The dream of every investor is to stumble on the golden undiscovered company just before it rockets in value.
And while the coronavirus has been tumultuous for markets, it has also turned a slew of obscure companies into stock market darlings in months – or even weeks.
None more so than Novacyt, a France-based biotechnology company whose Primerdesign outpost in Southampton designed one of the first Covid tests in January and is now supplying the world with kits.
Shares in Covid test supplier Novacyt, which bought Primerdesign for £12.4m in 2016, rose another 5.1 per cent, or 58p, to 1194p, bringing its rise in 2020 to a meteoric 9,085 per cent
An investor with £1,000 of shares in Novacyt at the start of the year would now have nearly £92,000. Someone with a £10,000 holding would have close to £1million.
Shares in AIM-listed Novacyt, which bought Primerdesign for £12.4million in 2016, rose another 5.1 per cent, or 58p, to 1194p, bringing its rise in 2020 to a meteoric 9,085 per cent.
Worth more than £773million, it could now comfortably sit in the FTSE 250 index if it were listed on the main market. Elsewhere, car dealer Pendragon added to a recent, albeit more modest, rally.
Stock Watch – Braveheart Investment Group
Braveheart Investment Group rose after a company it invests in developed a face mask that kills Covid-19.
Pharm2Farm’s mask is set to go on sale by the end of the year, by which time it is also due to have a production line making 5m masks a month.
The textile coating, which embeds virucidal nanoparticles, has a ‘kill rate’ of over 80 per cent for up to seven hours.
AIM-listed Braveheart, which is selling most of its stake in Pharm2Farm in November, rose 6.1 per cent, or 2p, to 35p.
Its stock climbed for a second day, rising 22.8 per cent, or 2.96p, to 15.96p, after reporting on Thursday that it had made back almost all its first-half losses in the third quarter.
Shares have now doubled since starting the month at just over 7p and are up almost 23 per cent from the start of the year.
The wider stock market also ended the week on a high.
The FTSE 100 closed 1.3 per cent higher, up by 74.63 points, at 5860.28, after getting a boost from banks and oil stocks, while the FTSE 250 rose 1.2 per cent, or 215.15 points, to 18109.57.
Crude oil prices rose to almost $42.50 a barrel, lifting Royal Dutch Shell 2.8 per cent, or 26p, to 940.6p and BP by 2 per cent, or 4.1p, to 205.5p.
Ailing travel groups Tui and Easyjet were bolstered by the news that the UK has added the Canary Islands, Denmark, the Greek island Mykonos and the Maldives to its roster of travel corridor-friendly holiday destinations from tomorrow.
Tui finished 5.4 per cent higher, up by 16.4p, to 322.9p, while budget carrier Easyjet jumped 2.6 per cent, or 13.8p, to reach 548.4p.
Utility firm Pennon has more than tripled its stable of individual shareholders after offering customers the chance to receive two shares in the company or £20 off their bill.
About 50,000 people – 6 per cent of its customer base – opted to take shares in the water giant, which is handing back £20million to customers following a solid financial performance at South West Water.
If the division keeps outperforming, even more will be returned to customers, according to boss Susan Davy. Pennon rose 0.6 per cent, or 6p, to 1023p.
Over on the mid-cap index, spread betters Plus 500 and IG Group made gains while CMC Markets fell slightly after they welcomed the announcement of curbs in Australia next year that will cap the amount of money customers can lose when making certain types of trades.
IG (up 0.5 per cent, or 4p, to 777p) said the new rules would not change its financial targets, while CMC (down 1.3 per cent, or 4p, to 333.5p) said it would not affect the current year’s performance.
Plus 500 (up 1.4 per cent, or 22p, to 1632p) has already accounted for the changes but said it will have to work out how much it will affect future years.
Liontrust Asset Management investors were undeterred by two bosses selling £1.6million shares between them.
Chief executive John Ions and finance head Vinay Abrol have each sold 66,250 shares for 1230p apiece. The fund manager’s stock rose 4.1 per cent, or 50p, to 1280p.