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Buzz on the Bullboards: Healthcare Reigns, While Mining Falls


Omri Wallach Omri Wallach, Stockhouse
0 Comments| April 9, 2020

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Another week of the coronavirus pandemic, another week of the healthcare sector’s takeover of investor attention.

We've highlighted many stocks that have risen in price (and interest) because of their potential during the coronavirus pandemic, but last week marked the turn of the tide. At this point, coronavirus-related stocks aren't just rising in the Stockhouse ranks, they're topping them.

And as small-cap investors look for the current and hot plays to capitalize on during an uncertain market, other longer-term plays see less interest. On the Stockhouse Bullboards, that has resulted in the perennial favourite cannabis sector losing some ground, and the consistently attractive metals and mining sector falling behind other more exciting plays.

So who’s at the top this week, who’s new to the conversation, and who’s licking their chops? Let’s dive in and find out.

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The king is dead, long live the king? Last week, the top six most-viewed companies on the healthcare Bullboards nearly topped the entire site, but the peak position has continued to shift. Most recently, the honour has gone to StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:SZLS, Forum), a recurring face on the top stocks that has had a COVID-19 related resurgence. On Mar. 30, SZLS closed at $0.035, but a day later it had rocketed to $0.065.

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The jump comes from the early-detection cancer testing company announcing on Mar. 31 that it is ready and able to offer COVID-19 testing in the US and Canada. StageZero already engaged in discussions with both the FDA and Health Canada, as it operates a CLIA certified lab in Virginia that is qualified to perform the tests.


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Since then, it hasn’t followed up with an official announcement of approval or the start of tests, so the SZLS Bullboard has been busy trying to get the information on their own. For many faithful investors in the company, the news was seen as a great move, but with so much investor attention on COVID-19 testing, many wondered if StageZero would pull it off. One way to get information, since the company was still quiet, was to ask partnering labs directly. That’s what Stockhouse Member Nailbiter1 claimed they did, and the news was very promising.

“I just got off the phone with Phleb-Finders. They confirmed SZLS is the company that will be doing the blood test for Covid-19. There might be another company used for the swabs.
It should be on the go sometime this week. They are waiting for final approval from FDA on the EUA green light.
ArcPoint could not tell me because each franchise is independently owned and each make their own decisions for test carriers.”
(Po​st: Release the Kraken... Sometime this week)

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Despite the well-documented struggles of the sector, Oil & Gas has also been on the minds of many investors. One major reason – the recent crash of crude prices and company stocks, and increased talks of a potential OPEC+ deal soon to be inked, has many waiting for the right time to strike and buy in. That’s brought renewed attention on companies that haven’t usually gotten traction from small-cap investors, like Alberta-based MEG Energy Corp. (TSX:MEG, Forum).

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March has been a wild ride for MEG and other energy producers. Shares sat at $6.06 at the start of the month before the large drop on Mar. 9 to $2.48, eventually sinking as low as $1.22. In recent weeks, however, the sector and its shares have climbed, and on Apr. 8 MEG climbed back above $3.00. At first the lift was brought on by rising crude prices, but now it has been sustained by increasing talks of an upcoming deal for a production cut, spurred by US President Donald Trump himself.

Unfortunately, the MEG Bullboard is acutely aware that trading on the basis of the President’s word hasn’t been fruitful recently. Instead, users are looking elsewhere and everywhere to try and discern when (or if) Russia and Saudi Arabia will bury the hatchet and lift oil producers across the board. Some believe relief is around the corner, with all parties not able to take more economic suffering. Others, like Stockhouse Members Mineking66, see the situation worsening unless Russia and Saudi Arabia get more from the US itself.

This will be the first year in recorded history the world will use less oil than the year before.. By a huge drop. What bothers me is yes Meg is hedged out for a year..what about after that. Russians and Saudis will only make a deal if the U.S. agrees to cuts. How will Trump enforce that with over 5000 shale oil producers? US is 11 million a day now, or was.. Russians, Saudis want to bankrupt at least half of the shale producers. Suncor is still the safest bet in Canada being integrated..the insitues are speculation.
(Po​st: Historic times)

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Each week it seems that a different sector is struggling from the effects of the pandemic, but last week solidified for many that the Metals and Mining sector might be losing out the most. Consistently one of the highest-traffic sectors on the Stockhouse Bullboards, the shutting of exploration and mines as non-essential services in many places around the world has caused that interest to wane for the time being. Those that are still invested, however, are still seeing impressive gains from companies like Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (TSX:KL, Forum).

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After shares of KL fell alongside the market, from $47.33 on Mar. 4 to $31.81 on Mar. 13, the company has see-sawed higher and climbed back up to $47.13 on Apr. 8. Helping the cause was Kirkland Lake announcing on Mar. 18 a share repurchase and doubled quarterly dividend, but the kicker was a resurgence in gold prices. Despite the company announcing reduced operations in light of COVID-19, shares continued to climb.

Does that mean that KL is in the clear? Not exactly, as many on the company’s Bullboard wondered how the long-term effects of the reductions would play out. On one hand, Kirkland Lake was well positioned to do well given high gold prices, even during the current work precautions. Lower production and revenues are expected across the industry, so it’s more important that it stays above the curve. On the other hand, however, no one knows how long everything will play out and how much worse things can get. As Stockhouse Member bogfit pointed out, it will take a long time for everything to even out.

“…Now there will be many changes and when this virus is conquered we still have climate change to contend with, but looking at it from a metals/mining perspective we have the utterly unprecedented situation of drastically reduced global mine production. It is true that demand has also fallen and will remain muted for some time. However reports indicate that the Chinese economy is rebounding and manufacturing has ramped up. The question would seem to be how will these two factors manifest themselves and will a “tipping point” in a supply shortage be reached before the full resumption of trade…”
(Po​st: Tomorrow has never come before)

Despite the worsening overall situation with COVID-19, the markets have been performing relatively well. Investors had been debating not just how long the market downturn would last, but when everything would hit bottom and signal the best time to buy. Now, there’s another question on everyone’s mind: is this a temporary lull or are we in the clear? That’s shifted some answers on our ongoing homepage poll for the current investment strategy of Stockhouse Readers.

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But with tides continuing to shift, we’re going to leave the Investor Pulse Poll open for one more week to give more a chance to answer. We’re still far away from “normalcy” in the market, so the opportunity continues to exist for some interesting plays. Where is your head at? Head over to the Stockhouse homepage or click the image below to cast your vote on!


(Click image to go to the poll)

Heading into a long weekend, we will see one less trading day in the North American markets, but news around the world will continue to flow. For now, we hope everyone continues to stay safe, and healthy, and we’ll be back next week to report the latest trends from the markets and movements in the Stockhouse Bullboards. For previous editions of Buzz on the Bullboards: click here.


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