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Alex. Brown's share price surges again on speculation


Alex. Brown Inc.'s share price surged to another record level and its trading was briefly halted on the Pacific Stock Exchange yesterday, fueled by persistent speculation of a pending merger.

A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, the Baltimore-based investment banking firm's chairman and chief executive, attributed the trading halt by the exchange to a 1,000-share order imbalance caused by heavy buyer demand. Such imbalances often occur late on Fridays before the close of the week's trading.

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange had ended for the day and was unaffected.

He added no announcement concerning the firm was imminent.

Alex. Brown's stock closed at $47.625 per share, up 3.5 percent, or $1.375 per share, from the previous day. In trading Thursday, Alex. Brown stock closed up $3 per share to a record level of $46.25.

Mr. Krongard on Thursday said he believed that that day's share price rise was the result of buying by investors who had incorrectly bet that the value of Alex. Brown's stock would decline and were attempting to stem further losses.

In the past six months, the company's stock price has risen 57 percent as investors have speculated that the nation's oldest investment house was preparing to merge or be acquired.

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