The tide has turned for two insurers in the past few weeks. Private investors backing Goshawk and Cox have been selling large chunks. Both insurers' share prices have peaked in the past 10 days. Cox has jumped from 62p to 86.5p on speculation that its old boss Neil Utley is stalking the company.
Barclays plc sold 25,420 Goshawk shares at 45p on Monday, dropping its interest to 5.01%. Over a period of 24 hours (Monday/Tuesday), Fidelity International sold 500,000 Cox shares at 87p, cutting its interest by 10% from 9.41% to 9.31%.
The intentions of both seem clear - let's get the best for our buck now, while the going is good. Does this mean that Barclays has doubts about Goshawk's takeover talks? Or is Fidelity selling its interests to Utley and his consortium, which includes Towergate's Peter Cullum?
In brokers' minds, Eliot Spitzer equals Bad Santa and his zealous investigation is going to cloud the Christmas festivities. The main worry is that over the past 18 months the banking community has lent UK brokers over £500m. With this amount of borrowed debt, all based on the premise the market remains hard and constant, any instability could kill the golden goose.