Weatherford Surges in Last Minute of Trading to Close 4% Higher

Weatherford International Ltd. surged in the last seconds of trading as a wave of buy orders swept into U.S. markets, even after Swiss stock regulators said earlier in the day they were investigating the company.

Weatherford opened at $13.20 and didn’t go above $13.29 until the last minute of trading. More than 4,500 trades representing 12.6 million shares occurred above that price as the stock jumped as high as $13.66 and closed at $13.54, up 4.2 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares executed at the ask price outnumbered others by more than 11-to-1, suggesting the transactions were initiated by buyers.

“There very well may have been a large order out there, but I can’t confirm that,” Trey Stolz, a New Orleans-based analyst at Iberia Capital Partners LLC, said in an e-mail. “There have also been so many weird things going on with algorithm-driven trading that it’s almost impossible to tell exactly what may have happened.”

SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd. said today it has started an investigation in the oil services company over possible breaches of rules governing the disclosure of management transactions.

While the stock may have declined earlier on the report of the Swiss exchange probe, “as the day went along, people realized it was not really new news and a buyer stepped in,” Stephen Gengaro, a New York-based analyst at Stern Agee & Leach Inc., said by e-mail.

Trading today came amid the expiration of equity futures and options contracts, a process known as quadruple witching, and S&P’s quarterly index rebalancing. About 8.4 billion shares changed hands, 37 percent more than the three-month daily average.

Geneva-based Weatherford rallied 54 cents to $13.54 in New York trading today after earlier falling as much as 3.1 percent. About 42.3 million shares of the company changed hands, more than triple the three-month average.

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