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Media barons dominate trade, Murdoch sells $10m in shares

MEDIA figures dominated directors' trades, with Rupert Murdoch and interests associated with Kerry Stokes accounting for more than half of the $29 million turnover.

Murdoch sold nearly $10 million of News non-voting shares, while Stokes' interests through Seven Media Group, topped up their stake in Seven West Media.

Seven West scrip has been weak for most of this year and not that long ago hit $1.07, compared with a year's $4.10 high.

The Stokes' buying was done at about $1.49 and yesterday the shares closed at $1.57.

Elsewhere, there was more buying of Boral shares.

Michael Kane, Eileen Doyle and Richard Longes bought in recent days, which means that six of the eight-member board have bought shares since the annual meeting.


Kane took the managing director's reins last month; he opened his account with the purchase of 10,000 shares.

Paul Rayner did the best of them, buying at $3.57, while the others paid up to $3.75. The scrip closed yesterday at $3.95, so they're nicely ahead of the game.

Among others buying shares after getting appointed to a board was Howard Mowlem who last month became a Billabong director.

A former numbers man at Dairy Farm International, Mowlem paid about 88¢ and now they're 94¢.

Recently John Borshoff sold $5.6 million of Paladin Energy scrip; another director, Donald Shumka, bought some shares. Chairman Rick Crabb, also a recent buyer, said at the annual meeting this week that ''from some quarters'' there had been some unfair commentary about Borshoff's sale.

''I note that this was the first time since inception of the company in 1994 that Mr Borshoff has parted with some of his shares, [it] was done for personal reasons and I am sure this does not at all change the confidence he has for the future of Paladin,'' he said.

Belinda Hutchinson, who heads the QBE Insurance board, pounced on some shares at $10.86; one month ago the scrip was $14.04.

Elsewhere, Flight Centre heavy Graham Turner sold shares as did managing director Robbie Cooke.