In the next month or so we shall be treated to firstly Master Investor on April 15, and then the UK Investor Show on May 13th. I have usually attended one or both, over the past twenty years, and on occasion attempted to present some words of wisdom as well. This year it will be particularly interesting to hear what investors have to say face to face, after what has been one of the more difficult periods in the stock market. We have had to negotiate Ukraine, inflation, energy bills, interest rates, and worst of all, the media gloom and doom they bring.
However, there is a positive angle to “bear market” conditions. In a bull market, while you may be able to successfully throw a dart at the back of the Financial Times and hit a winner, these days the wheat should normally be easy to see versus the chaff. It is also the case that if a stock can recover against such a negative back drop, swimming through treacle, it has to be taken seriously.
Indeed, one can class this year’s winners to date, up to the end of the first quarter, as a mix recovery plays boosted by clear good news. The one of the moment has been Celadon (CEL) where the update to its Home Office license was not only seen as a true inflection point, it clearly bought investors to the medical cannabis space in a serious way for the first time. A decent recovery and similar thinking helped Ananda (ANA) after its latest acquisition.
Vast Resources (VAST) may have got lucky with its historic diamond parcel release. but given how many companies have been unlucky with the fundamental backdrop of late, one has to say that it all counts. The shares have tripled since the start of the year, and the fundraise that the company did in the wake of hitting the jackpot in Zimbabwe should steer the rest of the business in a decent way.
Other stocks which have managed to go against the grain and / or sentiment include Chill Brands (CHLL). One has to admire the tenacity here of a company which was written off by many (admittedly mostly the bears) and has nevertheless pushed forward with its plans. This point was underlined only last week with the launch of a new range of nicotine-free vapour products.
There have also been stocks which have finally turned higher, where one would suggest that it has been the dynamic of the shareholder register which has finally turned the shares around. For instance, at Cizzle (CIZ), the breakthrough news here was as long ago as November, with the clinical study for lung cancer detection in China. But it still took going to a new low in December, before the big breakout through 2p occurred at the end of February.
In fact, it can be said that the story of the Q1 recovery plays this year may be giving us a clue as to the potential risers for the rest of the year. The pattern has typically been of a persistent share price fall to a level where even those who fully believe the fundamentals are ready to throw in the towel. Saietta (SED) has managed to more than double from its lows, to reach 44p by the end of the week. However, the shares were trading near 80p in December.
Earlier in a potential recovery, we have names such as Tungsten West (TUN), Technology Minerals (TM1), and Abingdon Health (ABDX), which have started the climb not so much a wall of worry, but a wall of negative sentiment. For the small cap area to seriously rebound, we will have to see much more of stocks like this staging a comeback.
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