Banks shares took up retail investors’ attention in the week up to 16 November, with stockbroker TD Waterhouse saying banks made up three out of four of the top ten buys and sells.
With the focus on the renewed economic woes for Ireland, investors weighed up UK banks exposure to Ireland, and a slide in bank share prices led to a higher ratio of buys to sells.
“Royal Bank of Scotland was the most bought stock, accounting for almost 20% of all top ten buys, and the second most-sold. RBS experienced the sharpest initial drop on the day of the EC announcement [about making European financial assistance available to Ireland], which analysts and traders attributed to its significant exposure to Ireland,” the stockbroker said.
This was in part due to data published in July showing RBS had £4.3billion exposure to Irish sovereign debt, but prices appeared to recover on news that £3.8billion of project finance assets were being sold to Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays also appeared in the top four buys and sells.
The other most traded stock was Victoria Oil and Gas, which TD Waterhouse said had attracted interest since 9 November after announcing strong annual results and predictions of gas deliveries from a project in Cameroon.
At 14.00 on 19 November, the FTSE 100 index at the London Stock Exchange was trading down by 65 points, with some bank share prices down by as much as three per cent.
Shares in South African bank Investec were trading up by just under 0.5 per cent. The bank published interim results on 18 November saying its operating profit before tax was up 5.6 per cent in the six months to September 2010, compared to the same period in 2009.
The bank said assets under management had increased by 6.7 per cent to £49.5billion.
Chief executive, Stephen Koseff said: “We have maintained excess levels of liquidity and capital until the regulatory picture is clearer. This does have a negative impact on short-term earnings and return on equity but the Board believes that this achieves the right strategic balance for the group.”
© Fair Investment Company Ltd