As rising COVID-19 cases prompt shortage, stock of NBFC with 'oxygen' in its name soars to dizzying heights

In recent weeks, there has been something of a frenzy to secure drugs and other medical supplies for COVID-19 patients. Frantic messages inundate social media, and Chief Ministers send out ominous messages about dwindling supplies. But as cases rise and oxygen becomes a scare commodity in many areas, there has been a strange ripple effect in the stock market.

With the daily case tally remaining consistently over the two lakh mark and the situation growing increasingly more problematic, pharmaceutical stocks have done exceedingly well for themselves in recent days. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to have done their homework before joining the healthcare and medical supplies bandwagon.

Over the last month or so, the shares of Bombay Oxygen Corporation Limited has surged by more than 250%, jumping from Rs 10,000 to nearly Rs 25,000 within a span of three weeks. The surge had even prompted the BSE to seek a clarification from the company earlier this month. And even as the company insisted that the surge was "market driven" and not the effect of any nefarious actions taken by them, the investment spree continued.

We feel compelled to mention here that Bombay Oxygen does not have anything to do with the life-saving and immensely popular gas of the same name. It is also not a company working to manufacture or store any kind of medical supplies. "The Company's primary business was manufacturing and supplying of Industrial Gases which has been discontinued from 1st August, 2019," the Bombay Oxygen website explains. Now, it is a Non-Banking Financial Institution that owns shares, mutual funds and other financial securities.

While the last month had seen investors chipping in with blissful ignorance, awareness appears to be seeping in now, if only because many on social media are talking about the issue. At present however we're unable to ascertain the full impact of this newfound knowledge because the exchanges remain closed for the occasion of Ram Navami. On Tuesday, Bombay Oxygen had closed at a marginally lower price.

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