Argo Blockchain PLC lifted by Bitcoin hitting new highs

A look back at some of the more interesting stories from London’s junior market over the first week of 2021

() has been one of the winners in the recent Bitcoin rally, having rocketed 218% 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% and 500% respectively between August and December.

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

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 .

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 () and online wallet PLC ) have also been given a boost, soaring 67% to 81p and 63% to 70p respectively.

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

() zoomed up 53% to 0.6p, () shot 43% higher to 0.1p and () gushed 35% higher to 169p.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM All-Share advanced 1.9% to 1,179 this week, underperforming a 6.2% surge by the FTSE 100 to 6,862, with the blue-chip index back at February 2020 levels.

Sticking to the risers, () 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.

() motored 50% 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 () rose 41% to 1p after identifying gold-bearing vein outcrops at the Inishowen project in Ireland.

Elsewhere, () advanced 37% 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 medical company () leapt 21% 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, () gained 16% to 106p after completing trails on coronavirus (COVID-19) patients for its nasally-administered monoclonal antibody, Foralumab.

Among the fallers, Ridgecrest PLC (LON:RDGC), formerly Nakama Group, shed 18% to 0.9p after becoming a cash shell following the disposal of its operating businesses to .

PLC () tumbled 16% to 108p after two people died in an incident at its Asacha Gold mine in Russia.

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

Retailer () and buses operator PLC () were both down 13% to 56p and 23p respectively, as the new national lockdown hit the high street and the transport sector.

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

Finally, joining the market soon will be , 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.