County drops 213 shares

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The Independent Online
COUNTY NATWEST Securities, the share trading arm of National Westminster Bank, yesterday confirmed it was stopping making markets in 213 stocks, a quarter of those it covers.

The list County is dropping includes some surprising names, such as Euro Disney, Alfred McAlpine, Higgs & Hill and The Telegraph, which only came to market in July.

It also includes 69 investment trusts, an area where Wood Mackenzie, the stockbroker bought by County three years ago, is traditionally strong, and 28 convertible shares, another traditional area of expertise at County.

Most of the shares are small companies. SG Warburg also recently said it was cutting its coverage of smaller companies but Smith New Court said it would fill the gaps with an increased smaller company service.

The group said the move was made because the volumes generated in the shares did not justify the work involved in being a registered market-maker. Although the stocks represent 25 per cent of those handled by County, they only represent 5 per cent of its turnover. No job losses are involved.

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