The Christmas season used to have a couple of great standout events, apart from the Queen’s Speech and the New Year’s Honours List. The other two were Top of the Pops, and for more devoted music aficionados, the Festive Fifty courtesy of John Peel.
The Stocks of the Year 2020 is clearly less salubrious than the above, especially when related to some companies on the AIM market but can nevertheless be quite entertaining in its own right. Perhaps more importantly, one can use hindsight to provide insight into what stocks maybe tomorrow’s winners. Indeed, after 2020’s Top 20, I will be looking at the top 20 contenders for 2021. For that, I am happy to open the field to anyone who wishes to get in touch and distil the best ideas. I am also happy to stand corrected on the list below. Also, those companies not in this year’s top 20 can still make the grade in the top 20 for 2021 which is due for completion around the last week of the year.
Top 20 of 2020 Criteria:
- Share price performance: Clearly it would be tempting to just list the top risers of the year. This is clearly going to weigh heavily in the list. But just as Mr Market does not always get it right, share price alone is only going to be one factor in the top 20 list.
- The Company: This is a rather broad brush including the aptitude and presentation of the management, PR, IR, the business model, and of course cash generation.
- Market Perception: while this may sound a little like an overlap on PR/IR, it is intended to cover that magic ingredient which can cause some companies with just a dream to multi-bag, and others who are going great guns to be side-lined. Related to this are the companies who are attacked by shorters with no just cause, or successfully ramped while running on fumes. Finally, there is the luck factor. Bad luck is in hospitality in 2020, good luck being renewable. Of course, there is the cliché that the harder you work, the luckier you get.
The Top 20 from 14 to number 10: 2020
14) Alien Metals (UFO): On Another Planet
It can very often be said that interviews are the window on a company, and if the right chord is struck can be transformational. This came through via CEO and Technical Director Bill Brodie Good, as his message that Alien Metals will be an aggressive mining sector portfolio builder not only came through as 2020 progressed, but was seen to be a strategy which was taking off as quickly as the share price. As the year came to a close the company with one of the wittiest ticker codes around said it was continuing to develop its projects in Mexico and Western Australia and continues to develop its exciting portfolio in the iron ore, silver and copper commodities. It was clear that under Brodie Good’s stewardship the Alien is both nimble enough and with sufficient bandwidth to grab fresh opportunities when they arise.
13) Galileo Resources (GLR): Positive Trajectory
One of the Colin Bird stable of companies who have benefited from the improvement in sentiment and prices in the mining sector, 2020 was the year when all the hard work and persistence started to pay off. Highlights apart from a 5 bagger move from the March lows included the acquisition of Crocus’s copper exploration assets in Botswana in May, the commencement of exploration programs on its Kalahari Copper Belt licences in August, and buying of 100% of Africibum and its interests in the North East Kalahari Copper Belt project in Botswana. Of course, all of this happened in the run up to copper arguably being one of the hottest metals around as the EV and clean tech emerged as the buzzwords of the year. Away from copper, Galileo said in November that it had signed a marketing agreement with Zopco in relation to the potential sale of zinc willemite ore from the group’s 95% owned Star Zinc project in Zambia.
12) Power Metal Resources (POW): PR Hyperdrive
Although it may seem that metals explorer and development group Power Metal produces more PR and IR than both Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton combined, it seems to be the case that such an impression is erroneous. Nevertheless, CEO Paul Johnson is certainly in the “force of nature” category in terms of building the momentum behind the Power Metal. This is not least in terms of his recent stakebuilding up to the 7% level. Among the many highlights from the company in the recent past was a Drilling Progress Update from the Botswana Molopo Farms Complex which is targeting prospective “massive” nickel sulphide and platinum-group metal mineralisation. To end the year Power Metal started its exploration battle at the Alamo Gold Project in in Arizona where geological mapping has identified conglomerate units which are prospective for hosting coarse gold.
11) Pensana Rare Earths (PRE): Fortune Favours A Brave IPO
Of course, at the end of 2020 we now know that rare earths are the new rock and roll – or at least one of them, in the stock market, something which Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) and others have underlined this autumn. But back in July being the first UK IPO post COVID-19 might have had some in the brace position regarding what the stock market reaction might be. However, having already been listed on the ASX clearly provided stability to the cause, and the stock has soared from an equivalent £33m versus the Australian listed market price to near £150m now. When you add in the way that Chairman Paul Atherley appears to have transformed himself in Clark Kent fashion since taking up the post, and that we are in the run up to Saltend Chemicals Park in Humber as the proposed site to build the U.K.’s first rare earth processing facility, there is plenty to look forward to. Not least Pensana being the world’s first fully sustainable magnet metal supply chain, from mining to production, or as they say these days, “vertically integrated.”
Join us when we publish part 3, as the countdown continues towards the top five for 2020.
(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Share Talk.)
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