Trading started relatively peacefully – Buys building up a nett surplus of a few hundred thousand shares by 9am, as has been usual in the last couple of weeks. A Sell of 160K at 9:21am knocked the nett trade balance back to nearer to neutrality. Despite no change in Bid or Ask there was then another significant period of pure buying, building the nett trade surplus to almost 600K by half past ten. Another large Buy of 150K at 10:54am and then…
The Ask is dropped, first to 9.5p and then further to 9.25p. There are, of course, no trades yet reported that would explain this. This is very similar to the situation that was experienced around 2pm yesterday, which also does not have any Sell trades yet reported. In order to have such a large impact on the Ask, and for this to happen in two stages we can hypothesize that a similar flash short to that experienced on the 18th Aug may have been attempted in the 7 minutes after 10:55am. The total size of these Sells would have to be in the 500K+ range.
The first drop in the Ask also corresponds to a drop in the Bid which sparked off significant buying after 11am – another 250K shares were bought between 11am and 11:30am. A large Sell of 200K at 11:43 briefly knocked the nett trades back down to +750K excess Buys – but again this was cancelled out within half an hour – with another 250K excess of Buys appearing. At this point the Ask rose back to 10p and the brief period of cut-price Buying concluded. Trading was quiet for the rest of the day.
As on the 18th August it would seem that an attempt to manipulate the share price down has been quickly and comprehensively thwarted by the rapid buying of LTHs.
The share price finished at 9.625p, down 2.5% on the day – though this is primarily caused by the extreme, and asymmetric, spread currently in evidence, a result of whatever happened at 11am. The true mid-price is closer to 9.75p and the effective drop on the day only half of that reported. This was on total (currently reported) volume of 2.4M or which 1.8M are estimated as Buys and only 623K as Buys. Further delayed trade reports expected.