LONDON -- Hot news and a nose for a bargain drove the retail clients of stockbroker TD Direct Investing to hit the "buy" button this morning, with the top three shares all comprising highly topical trades impelled by news flow.
First up: troubled FTSE 250 coal miner Bumi (LSE: BUMI.L ) , which has rarely been out of the gossip sections of the financial press in recent weeks. Co-founded by financier Nat Rothschild and Indonesia's family-owned Bakrie Group, the company issued a terse Regulatory News Service this morning noting that the board had received a proposal from the Bakries to, in effect, buy the business, leaving Bumi as the shell company that it began life as.
With its shares hit in recent times by falling coal prices and allegations of accounting irregularities and industrial espionage and spying, Bumi hasn't had a good few months.
No longer. Its shares soared 52% this morning as investors piled in, hoping it would be bought out by the Bakries. The result? Bumi was the single-most popular purchase by the retail clients of TD Direct Investing's between the market's opening and noon.
Next up: insurer Direct Line (LSE: DLG.L ) , floated by troubled bank Royal Bank of Scotland, which is striving to bolster its balance sheet. An RNS this morning announced the offer price, permitting conditional dealing on the grey market to take place from 8 a.m. EDT. The price -- 175 pence per share -- is reckoned to be a 600 million pound discount to the insurer's true value, and retail investors are slated to be allocated 15% of the shares floated.
Pointing to the insurer's strong brand, observers had expected the shares to rise strongly. In the event, they gained 3% or so to 181 pence, making the share the second-most popular buy among TD Direct Investing's retail clients this morning, with investors seemingly not put off by fears of clampdowns on some of motor insurance's murkier practices. A bigger worry is the overhang of shares still held by RBS and due to come to market by the end of 2014.
Third-up: Tesco (LSE: TSCO.L ) , a regular feature of the daily TD Direct Investing list in the days since the company issued its interim management statement last week. Ranked the third-most popular purchase by TD Direct Investing's retail clients between the market's opening and noon, Tesco's shares rose 2% in early trading.
Are investors warming to the idea that recent falls have been overdone? Possibly. But also pertinent is the fact that the "ex-dividend" record date for shares is tomorrow -- enabling buyers today to lock in a 4.63 pence per-share dividend, payable on Dec. 21.
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