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‘Pick’ stirs share interest, halt in trading

Despite an ominous start, Thursday turned out to be a pretty good day for Rifco Inc.

The Red Deer company, which is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX.V: RFC), learned early in the morning that trade in its shares had been halted by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) — pending the equity market watchdog contacting Rifco.

The company hastily issued a news release, stating that it was unaware of any material change that might affect it.

As it turned out, said Rifco chief financial officer Lance Kadatz, IIROC officials had reacted to a surge in bidding pressure for Rifco stock.

They wanted to determine if that demand was being stimulated by some undisclosed news about the company.

The folks at Rifco had an explanation.

“The reason this happened is on BNN (Business News Network) Market Call the day before, an analyst by the name of Jason Donville from Donville Kent was on and made Rifco his top pick,” said Kadatz.

The president and CEO of Toronto-based Donville Kent Asset Management — who lived in Red Deer as a young child — had offered a glowing assessment of Rifco and its potential during an evening broadcast.

“Obviously he has a huge following when he speaks,” said Kadatz, noting that 592,000 Rifco shares traded on Thursday and their price jumped 14 per cent — from $3.70 to $4.22.

“It was one of our biggest trading days on record.”

The halt trade order was lifted at about 10:45 Eastern Time, but not before the disruption had raised a few eyebrows.

“I got a lot of calls from shareholders and a lot of different people wondering what was going on,” said Kadatz. “It was a very busy morning.”

Rifco provides auto loans through a dealership network that covers every Canadian province except Quebec.



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