Junior mining companies lead 6-month stock sweepstakes

Junior mining companies lead 6-month stock sweepstakes

Investors looking to turn a profit on Ottawa-based companies during the first six months of 2006 would have been wise to shun the big technology names and focus on small-cap mining stocks.

Northern Shield Resources, which trades on the Venture Exchange, was the best-performing Ottawa stock in the six-month period ended June 30, soaring 173 per cent to 82 cents a share. The stock opened in January at 30 cents a share.

Four of the top five spots in the rankings of companies tracked by the Ottawa Business Journalwere held by junior mining companies. Ur-Energy is up 96 per cent, Patrician Diamonds has risen 91 per cent, and Phoenix Matachewan Mines is up 81 per cent. Software maker In-Touch Survey Systems rounds out the top five, with a gain of 69 per cent since January.

Among the larger high tech companies, Tundra Semiconductor ranked 13th with a gain of 14.5 per cent, and MOSAID Technologies was 16th, with a gain of 6.7 per cent since the start of the year.

Long-suffering shareholders in Zarlink Semiconductor have seen a gain of 2.5 per cent since Jan. 1.

Only 27 of the 57 companies tracked by Ottawa Business Journal rewarded shareholders with a gain in share price during the first six months of the year. Many companies saw their share prices tumble beginning in mid-May, when North American markets fell sharply on fears of higher interest rates and the collapse of some commodity prices.

Several well-known Ottawa-based companies have disappointed their shareholders, posting large declines in the stock price.

The biggest disappointment is probably Nortel Networks. Its well-publicized accounting and regulatory problems and disappointing financial results have sent the shares down 30 per cent to $2.48 on June 30.

Cognos, caught up in a Securities and Exchange Commission review of its accounting methods, has shed 22.5 per cent of its share price since January.

Other big names in the loser’s column include Calian Technology, down 1.4 per cent; Corel, down 25.5 per cent since its initial public offering in April; and March Networks, down 26.9 per cent as analysts await an increase in sales.

Top 10 stock market gainers, to June 30/06:

Northern Shield Resources 173.3%

Ur-Energy 96.5%

Patrician Diamonds 91.7%

Phoenix Matachewan Mines 81.3%

In-Touch Survey 69.2%

Blue Fyre One 48.0%

Kinbauri Gold 38.5%

C-Com Satellite 26.7%

Allen-Vanguard 22.5%

PMC-Sierra 21.9%

Share this post