As the Government stepped up the disinvestment programme, public sector stocks such as Hindustan Copper, MMTC, NTPC and National Aluminium turned active on Thursday.

The BSE PSU index was the biggest gainer in early trade. It was quoting at 7,022, a gain of 0.69 per cent over the previous day's close.

Hindustan Copper jumped 15.5 per cent to Rs 276.50, while MMTC gained 4.28 per cent to Rs 737.50 and National Aluminium moved up 3 per cent. NTPC inched up 0.6 per cent to Rs 163.

After Hindustan Copper disinvestment schedule, the Government will clear NTPC stake sale today.

Of the 60 BSE PSU index stocks, 43 were trading higher while 16 dipped.

On Wednesday, an Empowered Group of Ministers approved offloading of 9.59 per cent of the Government’s equity in two tranches. The first phase of disinvestment will take place on Friday through which it will offer 4 per cent, while the remaining 5.59 per cent will be made available in the second phase. After both these phases, the Government’s holding will come down to 90 per cent from 99.59 per cent. However, the date was not disclosed for the second phase.

The Government also relaxed investment norms to LIC, which is now allowed to invest in any company up to 30 per cent. Earlier, the ceiling for LIC investment in any firm was set at 10 per cent. The move was aimed at mopping up Rs 30,000 crore this fiscal through disinvestment to check balloning fiscal deficit.

The Disinvestment Secretary also informed that the effort will be to complete sell-off in at least three more companies by January. The effort is to complete the process in Oil India Ltd and NMDC by December 20.

The Government has so far approved disinvestment in nine companies. However, it has not been able to implement any one of the decisions. The IPO of RINL has been deferred thrice, while offer for sale in Nalco has been postponed to January.