government, consumers started panic buying for future use and cost-cutting, aiding earnings of FCMGs.
Nestle India, another staples maker, also touched new high of Rs 17,544.05 per share on Thursday.
The two FMCG stocks have surged around 30 percent since the beginning of the lockdown. On the other hand, HDFC Bank has lost nearly 25 percent of its value since the beginning of March from Rs 1,177.65 a share on 28 February to close at Rs 888.90 on Wednesday.