Unusually strong trading in the shares of a Brooklyn thrift has befuddled investors and analysts, prompting them to speculate that the institution is in play.

Since Jan. 12, daily trading volume in Bay Ridge Bancorp has soared to more than 1.2 million on three days. Its stock price, too, has jumped - to $16.75 a share at midday Tuesday, up 31.4% since Dec. 22.

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