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LONDON (AP) Small shareholders in Royal Mail have the opportunity to cash in on the stock's spectacular stock market debut.

Royal Mail shares first soared on Friday, when trading began, though only for big institutions and investors who bought through brokers. On Tuesday, trading was opened to the general public. That allows small shareholders who bought stock through the government to sell their shares and pocket a near 50 percent windfall.

By midmorning Tuesday, Royal Mail shares were 2 percent higher at 484 pence. That's around 47 percent higher than the 330 pence the government initially priced the shares at.

The sharp rise has led some, particularly the opposition Labour Party, to argue that the government sold the near 500-year-old company too cheaply.