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Digitext Stock Still Object of Puzzling Activity

September 09, 1986|ALAN GOLDSTEIN | Times Staff Writer

The unexplained heavy trading and rapid price rise in Digitext stock continued over the past week.

The stock closed Monday at $7 a share, unchanged from Friday but up $3.12 1/2 from its close on Aug. 28, the day before the company disclosed that it is negotiating with an equipment manufacturer interested in marketing its products.

Monday's trading volume was 45,000 shares. Over the past five days of market activity, the trading volume was 306,900, equivalent to nearly 26% of the company's outstanding common stock. During the same period, the stock has risen $1.75.

Officials for the Thousand Oaks company, which sells systems for entering text into computers by a shorthand method, said they have been unable to account for the stock activity.

The Aug. 29 news release was made hours after the National Assn. of Securities Dealers, a regulatory organization, asked the company about the stock run-up that began earlier in the day. Digitext's president and chief executive, Lawrence West Melquoind, said Monday that the company has not received any more calls from regulators.

Melquoind said he still doesn't know what spurred the stock activity but speculated that it might have been triggered by the company's talks with the equipment manufacturer. He also has said that investors may be anticipating news from the company's annual meeting Sept. 25.

"I assume everyone's anticipating successful negotiations," he said.

Founded in 1983, Digitext went public Feb. 27, offering 1.4 million shares at $4.25 each. The stock rose to $6.25 by the end of the day and stayed mostly between $7 and $8 before falling in June.

Digitext has never made a profit, losing $689,352 in its first quarter ended June 30 despite a 155% rise in revenue, to $103,874.

Digitext's $14,500 systems, which include a keyboard and software, are intended for companies that need to enter large volumes of information into computers. The company also sees court reporters as potential users.

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