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Investors choose oil and banking

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AIM-listed oil and gas explorer Empyrean Energy and US oil group Nighthawk attracted strong investor interest this week, according to brokerage TD Waterhouse.

Empyrean Energy ranked eighth in the brokerage’s top 10 buys and third in the top 10 sells. The company’s share rose by more than 100% following a commercially-viable gas discovery at its Sugarloaf project in Texas was confirmed.

Nighthawk Energy was also popular among TD Waterhouse investors, with shares hitting an annual high of 70.50p after bid speculation and positive drilling results at a ranch in Colorado, USA. Shares rose by 8% for the week as a result of this news.

Angus Rigby, chief executive officer at TD Waterhouse, said that UK banks also enjoyed a good week, occupying the top six positions in the best-buy table. He said: “The old adage of ‘buy low and sell high’ appears to have rung true this week for our investors, as UK banks take up the top six positions on our most popular stock buys and accounted for three-quarters of these trades. Amidst concerns about tightened mortgage lending and the uncertain property market in the UK, our retail investors continue to increase their exposure to banking stocks.

“There is speculation that the Government will announce details of a new lending programme to ease pressure on UK banks that will allow them to swap their mortgage-backed assets for government bonds. It is hoped this will make intra-bank lending easier which in turn, could help ease pressures on the credit and housing markets.”

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