Skip to main content

Your stock market edge

PM For PM?

Something most people of a certain age are aware of, is that it is rather easier to be an armchair observer of a situation, than an occupant of the role. One is reminded of this as it has been revealed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s popularity ratings have been as low or lower than his predecessor Liz Truss. For him, this is perhaps one of those situations where one could say, “be careful what you wish for.” The press is playing the game of who is next, at the moment, it is Penny Mordaunt, the stalking horse.

But what the party needs is not necessarily new personnel, but the correct policies. Ironically, what has been delivered over the past 14 years is not the logical centre ground, a compromise for all sides, but somehow, the worse of both Labour and Conservative. Big State / High Spending of Labour, and then all the stealth and loophole removing taxes and policies that money savvy Conservatives specialise in. The Conservative lobby of big business is always looking for cheap labour, something which of course explains the doubling of immigration numbers since Brexit, to maintain the cannon fodder lost from the EU. Even worse, if the Conservatives lose they will have lost through delivering Labour policies, and without having even touched their own meaningfully since 2010. All the while they have the label of being out of touch Tories, and delivering austerity.

Small Caps in 2024

So far the peak for the FTSE AIM All Share was the first session of the year, something which rather undermines the general tone in the City’s coffee houses that 2024 is better than the annus horribilis of last year. We are around 3% down. But this I suppose is still a party as compared to the bulk of the recent past, and unlike some who delight in the foibles and failures of small cap companies to make a crust, I go for the positive tack. This will perhaps not be easy in the next few months, as we will see more familiar names head for the exit / bite the dust in the small cap space, in order for a proper new bull market to start.


Leading the way with a litigation linked rebound this week was CAP-XX (CPX), with a 200% plus rise. This may sound great, but the stock is still down by three quarters since the beginning of the year. The company is also in the situation where it has left shareholders twiddling their thumbs waiting for financing news. Apart from a 500 quid punt, if you are trigger happy, this may be one to watch from the sidelines.


Another winner on the week, one which usually has a decent buzz attached to it, is Armadale Capital (ACP). It was interesting that the shares were up 45% in recent days, even though we have not had any official news from the company this month: the last we heard was an update on its Mahenge Liandu Project in Tanzania.


Keeping up the trend of stocks rising on no new news was plugin overdraft specialist Fiinu (BANK). The last we heard here was a cold water RNS in January, as the company said it knew of no reason for the then share price rise – a bugbear that I have given how ridiculous it is that a company listed on the stock market has to make excuses for people buying its shares.  But what we still know in March is that the company is well cashed up (Sharepad says £7m versus a £2.6m market cap). It could also easily attract someone who wished to stump up the money to apply for a banking license which would cost approximately £40m. Why it should cost so much is madness, especially as it is not as if the banks we have are anything to crow about after all the red tape / cost etc. BANK looks like a decent binary bet at current microcap levels, even if another cooling RNS is on its way.


One of the chosen few stocks also rising on no fresh news this week was Shuka Minerals (SKA). In fact, one would have thought that with the appointment of Quinton van der Burgh, CEO of Q Global Commodities, Limited as its Non-Executive Chairman and Board Director in November, as well as the presence of force of nature Jason Brewer, the Executive Director, shares of SKA would already be heading for the stratosphere. Instead, they managed a strong 22% rise, a month after announcing the settlement of a legacy dispute with Upendo Group.


It will be interesting to see whether the latest fundraise for fire safety group Zenova (ZED). On the face of it the latest £677,000 fundraise has come at the right time. The company has already announced a decent geographical expansion in 2024, with the latest icing on the cake being US extinguisher approval. As with all small cap companies, getting the deals and raising the cash it all very well, but it is doing enough on the execution side to get the cash in for shareholders which really counts.


In terms of the other juicy titbits of the week, it was great to see JP Morgan add to its stake in hVIVO (HVO), the CRO group. As I said on the day, this kind of stakebuilding is what takes a small cap up to being a blue chip. This kind of high profile stakebuilding was echoed at URA Holdings (URAH), as the emerald mine group received not one, but two badges of approval. The first was Premier Miton, and the second Mark Horrocks / Intrinsic Capital.

Power Metal / EARNZ

There was also the prospect of another spinoff coming from Power Metal (POW), in the form of Power Arabia. My comment on this was that it was good to see POW almost singlehandedly trying to repopulate the London stock market, in the wake of the alleged exodus or no shows by many companies. Also giving something back is Bob Holt of Mears Group fame. I bumped into him both at Master Investor, and at a presentation for EARNZ (EARN), which is the reboot of Verditek. This week revealed the appointment of Elizabeth Lake as NED, adding to Holt who is the Executive Chairman.