SMALL CAP MOVERS: Argo Blockchain lifted by Bitcoin surge

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Argo Blockchain has been one of the winners in the recent Bitcoin rally, having rocketed 218 per cent to 107p in the first week of trading in 2021.

The cryptocurrency miner, which started 2020 changing hands for 6p, broke records with trading volumes and new user numbers surging over 1,500 per cent and 500 per cent respectively between August and December.

Argo’s success mirrors that of Bitcoin itself, which surged to a new record high above $41,000 on Friday. Last March it was worth just $5,355.

Bitcoin surged to a new record high above $41,000 on Friday

Bitcoin surged to a new record high above $41,000 on Friday

Demand has been driven by corporates pursuing alternative asset allocation strategies, diversification by institutional investors, the emergence of dedicated funds, and interest generated by retail platforms such as Square and PayPal.

Noted investors Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones have led hedge fund buying of the digital currency, which has been dubbed ‘millennial gold’.

‘The long-term outlook for Bitcoin will remain bullish, although in the short term, the potential for profit-taking could result in a sharp correction,’ commented Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at ThinkMarkets.

Remaining in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, research and development company Online Blockchain and online wallet Mode Global have also been given a boost, soaring 67 per cent to 81p and 63 per cent to 70p respectively.

Returning to the ‘old economy’, oil stocks were lifted after crude prices, which touched 11-month highs due to a fall in US stockpiles and Saudi Arabia announcing it would cut output more than estimated.

Coro Energy zoomed up 53 per cent to 0.6p, Baron Oil shot up 43 per cent to 0.1p and Touchstone Exploration gushed 35 per cent higher to 169p.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM All-Share advanced 1.9 per cent to 1,179 this week, underperforming a 6.2 per cent surge by the FTSE 100 to 6,862, which is now at February levels.

Sticking to the risers, Remote Monitored Systems doubled to 2p after its Pharm 2 Farm subsidiary noted a face mask manufacturing machine was going to be delivered to its Nottingham facility this week, marking progress in the production process.

Gaming Realms motored 50 per cent higher to 32p after it was awarded a provisional iGaming supplier licence in the US so it can provide its Slingo Originals game content to online casino operators in Michigan.

Meanwhile, miner Arkle Resources rose 41 per cent to 1p after identifying gold-bearing vein outcrops at the Inishowen project in Ireland.

Elsewhere, Destiny Pharma advanced 37 per cent to 94p after completing recruitment for the trial of a drug candidate designed to prevent life-threatening infections after operations, with results expected in the first quarter this year.

Fellow pharma company RenalytixAI leapt 21 per cent to 589p on the back of a partnership with US healthcare provider Da Vita to improve health outcomes for adults with chronic kidney disease.

Remaining in the sector, Tiziana Life Sciences gained 16 per cent to 106p after completing trails on Covid-19 patients for its nasally-administered monoclonal antibody, Foralumab.

Retailer Shoe Zone was down 13% as lockdown news hit the high street

Retailer Shoe Zone was down 13% as lockdown news hit the high street

Among the fallers, Ridgecrest, formerly Nakama Group, slipped 18 per cent to 0.9p after becoming a cash shell following the disposal of its operating businesses to Sanderson Group.

Trans-Siberian Gold tumbled 16 per cent to 108p after two people died at an incident at its Asacha Gold mine in Russia.

Mining peer Vast Resources shed 15 per cent to 0.1p after a bank said it cannot approve an asset-backed debt facility unless the firm reviews its corporate structure.

Retailer Shoe Zone and bus operator Rotala were both down 13 per cent to 56p and 23p respectively, as lockdown news hit the high street and the transport sector.

Energy-from-waste technology firm EQTEC lost 12 per cent to 0.2p despite it secured a partnership with Greek construction group Nobilis Pro Energy to collaborate on projects in the European country.

Finally, joining the market soon will be Nightcap, which was established last year in the middle of the hospitality sector crisis to turn around struggling venues.

Once it’s admitted to the junior market, the firm will acquire The London Cocktail Club, which is an independent operator of 11 themed bars in the south of England.

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