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Heavy Trading of Whittaker Stock a Mystery, Company Says

From a Times Staff Writer

There was unusually heavy trading in the stock of Whittaker Corp. on Thursday, but the Los Angeles-based chemical and technology firm said it cannot account for the investor interest.

The company issued the statement in response to a query from the New York Stock Exchange after 212,100 shares changed hands, boosting the closing price to $34.50, up $1.75. The issue’s average daily trading volume is 21,000 shares. On Wednesday, the stock had gained $1.25. Its 12-month high is $39.50.

Traders said the interest may be fanned by Wall Street rumors of a possible leveraged buyout of the company. Dow Jones News Service reported that such talk may have been stirred up by publication last week of a report by Kidder, Peabody & Co. that valued the company at $45 a share on the basis of its cash flow.

Separately, the company said it agreed in principle to acquire Transco Products, a Camarillo manufacturer of microwave components and airborne antennas. Terms were not disclosed.

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