February Winners Column: Wannabe virus fighters ride high in a rough month for stocks
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In February, mounting coronavirus-led uncertainty finally culminated in a late-month share price bloodbath.
After a 3 per cent gain in January, the S&P/ASX Emerging Companies Index – which gauges the health of the microcap sector – had plunged 12.3 per cent at the end of February to mid-2019 levels.
Of the sub-$500m market cap companies on our list, 256 went up, 1261 went down, and 140 stayed the same over the month. Ouch.
But there’s always winners in times of crisis.
Featuring heavily on our top 50 were our small cap contingent of potential coronavirus fighters, including any company that mentioned ‘hand sanitiser’:
And despite a late-month hiccup, gold explorers also performed well.
That’s not surprising, given that the precious metal is considered a safe haven asset in times of economic catastrophe.
Here’s the top 50 small caps for the month of February>>>
Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop
USCOM (ASX:UCM) +148%
Medtech Uscom is no bandwagoner. The tightly held cardiovascular and pulmonary medical device company is targeting global markets with its non-invasive tech.
In early February, it announced a “material increase” in orders from China, with some devices being specifically installed for the monitoring of hospital patients diagnosed with coronavirus.
Now the company says it is “approaching profitability”, driven in part by its rapidly expanding Chinese operations.
ZOONO GROUP (ASX:ZNO) +118%
Market Cap: ~$310m
New Zealand company Zoono (ASX:ZNO) makes anti-microbial sprays designed to kill germs and treat acne.
Sales have surged as the coronavirus epidemic/pandemic — and the fear of it — spreads, but the market darling was moving higher even before the first case of coronavirus was reported in China in December.
The stock has now run an incredible +3,315 per cent over the past six months.
HOLISTA COLLTECH (ASX:HCT) +70%
Market Cap: ~$41m
Holista CollTech is still up substantially, despite being forced to withdraw some claims it made in early February about its coronavirus fighting nasal sanitising balm.
The balm will use an ingredient called Path-Away, it declared, which has killed all previously tested coronavirus types as well as the AIDS virus.
The company has now retracted these statements “as a result of not technically complying with the level of disclosure required in accordance with the ASX Biotech Code, Code of best practice”.
BIOTRON (ASX:BIT) +50%
Market Cap: ~$84m
Biotron hit the big time in late 2018 with positive clinical trial data around an HIV cure, but hasn’t had much news to share with investors since.
On February 6, Biotron told investors that it had a “proprietary library” of different compounds used in the treatment of viral diseases, and is now assessing those compounds for applicability in tackling the current coronavirus outbreak directly.
Market Cap: ~$63m
Shares in the health and nutrition company – which made a $2.5m profit in FY19 — surged after it announced a “co-branding” arrangement with Zoono (ASX:ZNO) whereby it will import Zoono products to its facility in Xiamen, China.
Market Cap ~ $108 m
Aeris Environmental — not a health company — is also a coronavirus beneficiary after the Singapore National Environmental Agency (NEA) said its hospital-grade disinfectant had been added to a list of approved general products for virus disinfection.