One of the more outstanding stakebuilding events on the whole of the London stock market has to be HSBC’s ongoing love affair with Cuba to Slovenia natural resources group Ascent Resources (AST). Having got a funding round in the bag at the beginning of last month, a TR1 notification has now been released confirming that HSBC Bank is standing at 6% versus 5.5% previously. The shares were up 2% on the revelation.
Given the way that the AIM market was up 20%, even with most of 2020 blighted by the pandemic, it may be the case that for 2021 investors are going to be even more on the front foot as far as the minnows. This point was underlined once again at commercial stage pharmaceutical company, Shield Therapeutics (STX). The stock managed a second day in a row up 12%, after last week’s confession that the company has been unable to secure a commercial partner for Accrufer in the US. The benefit of doubt continued to be given by traders. This is even though normally when the wind has been taken out of the sails of a company in the way, (Shield will be looking for new funding of £25-£30m on a market cap of £72m) there can be a long period of re-grouping.
A highlight of recent days, is that despite the slow and incompetent vaccine rollout in the UK, stocks in the pharma and biotech space have returned to favour as it has become clear that the return to normality is going to require treatments, diagnostics and perhaps much more besides. Sentiment has certainly favoured Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS), with the latest driver to the company being the appointment of a high profile Chief Medical Officer, Dr Neil Graham. Shares of Tiziana have doubled in recent weeks, and added 16% on the latest news.
Another biotech returning to favour, which has pharma entrepreneur Gabriele Cerrone as the common denominator, is Okyo (OKYO), where he is also the Executive Chairman at Tiziana. Here, last weeks news that Cerrone is now a non-executive director at dry eye treatment group Okyo along with the appointment of a new CEO with a strong track record seems to have finally impacted the share price. Indeed, Okyo shares jumped 29%, with traders suggesting that “the seller is out.” That said, they normally say that to explain a strong price rise, or more usually to try and solicit a large share price rise.
Shares of Arc Minerals (ARCM) managed to rise 20%, off the back of the type of announcement most mining investors in minnows dream of. The company announced that it has received a formal notice from Anglo Exploration Zambia a.k.a Anglo American, that it is sufficiently satisfied to give notice to conduct negotiations in respect of a commercial transaction prior to the expiry of the extended exclusivity period of 180 days, commencing in January 2021. The shares gapping up to new one year highs and maintaining the gains suggested that there could be further momentum behind the stock.
Sticking with the mining space, and Oracle Power (ORCP), the international natural resources and power project developer, said that it has completed the processing and interpretation of the available magnetic and Induced Polarisation geophysical datasets across the Northern Zone Gold Project, located east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Holders of the shares are backing the idea that Oracle will partake in the same kind of success in Australia that several other companies from Greatland Gold (GGP) downwards have managed to achieve since the pandemic struck.
Tech stocks were represented once again on the stock market leaderboard with tech investor Pires (PIRI). Here the shares soared to 6 year highs at 12p, with the driver being the well received recent investment in Low6, a sports “gamification” platform. Given the opening up of the space, especially in the US, and the surge to online gaming since the pandemic, the run up to Low6’s IPO this year is being well anticipated with newsflow upcoming to match. Shares of Gunsynd (GUN), which also has a stake in Low6 rose by 6%.
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