This morning, investors sensed bargains at May Gurney (LSE: MAYG), BP (LSE: BP) and Carclo (LSE: CAR).
A share price plunge of 46% enticed the private clients of stockbroker TD Direct Investing to load up on May Gurney (LSE: MAYG) this morning. The infrastructure services firm was the sixth-most popular pick between the market's opening and 12 noon.
The reason for such a precipitous plunge? A profits warning, and the abrupt departure of the company's chief executive. It's all rather different, in short, from the mood music just three months ago, when the firm thought that public sector expenditure cuts were actually going to deliver a boost to the bottom line.
For the year ending on 31 March, May Gurney had seen underlying pre-profits climb 17% to £28.4m, ahead of forecasts. Today, announcing the closure of some activities, and severe difficulties with others, it says that it expects to "significantly underperform" in the current year. Even so, despite the 46% slump in the share price, some investors evidently rate the stock a 'buy'.
Another business that knows a bit about significant underperformance is oil giant BP (LSE: BP), still suffering from the Gulf of Mexico disaster of 2010. With last months's hurricane now blowing fresh deposits of oil onto Gulf shorelines, the United States Justice Department has accused BP of "gross negligence and wilful misconduct" in the run-up to the disaster, as it gears up for a court case.
The whole thing could drag on for years, and BP is in any case suffering from the fall-out of its long-running dispute with its partners in its Russian oil interests. But trading at 423p, there's obviously enough interest in the shares to make the company the ninth-most popular 'buy' by TD Direct Investing's private clients between the market's opening and 12 noon.
Elsewhere, bargain seekers were clearly running the rule over specialist high-tech plastics company Carclo (LSE: CAR), which after falling 6% was the tenth-most popular 'buy' by TD Direct Investing's private clients between the market's opening and 12 noon.
Why the drop? An RNS explaining that an order for smartphone touch sensors had been delayed, pending the resolution of 'product design issues'.
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Investing ideas from Malcolm Wheatley:
> Malcolm owns shares in BP, but has no disclosable interest in any other of the shares listed.
Disclaimer: The TD Direct Investing (www.tddirectinvesting.co.uk) list of Top Ten Buys should not be taken as a recommendation to buy or sell any particular bond or stock, and is not intended as any form of advice. Instead, it is simply an indication of the general buying trends amongst TD Direct Investing customers during the period stated.