Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Harvey Nash shares dive on mystery sale

(By Anthony Miller) Anyone looking at UK stock prices on Monday night would have had a bit of a shock over recruitment firm Harvey Nash (HVN.L) which appeared to lose half its value. Not quite. It seems there was a last-gasp trade of 261K Harvey Nash shares at 12p just before close of play, we assume a forced sale as the prior price was around 25p. The sale represented under 1% of Harvey Nash's issued stock. The share price rebounded but is 24% down at 19.5p as I write (Tues. 11:30 am). Clearly the financial crisis is having the most unfortunate knock-on effects on share prices, with equity holdings the only ‘liquid’ assets some firms have left as a source of immediate cash. And then it’s any price you can get, with unfortunate consequences for the stock being liquidated.

Post Script. It’s not just Harvey Nash that has fallen foul of unusual share sales. As Ian Spence pointed out in today’s (Wednesday) Megabuyte daily news, Parity (among others) also suffered, losing 23% of its value. We thoroughly concur with Ian’s observation that, “time and time again (it) is often very small quantities of stock coming through market makers who will continue to mark the shares lower and lower until a buyer comes in. However, the current fear in the markets makes people think that, if it's going down, it must be going down for a reason.”. This is a sentiment-driven market with little relationship to fundamentals. Holders beware.

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