Investing.com – Hong Kong-based media publisher Next Digital Ltd. soared saw its shares soar on Thursday morning. It was the company’s first day of trading following the suspension of its shares more than a week ago after founder Jimmy Lai’s assets were frozen under Hong Kong’s national security law.
Next Digital (HK:0282) shares in Hong Kong were up 69.35% to HKD0.315 ($0.04058) by 13:44 AM ET (5:44 AM GMT). They opened the session 141.9% higher on the back of retail investors’ support for Lai and his publications.
“There are a lot of investors who are willing to speculate in this stock, it’s crazy,” Wealthy Securities managing director Louis Tse told Reuters.
“I don’t think the moves are based on any kind of financial fundaments for the stock.”
Next Digital’s shares were suspended on May 17, following Lai’s sentence to 14 months in prison the month before for participating in 2019’s social unrest.
Next Digital, the parent company of the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Daily publication, said on Wednesday that the company has enough cash for at least 18 months starting from April 1 without additional funding from Lai, who owns a 71.26% stake in the firm. The company also said it has HKD521.4 million ($67.17 million) in its unaudited bank and cash balances as of March 31.
The publisher also said on Wednesday that Hong Kong’s National Security Department had notified the company’s chief executive Cheung Kim Hung that Lai would be barred from dealing in assets, including shares in the listed company and bank accounts of three firms directly or indirectly wholly owned by Lai.
However, Next Digital said the notice will not affect its stock trading. “The board does not expect the issue of the notice to have an immediate negative effect on the financial situation or operations of the group,” said Cheung.