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Schorsch's stock rising

Shares of company nontraded REIT czar is using to build a B-D empire have more than doubled since beginning of December

Mar 17, 2014 @ 11:04 am

By Bruce Kelly

Shares of RCS Capital Corp., the company that nontraded REIT czar Nicholas Schorsch is using to build an independent-broker-dealer empire, have doubled in the past three and a half months on above-average trading volume

RCAP shares hit new highs Monday afternoon, reaching $32.21 a share, up from $15.99 a share on Dec. 2.

Although no one professes to know exactly why the stock price is soaring, a lot has happened to RCS since the start of December. Most notably, the company said in January that it intended to buy Cetera Financial Group for $1.15 billion.

Since June, RCS and its related companies have closed or announced deals for five broker-dealer holding companies with close to 9,000 registered representatives and investment advisers.

Indeed, the stock is making its move as the independent-broker-dealer marketplace wonders what is next for Mr. Schorsch. Although he has continued to add to RCS' offerings, most notably with the recent hiring of two top due-diligence analysts, he has made no further announcement of a broker-dealer acquisition.

Many in the industry expect that Mr. Schorsch isn't done shopping, and the stock has been on a tear. On March 10, shares were trading at $23.59 a share, and by Friday's close, they were at $31.72, a one-week increase of 34.5%.

Impressively, RCS made that climb as the rest of the market suffered the jitters with investors worried about political turmoil in Ukraine. The S&P 500 was down last week 2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 2.4%.

Volume has also been up sharply. The last week of February saw an average daily volume of 28,100.

For the week ended March 7, RCS saw an average volume of 42,600 shares trading per day. For the week ended March 14, the company had an average daily volume of 153,000 shares trading hands per day.

As of 1:30 p.m. Monday, close to 77,000 shares of RCAP had already traded hands.

Out of the 26.5 million outstanding shares, just 2.45 million, or less than 10%, are available for trading. Insiders own about 60% of the outstanding shares.

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