City Telecom's Blaze of Glory

Fans of fast action and big money were treated to a show from Hong Kong-based telecom services provider City Telecom (Nasdaq: CTEL  ) today. The stock, which plummeted from a high of $9.88 in late 2003 to as low as $1.40 recently, hit the moon in early trading today. The stock opened the day at $2.71 before quickly running as high as $7.10 -- a 162% gain. The price since settled down to close at $4.30, for a more modest 67% gain. Volume was also out of control, surging to more than 400 times the stock's average daily trading volume, with over four million shares changing hands.

City Telecom isn't exactly a vapor company. According to its annual report, it did nearly $150 million in revenue for the year ended August 2006, and it has well over two million international telecommunications subscribers. There was even a time in the past when the company made a modest profit. That said, there are plenty of events that might spark a renewed interest in the stock -- a new product, a new partnership, perhaps profitable results.

None of the above was the case for today's leap in the stock. In fact, there's no apparent reason for the extreme move in the stock today. The company's most recent financial filings back in early December simultaneously announced the company's annual meeting, the resignation of the secretary of the board, and the company's fiscal 2006 results. A general press release this Monday of this week announced the appointment of a new General Council -- a fairly benign event.

In a statement given at the request of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, CFO Lai Ni Quiaque said that managers "are not aware of any reasons for such increases [in the price and trading volume]." Mr. Quiaque further confirmed that there are no discloseable negotiations regarding an acquisition, nor are there any other general events that could cause such price movement.

This leaves the rest of us to wonder whether there's somebody who knows something they shouldn't, or we're looking at the results of an extremely successful pump and dump campaign. Players on The Motley Fool's CAPS service reacted quickly, in apparent agreement that there's no good reason for the stock to be trading this much higher. The stock, which didn't have a single CAPS rating prior to today, has managed to pick up 17 straight underperform ratings and garner a one-star rating in the course of the day.

Do you think that City Telecom is destined to fall back to Earth, or are you among those in the know as to why it gained so much? Either way, what are you waiting for? Log onto CAPS and let the community know what you think.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer (TMFKopp) hopes that his thumbs down on City Telecom does big things for his CAPS portfolio. He is currently ranked 4,038 out of 19,757 CAPS players. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is always legit.


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