LONDON -- Yesterday morning, Britain's bombed-out banking sector was in demand with the retail clients of stockbroker TD Direct Investing. Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY.L ) , and Royal Bank of Scotland all found favor -- but top of the heap was Lloyds, the single-most popular buy with the broker's clients between the market's opening and noon.
Why? Spanish banking stress tests and bullish American data had a bearing, to be sure, but probably the biggest impact on demand was the news that analysts at Liberum Capital had placed a "buy" recommendation on all three, tipping Lloyds with a target price of 45 pence, up from today's opening price of 40 pence. Throw in last week's good news from the Bank of England -- a 22 billion pound lending facility for Lloyds -- and investors' enthusiasm becomes understandable.
Next up: Scancell Holdings (LSE: SCLP.L ) , a biopharmaceutical company focused on the cancer therapeutics market and the third-most popular purchase by TD Direct Investing's retail clients yesterday morning. The shares are up 10% as I write these words, with bulletin-board traffic -- as opposed to hard news or company statements -- the apparent cause.
That said, the shares are up 750% (yes, you read that right) this year, so investors will need to be confident that enough upside remains. Me? I like my pharmaceutical treatments -- and dividends -- delivered by FTSE 100 stalwart GlaxoSmithKline, thanks.
Last up: Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LSE: GKP.L ) , a popular pick not only with TD Direct Investing's retail clients, but also with knowledgeable oil investors on our oil and gas investing discussion boards. Why? Well, a three-year return of 1,155% (again, you read that right) has more than a little to do with it.
The 10th-most bought share by TD Direct Investing's retail clients this morning, Gulf Keystone continues to benefit from positive news flow -- most recently, last month's announcement regarding the submission of its Shaikan field development plan to the Kurdistan authorities by the end of January 2013 and the intended move from AIM to London's main market.
Finally, speaking of oil shares, have you read the Motley Fool's latest special free report, "How To Unearth Great Oil & Gas Shares"? Containing a practical eight-point plan to boost your total returns, it's free and can be in your inbox in seconds.
Are you looking to profit as a long-term investor? "10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market" is the latest Motley Fool guide to help Britain invest. Better. We urge you to read the report today -- while it's still free and available.
Further investment opportunities: