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Hot Stocks You Bought Today

Malcolm Wheatley
July 26, 2012

LONDON -- With boardroom confusion at Barclays (LSE: BARC.L  ) continuing to attract unwelcome headlines, the beaten-down share price is attracting buyers. No real surprise, then, that Barclays was the most sought-after share in the FTSE 100 this morning, being the single-most popular purchase by stockbroker TD Direct Investing's individual clients between the market's opening noon.

Nor was the second-most popular purchase by TD Direct Investing's retail clients much of a surprise. Last night, the share price of engineering services contractor Lamprell (LSE: LAM.L  ) was 123 pence. This morning, following yet another profit warning, it slumped 41% to 71 pence -- in the process attracting buyers who sensed a bargain.

But for my money, three much better long-term bargains lay slighter further down the list of most-popular shares. Just behind Lamprell, for instance, came Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY.L  ) , which this morning delivered half-year results showing a 439 million pound loss following a raised PPI provision. But behind the headlines, progress is being made. The rate of bad loans is declining, the bloated balance sheet is being reduced, and the longed-for dividend comes ever closer. For some investors, then, the glass was more half-full than half-empty.

Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB.L  ) was in demand, too, being the fifth-most popular share with TD Direct Investing's individual clients between the market's opening and noon. Again, the trigger was the company's just-published results -- and a second‑quarter payout that was upped by 2.4% compared to last year, putting the company on course for a full-year dividend payout of 105 pence. An oil giant on a bargain-level yield of 4.8%? Some investors couldn't resist.

Finally, staying with oil and gas, BG Group (LSE: