The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nalco scrip see-saws on Vajpayee’s remark

Mumbai, July 16: The Nalco share went on a roller-coaster ride after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee almost slammed the door on the company’s selloff for now.

It first plunged 16 per cent as investors spooked by stalled sales ahead of elections in several states dumped the stock. The dismay spilled over to other public-sector undertakings like Bharat Petroleum Corporation.

The aluminium major clawed back later as markets discounted the statement made by the Prime Minister. Analysts said there was no plan to divest Nalco to a strategic buyer, only an ADR and public issue is on the cards.

The rising alumina prices, which have more than doubled in recent times, is being seen as a booster for Nalco. The scrip opened at Rs 105, slipped to an intra-day low of Rs 95, after which it recovered to finish at Rs 108.30, a loss of Rs 5.25, or 4.6 per cent, over its previous close.

A section of the operators feels the government will push divestment in some state-run firms, led by HPCL, despite the odds. Brokers said the optimism helped the Nalco share come back from the brink the way it did. Nalco’s gyrations came on a day when Dalal Street closed 35.31 points, or 0.96 per cent, higher at 3662.70 points. The BSE had ended at 3686.34 points on Tuesday.

At the heart of the rally, coming after a day of correction, was Tisco. The share surged over 4 per cent to a six-year high of Rs 198.80. State Bank of India also shot up 2 per cent to end at an all-time high of Rs 418.40.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who had slowed down activity for a brief period last weekend, were believed to have stepped up investments again, making net purchases in a number of blue-chip counters.

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