SMALL CAP MOVERS: AIM bounces back to pre-pandemic highs

The junior market has bounced back to its pre-pandemic highs, outperforming the big caps.

Both the AIM-All Share index and the FTSE 100 were up 1.8 per cent to 982 and 6,012 respectively this week, but while the former has topped February levels, the latter is still lagging 19 per cent behind.

The best-performing sectors were alternative energy, mining, leisure goods, pharma and retail, while the top three performers in the year-to-date have been Novacyt (up 4123 per cent) and Synairgen (up 2385 per cent) and B2B music services company 7Digital Group (up 1,036 per cent).

The AIM-All Share index has topped February levels, and the best-performing sectors were alternative energy, mining, leisure goods, pharma and retail

The AIM-All Share index has topped February levels, and the best-performing sectors were alternative energy, mining, leisure goods, pharma and retail

The AIM-All Share index has topped February levels, and the best-performing sectors were alternative energy, mining, leisure goods, pharma and retail

‘AIM has proved to be remarkably resilient and adaptable in the face of the turbulence affecting global stock markets and its impressive recovery has helped cushion investors from the worst impacts of the downturn,’ said Scott Knight, head of audit at City auditor BDO.

‘AIM companies haven’t always been popular among investors, but recent improvements in reporting and corporate governance have helped drive confidence and promoted the market’s role as an essential venue for investors looking to deploy risk capital.’

In the mining sector, Russia-focused Eurasia Mining has continued its good run this week, jumping 31 per cent to 35p.

Good is perhaps an understatement, considering the palladium miner was trading at 0.4p just a year ago. With the stock rocketing by an impressive 7,766 per cent, the company is now valued at £970million.

Mergers and acquisitions officer Dmitry Suschov and executive chairman Christian Schaffalitzky must have been delighted, considering their respective stakes of 16.88 per cent and 3.25 per cent in the firm. 

Their holdings are valued respectively at £162million and £31million at current market prices. 

A look at the shareholder register shows that 45million share options have been set aside for directors, while 85million have been earmarked for advisors and staff. Were they to vest today the combined option pot would be worth over £15million.

The junior market saw a flurry of oil and gas news during the week, perhaps signalling some return to activity after months of crisis.

Volga Gas advanced 10 per cent to 26p after unveiling the potentially significant discovery of a new oil field in Russia.

Also in Russia, PetroNeft Resources rose 8 per cent to 0.7p after flagging the mini oil refinery on Licence 61 is ahead of schedule.

US-focused Nostra Terra Oil & Gas Company added 8 per cent to 0.4p after stating drilling operations at the Pine Mills oil field will start in the coming weeks.

Moving against the trend, Petro Matad slipped 21 per cent to 2p after reporting delays for an exploitation licence in Mongolia due to reorganisation at the Asian country’s relevant ministry.

Deltic Energy shed 13 per cent to 0.9p after Independent Oil & Gas decided not to pull the trigger on a possible bid.

In the healthcare arena, 4D pharma tumbled 40 per cent to 98p after reporting what it described as positive top-line data from the phase II trial of its live biotherapeutic for irritable bowel syndrome. One suspects the results were not quite as positive as the market had been expecting.

Sticking with the sector, Oncimmune jumped 18 per cent to 171p after receiving UK funding to help develop a ‘comprehensive diagnostic tool’ for coronavirus.

Turning to ‘techies’, Minds + Machines dropped 20 per cent to 5p after commencing a formal investigation to determine whether certain revenue has been correctly recognised in 2019.

Undoubtedly the star performer of the week was Asiamet Resources soared 109 per cent to 4p after striking a $163.4million deal to sell its BKM Copper project to PT Wasesa Indo Nusa, a private Indonesian shell company.

In an acquisitions-rich week, freight management company Xpediator advanced 17 per cent to 26p after snapping up Yorkshire-based groupage freight firm Nidd Transport for £4.6million.

Inspiration Healthcare shot up 13 per cent to 68p after declaring its maiden interim dividend following a positive first-half performance, when trading was buoyed by sourcing ventilators in the UK for coronavirus patients.

Next week Fonix Mobile is floating on the junior market by placing 50million shares at 90p each to raise £45million. The mobile payments and messaging company, which has over 100 clients including ITV and the National Trust, is valued at £90million.

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