Small cap movers: Junior stocks post recovery stories after improved trading in June

The junior market saw a spate of recovery stories this week as the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns continued to ease, hinting that a V-shaped return to pre-pandemic levels could become a reality for some.


If so, they would be bucking the wider trend, according to the Office for National Statistics, which said 57% of companies expect turnover to drop this year.


While fallers made up the largest slice of the pie this week, there were some notable risers.


Zinc Media Group PLC (LON:ZIN) surged 41% to 60p after winning GBP2.7mln of new business since May.


The TV company resumed production faster than planned and now has more than 20 programmes in the pipeline, including Britain’s Lost Masterpieces for BBC4.


A different sector but same story: Immotion Group PLC (LON:IMMO) shot up 31% to 2p after the aquariums where it operates virtual reality experiences opened for business.


Meanwhile, marketing agency M&C Saatchi PLC (LON:SAA) jumped 26% to 56p after contract wins with TikTok, BP and the UK government.


Belvoir Group PLC’s (LON:BLV) shares rose 9% to 141p after it said it expects to hit its pre-lockdown targets.


Turning to the wider market, the AIM All-Share rose 0.6% to 889, recouping Thursday’s losses, while the FTSE 100 wallowed in the red with a 1.9% fall to 6,008.


Drug developer Diurnal PLC (LON:DNL) rose 57% to 47p after a positive meeting with the US regulator. The gains would have been more significant but for a bout of mild profit-taking.


Sticking with the drugs sector, Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS) surged 30% to 214p after submitting a patent application for the potential use of Foralumab administered nasally or by mouth for the treatment of COVID-19 either alone or in combination with other antiviral drugs. It also said the demerger of its StemPrintER unit was progressing to plan.


Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) rose 15% to 137p after its collaboration with Swiss giant Roche was expanded substantially, with it eyeing an increase in the value of the contract. Then on Friday, Oncimmune announced that The European Respiratory Journal – a leading lung disease-focused scientific publication and flagship journal of the European Respiratory Society – has published the peer-reviewed results from the Early detection of Cancer of the Lung Scotland (ECLS) trial.


Fellow pharma developer SkinBioTherapeutics PLC (LON:SBTX) advanced 12% to 22p after announcing its cosmetic skincare partnership with FTSE 100-listed specialty chemicals producer Croda is progressing well, while it is recruiting participants to study a separate food supplement for psoriasis patients.


In the mining sector, Cora Gold Limited (LON:CORA) soared 55% to 12p after revealing the discovery of a new 1,500-metre gold zone adjacent to its flagship Sanankoro Gold Project in Mali.


Similarly, Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) advanced 19% to 5p after flagging that the resource at its Salinbas project has increased in size by 50%.


Elsewhere, mass spectrometry instruments producer Microsaic Systems PLC (LON:MSYS) jumped 40% to 0.7p on the news it may be up for sale, although investors did not react well when it was first revealed.


Likewise, property manager HML Holdings plc (LON:HMLH) was up 24% to 36p after agreeing to a takeover offer from private firm BDB Nominee, valuing the company at GBP19mln.


Meanwhile, building services firm Bilby PLC (LON:BILB) climbed 26% to 22p after announcing net debt at the end of June was GBP7mln, the same levels as in March, despite disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


Among the fallers, oil and gas company Coro Energy PLC (LON:CORO) lost 18% to 0.3p after scrapping the sale of its Italian portfolio to Zenith Energy because regulatory approval could not be obtained before the July 31 deadline to conclude the deal.


Peer Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) slipped 17% to 0.5p after raising GBP475,000 by placing shares at a 17% discount to continue funding the Santa Cruz Sur project in Argentina.


Finally, miner Oracle Power shed 8% to 0.6p despite signing an initial agreement with the private office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family, to potentially explore mining opportunities in Africa.

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