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Royal Mail shares hit new high on first day of full trading

A pigeon flies past a Royal Mail post box outside Charing Cross station in central London, October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in Britain's Royal Mail (RMG.L) rose to more than 48 percent above their privatisation price on Tuesday, their first day of unconditional trading in London.

The government, which last week priced the hugely oversubscribed sale of the near 500-year-old company at 330 pence per share, has been accused of undervaluing one of Britain's biggest state sell-offs for decades.

The stock, which rose nearly 40 percent in conditional trading on Friday, hit a high of 490p on Tuesday. By 1049 GMT the shares were up 1 percent on the day at 479.4 pence.

Before Tuesday only institutional investors such as pension funds and those individual investors who ordered stock through a broker offering conditional trading were able to sell, not those who bought through the government's official website or by post.

A poll by YouGov over the weekend showed while opposition to the sale had fallen, with 56 percent believing it was wrong compared with 67 percent in July, 43 percent said they thought Royal Mail had been sold for less than it was worth.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents postal workers, is due to announce the result of a strike ballot on Wednesday. The earliest it could take action is October 23.

"We're confident our members will return a 'yes' vote in tomorrow's ballot result ... strengthening our position to secure a deal on protecting jobs, services and terms and conditions in the company," said Dave Ward, CWU deputy general secretary.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Greg Mahlich)