Punters make show in ShareLink table

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The Independent Online
PRIVATE investors are buying up shares that make many stockbrokers shudder, writes Neasa MacErlean.

Among the most popular in recent weeks have been shares of the troubled Hartstone Group, whose former chairman has stepped down after a profits warning for the hosiery-to-leather-goods company. But many private investors have made a beeline for the stock.

Hartstone ranks fourth in the ShareLink table of the top 10 purchases of its clients in May. ShareLink is an execution-only broking service and many of its clients do not take professional advice. If they did, they would likely be strongly warned off some of the front runners in the ShareLink table.

Eric Hathorn of Henderson Crosthwaite, the private client stockbroker, said: 'I would be very unhappy if our clients as a whole were asking us to go into that sort of stock. If something has been knocked down because they really are getting into difficulties, it is sheer speculation to buy.'

The ShareLink top 10 at present shows a mixture of defensive stocks, such as British Telecom, and speculative investments, such as Hartstone and Millwall Holdings, which owns the football club.