P.M. BRIEFING : Electricity Stocks Soar in Britain

From Times Wire Services

Stock prices of Britain’s 12 newly privatized regional electric companies sprinted as much as 77.5% today as the shares began trading on London’s Stock Exchange.

A mixed package of 1,000 of the 12 stocks jumped to $3,110 shortly after trading commenced from $1,950. Dealers said trading in the new stock was very busy, and the exchange extended trading for 1 1/2 hours to handle the heavy volume.

Institutional investors were scrambling to get more stock after the government scaled back their allocation because of strong demand from the public, dealers said. But some small investors were holding on to their stakes to take advantage of the discounts on electricity bills and dividend payments.