It looks as though while we may only be at the beginning of the end of the pandemic, the small caps area is looking forward to better times. However, one of the larger companies which should have been a winner through the COVD-19 nightmare, Vodafone (VOD) was in focus in the wake of its return to service revenue growth and the reiteration of FY21 guidance. This was not exactly surprising, given the way that the telecoms operator noted the strong demand for high-speed connectivity, no doubt helped by the work from home revolution. When you add in the prospect of a 6% dividend, and a potential unwind of the not inconsiderable short position in the stock, and the shares could be set for a purple patch according to seasoned traders. Vodafone shares were up nearly 6%.
Pharma services group Open Orphan (ORPH) was back in focus, off the back of the latest news from the company. Here it was revealed that the company has nearly doubled its quarantine clinic bed capacity, with a new 19 bed facility in Whitechapel close to the existing QMB one. The kicker here was the way that the addition was funded by a client, keen to get on with its challenge studies. Investors were pointing to the way that each new bed can generate up to £2m a year in revenue, something which clearly is significant in the current pandemic environment, and is likely to be so for the foreseeable future. Shares of Open Orphan rose 3%, in the run up to an investor webinar after the market close which touched upon aspects such as a possible new human challenge study site, discussions with Chinese pharma companies, and the possible monetisation of non-core assets.
Share price spike of the day was offered up by GSTechnologies (GST), the integrated information and communication technology infrastructure solutions provider. The stock rose 48% off the back of the establishment of a new wholly owned subsidiary in the UK, GS Fintech as the first stage in the Company’s planned establishment of a blockchain focussed business unit. That said, it was interesting that the shares still closed well off the best levels of last month through 1.55p, something which may allow the possibility for further near term upside.
Shell situation of the day came in the form of Sabien Technologies (SNT), where the Executive Chairman, Richard Parris had his chequebook out to the tune of £450,000 at a price of 0.1075p, and a 115% premium to January’s convertible unsecured loan notes issue at 0.05p. Given the way that the company has promised to focus on the development of disruptive green energy technologies – a hot area in the market, the Chairman’s backing more than explained the 25% rise in the share price of Sabien.
It has already been a busy week for Edtech group Dev Clever (DEV). Hot on the heels of an announcement the previous day with One Nine Two Pte to raise up to £10.0m in two tranches, the company served up its trading statement. Most notable here was the revelation that Q1 revenue so far this financial year is matching that achieved in the whole of the previous financial year. Investors can now look to the impending launch in India and ongoing rollout initiatives with Lenovo for the rest of 2021. Shares of Dev Clever celebrated with a fresh closing high of 23.8p.
Another company which has been in frequent focus of late has been Xtract Resources (XTR). With updates on the Eureka copper-gold deposit in Zambia. A follow up drilling programme of approximately 1,600m is planned to test Eureka after earlier exploration indicated that the deposit may extend along strike to the north-west for at least a further 100m to over 300m length in total. The potential is to define a copper resource sufficient to support an open pit mining operation for a minimum of 3 years. Over at Xtract’s Bushranger Project in Australia, it said that drilling in hole BRDD-21-002 has continued to a current depth of 798.5m, beyond the original planned depth of 750m at the copper-gold project. Shares of Xtract added another 9%.
While some of the Reddit army’s short squeeze mania has faded, it did seem to be the case that there was short covering / overhang clearing detected by traders in Canadian Overseas Petroleum (COPL). Here the stock was up 11%, to close at 0.245p. Most notably the shares have remained well above the December £6m placing price at 0.2p for the whole of the intervening period. Thus Canadian Overseas has obeyed the useful rule of thumb regarding funding where the shares remain at or above the placing price in the most bullish of situations. Given that we are in the run up to the completion of the well received Atomic Energy deal later this month, investors in the have a pleasingly tight timeframe to focus on currently at the oil and gas group.
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