Countrywide’s share price dropped to an all-time low of just 7.05p yesterday during volatile trading in its stock on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
This saw its share price vary so much that the algorithms that police the LSE twice halted trading for five minutes to force investors to consider their bids more carefully.
The mechanism, called a Price Monitoring Extension, is designed to cool frantic markets for short periods and prevent ‘frenzies’ or panicky or speculative trading taking place.
It is usually triggered when a company’s share price varies by a pre-agreed percentage below or above its usual level within a short period, although it is relatively unusual for a large blue-chip company like Countrywide to experience this.
But Countrywide is no ordinary company. Following its well-documented problems both during and following the Alison Platt years, its share price tanked in July 2018 from just under 50p a share to 15p and has been sinking slowly ever since.
Countrywide’s share price volatility is being created in part by ongoing speculation that investors may tire of waiting for the long-awaited turnaround in its fortunes and accept a hostile offer to buy the company.
Speculation has been rife among investors that its two prime brands John D Wood and Hamptons International alone could be worth more if sold off separately than the entire company at the moment. At the end of trading today Countrywide had a market capitalisation of £121.38 million.