LONDON -- Platinum remains in the news -- but the action today didn't revolve around miners of the stuff, but businesses that use it. Chief among them in an FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) context, of course, is specialist metals and chemicals company Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT.L), which proved to be the second-most popular share bought by the private clients of stockbroker TD Direct Investing between the market's opening and noon.

That said, the precise driver wasn't clear. The company hasn't issued any recent news or results, and broker coverage hasn't thrown up any news flow, either. However, with the shares down sharply in early trading, investors seemingly saw an opportunity to grab a stake in a global business that over the past year has outperformed the FTSE 100 by 30% -- and which is still on a forecast price-to-earnings ratio of 13.

Just behind Johnson Matthey, Barclays (LSE: BARC.L) continued to attract private investors: The shares were the third-most purchased shares by TD Direct Investing's private clients this morning. Positive weekend news flow will have fueled demand: New chairman Sir David Walker continues to make the right statements about changing the bank's practices, and ample speculation that Antony Jenkins, the steady-handed head of retail and business banking, will take the chief executive role can only help underscore the change in direction.

Finally, a broker downgrade of global pharmaceutical and consumer products business GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK.L) flushed bargain hunters out of the woodwork, with the share proving the broker's 10th-most popular buy this morning. Broker J.P. Morgan Cazenove has downgraded Glaxo to "underweight" but raised its target price from 1,470 pence to 1,540 pence.

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