Woodford contagion reaches AIM as several firms backed by fund manager see hefty share price slides
The big news in the markets this week has been the fall from grace of superstar stock picker Neil Woodford, who on Monday said he had suspended trading in his Woodford Equity Income Fund for at least 28 days after a slew of investors started to pull their cash.
There has also been collateral damage in the junior market, with several AIM-listed firms backed by Woodford suffering hefty share price slides in the week.
These include pharma firm Circassia, which dropped 9.3 per cent to 20p in the week, as well as mattress maker Eve Sleep, down 9.5 per cent at 5.9p, and lorry group Eddie Stobart, which slumped 9.7 per cent to 74.5p.
Woodford was a significant shareholder in each of these firms, with his funds holding stakes of 27.8 per cent, 46.8 per cent, and 25 per cent respectively.
Bad night sleep: Mattress maker Eve Sleep, backed by Woodford, has seen shares fall by 10%
Elsewhere during the week, pharmaceutical firm Motif Bio lost nearly two thirds of its value, plunging 60.3 per cent to 3.5p after the US drug regulator encouraged the company to carry out another trial on its iclaprim antibiotic to assuage concerns over possible liver toxicity.
In an update on Thursday the firm said that it had requested a meeting with the Food & Drug Administration to discuss the design of a fresh clinical evaluation, including the appropriate patient population.
The company has already completed a phase III trial for iclaprim, which is being designed to treat acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections.
While another clinical trial is unlikely to cause issues, Motif’s investors may have been spooked by the prospect of an equity raise as the company looks for ways to fund itself past September.
Investors were also evaluating the performance of Scapa after the adhesive products group said it was assessing the profitability implications from the termination of a supply agreement with colostomy bag maker ConvaTec, with the shares crashing 45 per cent to 162.6p in response.
Surgical Innovations Group got a scalping after a Brexit-inspired profit warning sent its shares plunging 33 per cent to 2.8p.
Pharmaceutical firm Motif Bio lost nearly two thirds of its value this week
Meanwhile, levelling machinery specialist Somero was underwater, with the shares sinking 22.7 per cent to 280p after record rainfall across the US in the first part of 2019 dampened its performance, resulting in an earnings warning for the full year.
Miner Ironveld was looking distinctly rusty after tumbling 33 per cent to 1p on the back of news that discussions with a potential commercial off-take partner for its project at the Bushveld Complex in South Africa had collapsed.
The AIM All-Share was down 2.4 per cent at 937.3 during the week while the FTSE 100 was up 2.1 per cent at 7,312.8.
In the risers, gold explorer KEFI Minerals shot up 37 per cent to 2p in the week after the National Bank of Ethiopia approved a financing package for the company’s Tulu Kapi project in the west of the country.
Mass spectrometer maker Microsaic spun 24.5 per cent higher to 1.7p after inking a distribution agreement with South Korean life science and analytical equipment firm CM Corp.
Renalytix AI climbed 26.2 per cent to 255p after some positive findings from a kidney transplant study which showed that the company’s FractalDx portfolio technology could accurately predict early acute kidney rejection in transplant patients.
The data also suggested that FractalDx could be used to mitigate toxic side effects and damage to transplanted kidney’s from immunosuppression therapy.
Elsewhere, shares in Pay-TV group Amino were given a boost jumping 14.5 per cent to 106.5p after a well-received trading update that said it was making good progress with a transformation plan.
Housebuilder Inland Homes rose 9.3 per cent to 62p following news that local authorities had passed a resolution to grant planning permission for its flagship project in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
There was also some sparkle from Jubilee Metals, which surged 16.8 per cent to 3.3p after the platinum miner laid out plans to increase production capacity at its operations in South Africa.