ShareHub Hotlist 2018 Review – Week 5

Global markets slump. Huge fall on DOW 30. Markets hit by massive sell off. Just a few headlines grabbed from the usual market media channels. Panic Panic Panic? Well, not quite. Lets take a less dramatic and non sensationalist view at the DOW chart below:

Looking at the pre-santa rally trading range of 23500… all good there and still some 1800pts higher than the lower September numbers. Now, with traditional Santa rally periods, stocks rise into year end as all brokers and funds involved do their best to secure bonuses and year end numbers. A self-gratifying process. From late Nov to year end the DOW jumped to 24750. That’s now 3000pts higher than the previous quarter (Sept low). Historically, that’s a massive rise in a single quarter. Hence what follows from Jan 2nd through to 4th week in Jan is just ridiculous. A rise of another 2000pts added in just 3 weeks. So lets just discount the fluff and nonsense from the last 4 weeks and get back to 24500 level which incidentally is still some 2000pts above Aug/Sept levels. With that done, we are still in ‘happy days’ territory and the only thing lost on the DOW is some over exuberance and festive cheer trading. I noted last week that a 2500pt drop on the DOW was likely purely because there was no reason for it to rise that high in the first place. A correction has been expected for sometime but lets make it clear. The expectations for a correction started when the DOW was 21k and not 26.7k, hence, the DOW has plenty of steam or fluff to offload as yet. Dropping 1400pts in the last week is about 50% of the nonsense done. Another 1400pts would take the DOW down to around 24k level or just under. A move to 23k or 22k would just about return the index to levels last seen 6 months ago. Hardly a global slump is it!? But just imagine the headlines due should the DOW drop another 3000pts. Panic Panic Panic? Markets are casino’s. And volatility is good for the ‘house’. So prepare for more drops on the DOW. A simple correction to Q3 2017 levels is worthy of 4000pts drop alone and long overdue.

Moving onto Commodities. It’s a different picture entirely. Commods have been slow to correct higher and whilst the DOW might look frothy, the same cannot be said of Commodities. PoO has been rising strongly for the last 12 months. The compliance levels of OPEC has blown many doubters away and cost a few shorting Hedge funds a small fortune in the process. What’s more is that the usual mantra of higher prices equalling higher US production is nothing more than ‘fake news’. US shale production has yet to show signs of solid growth after the PoO downturn. Signs of growth returning are often represented by the US ‘OIL’ RIG COUNT which gives a decent indication of new drilling activity and is often a product of greater investment. So lets take a look at the ‘oil’ rig count chart below:

Well well well. Or perhaps not well well well. More like static well. The US Oil rig count stands today at exactly the same level it stood back in July 2017. Now the eye opener is the corresponding 6 month WTi chart below:

Now, if Crude rises from $42pb to test $67pb, in theory US oil rigs should be rising at a significant rate too. Afterall, $50pb+ is supposed to be the point whereby US Shale investment bounces back.

Based on the above, PoO 50% increase has delivered zero in terms of Oil rig count increases. So if anyone says US shale and investment is flooding back, just point them to these two charts which prove the opposite.

To put it into context, with PoO at $67pb, The US Rig count should actually be just shy of 1000 rigs today. So if US Oil rigs begin to rise from 765 to 800 over the next few weeks, that’s still negative compared to where they should be. Same applies to a rise to 900 rigs. But just like the recent media news channel headlines on the DOW’s frothy top slice, you can bet your bottom dollar that the headlines will read ‘SHALE bounces back’ when (or IF) the Oil Rig count numbers hit 800+. But that’s not the case at all. US shale has been ‘SLOW’ to recover in ‘OIL’ Rig count terms and if that rig count can’t rise substantially at $67pb, then it certainly isn’t going to rise too much with WTi at $57pb. Hence, any near term pull backs in PoO is actually bullish for PoO in the longer term. So don’t be surprised to see PoO in the $50’s at some point during 2018 albeit short lived I imagine. It’s certainly one to watch over the coming weeks and months as PoO continues to align with lower supply and higher demand.

Unfortunately, Markets tend to use a broad brush when dealing with equities. If the DOW tops off, then all indices wobble which is crazy and relatively unsophisticated in a world that is supposed to be ‘sophisiticated’. The Dollar’s previous weakness was certainly a benefit to miners so it’s fair to say that any corrections are valid based on the Dollar strengthening. Don’t mix that up with the DOW correcting.

Week 5 saw some ‘corrective’ action taking place. TheShareHub continues to lead the pack but has lost over 12% from a peak of 16% just a couple of weeks ago. That shows the ‘hefty’ broad brush applied across equities when in theory many of these stocks are making the same money 3 weeks ago as they are today. Nothing has changed for many commodity focused stocks on a simple earnings basis. Infact, many are earning more as debt reduces.

In summary, the DOW could shed over 3500pts and in theory it should not effect or relate to commodity stocks at all. That said, with ETF’s and trackers galore, algo bots, so on… it’s hard for sectors such as commodities to avoid the contagion that comes from a big market Index correction.


ShareHub Hotlist 2018 Review – Week 4

Another strong week for the broader Indices. The DOW and S&P seem on auto pilot as the Bots and Algo’s just keep on buying up those bluechips no matter what the dizzy heights. Of course, at some point the Algo’s will be switched to ‘sell mode’ and with a bit of help from the normal media channels, I suspect there will be a few ‘market crash’ headlines coming. The truth is… market commentators have been calling the market overbought for the last 12 months. The last 12 weeks have been nothing short of absurd for the DOW and S&P. Just because there is no bad news around does not mean you buy up equities regardless of price valuations. With the DOW testing 26650 recently, there’s every chance it could drop 2500pts and still look absolutely fine. Of course, a drop of 2500pts would have huge panic and wild swings thrown in which is probably why the VIX index is picking up recently after being flat for months. It’s the aggressive moves that shake the market and volatility is precisely what the hedge funds want. But the question that remains unanswered at this present time is whether commodities such as PoO and PoG will follow any market correction down? The irony is, PoO is looking more bullish by the day at a time when the broader market is looking more bearish. What would 2500pts off the DOW do for PoO or PoG? Well, I guess we’ll find out soon as the DOW is long overdue a corrective move. Whether this is temporary or more permanent is anyone’s guess at the moment. But if ‘bad’ news remains a rarity – then it would seem any pullback would simply be bought back into once the dust has settled. Historically, Gold has been a go-to safety haven when volatility returns and with crypto’s looking wobbly, Gold might be the strongest play around. Investors concerned over market corrections should look carefully at market trading volumes particularly on small cap equities. Small caps often correct or move in volatile patterns but it’s often the ‘volume’ indicator that gives the game away or suggests ‘fake’ moves. Light volume moves have relevance but are often weak indictors and can reverse swiftly.

Week 4 Review – Another decent week for TheShareHub 2018 picks. The 2017 picks are slipping back a little, suggesting that the 2018 rotation is delivering some benefits from fresh legs. January is notoriously a month of ups and downs as the start to the year is often excitable. Feb and March will provide better indicators to read/follow. Stocks of note are Cora Gold and SOLG. Both released decent news yet got no real gain out of it. SOLG is approaching ‘oversold’ so certainly one to watch closely. The market is beginning to show signs of a return to previous levels of ignorance or benign interest when it comes to exploration results. I suspect a bit of M&A in the sector is needed again before some excitement returns to these stocks. After a period of 3 to 4 years in the doldrums, it’s about time the mid tier and Super Majors got the cheque books out. There are plenty of resource heavy companies out there that are cheaper than cheap. And plenty of resource rich ‘producing’ companies too. It only takes a deal or two before the market attention sweeps through the rest of the sector. Stocks like Ophir, Premier Oil, Tullow, SOLG, AMER, Petrofac, Enquest, Faroe Petroluem, Hummingbird Resources… the list goes on… are all good buys for any company that has cash doing little at present or are short on reserves/resources. Interesting times ahead in 2018, just need the first piece of M&A to kick off and the rest should follow.

As per last week, the sharehub 2017 picks have been included as a comparison tool. The picks started the year 9.75% down and are 6.5% up in 2018. In future, the 2017 picks will be added every month rather than every week with the other 2 newspaper picks continuing to fight it out with the ShareHub 2018 picks and reported on a weekly basis.

Plenty of news catalysts worthy of discussion to follow across the top ten picks in the coming weeks as 2018 gets into its stride.

ShareHub Hotlist Review – Week 3

After an explosive start to 2018, it’s not surprising to see some cooling off. The optimism and foundation for the recent surge in commodities/equities was more down to the poor or lacklustre interest in 2017. Commodities are back in demand and there doesn’t appear to be any clear catalysts for a change in that positive direction. China manufacturing is strong, US growth looks relatively solid and the dollars weakness doesn’t look like changing path anytime soon. Last week saw the usual media channels citing concerns over US shales comeback. As yet there is nothing in the market what-so-ever to suggest US shale is returning to previous strengths. In fact, on Friday, the rig count showed another drop. Considering PoO has been in the high $50’s / low $60’s for some months now, the rig count should be surging higher. Instead, the numbers are roughly where they were when PoO was in the mid $40’s. So what’s going on here then? Seasonal drop off? Or a trend of reduced funding resulting in reduced rig hires? Another issue for the market to contemplate is the timeframes involved from getting rigs onsite to delivering production. US shale is normally quick to make a return but conversely, it’s also quick to deplete. So the question is…are future rig hires/production simply going to sustain production levels or increase them? The next 6 months should be provide the first real insight into US shales ability to plug the depletion rates and if possible increase production further. OPEC will be watching closely. And for the record – ignore the IEA and US API numbers. They are all over the place. Neither has a clue on what is around the corner and both would be just as successful making forecasts using the finger in the air technique. The Trump/Iranian issue will be addressed in a few months time and it may end up with heavy sanctions applied to Iran’s oil market. That by itself would be enough to support US shale’s come back while not denting the Saudi’s Aramco IPO ambitions.

Week 3 can be best summarised as a consolidation period. Many of the top picks cooled off. That said, TheShareHub 2018 picks held onto much of the 2018 gains and is roughly 4.5% better off than the 2017 picks benefitting (for now) from the Folio refresher. Stocks of note include Cora Gold, Premier Oil and Amerisur. All have provided strong news flow with the latter announcing infrastructure developments on the OBA line to Ecuador today. Assuming AMER can bolster production to 9k this year from their Platanillo field, the cash flows should be impressive going into the final quarter with such small overhead costs circa $15pb.

One disappointment thus far across the picks is SOLG. Stocks often pullback after long awaited news arrives. With SOLG, the early mine resource estimates were impressive but the feasibility study and commercial plan is what the market wants most. That said, the company is going all out to prove up the full resource and until that is finalised later this year, it’s hard to know exactly what commercial plan works best. My hunch is that an early (small) mine development could be the best option assuming the infrastructure can handle it. Bringing in cash flows and moving the company away from equity financed placings is undoubtedly the best way to bolster the share price. Adding resource also opens up the door to farm out possibilities but at an early stage these are usually valued at a low point. At 25p a share, SOLG certainly offers new investors a terrific entry point into a company with immense resources and a very active work programme. Fully funded to Q3/Q4 2018, SOLG should be trading in the 30’s and 40’s based on news flow to-date.

Finally, a special mention goes to CERP. Schroders can’t get enough of this stock and that’s one of best bullish signs you can look for on an AIM smallcap. There are not too many smallcaps out there being bought up by institutional investors in the open market. Great to see and testament to the new CERP management team and CEO Leo Koot in particular.

TheShareHUB top ten for 2018 leads with the 2017 picks also doing well. The latter started the year 9.75% down and is just shy of returning to positive ground.

DailyMail and Guardian picks are closely matched. Still very much early doors.

ShareHub Hotlist 2018 – Week 2 Review

The strong start to 2018 continues with commodity focused stocks doing well. Both PoO and PoG are key beneficiaries of the recent uncertainty surrounding Trump and Iran. Both appear to be under attack from the ‘inside’ and have their own issues to deal with. It’s these instabilities that make any ongoing dialogue regarding Iran’s nuclear agreement/sanction deal that much trickier. With Oil supplies shrinking fast due to OPEC’s recent moves, any US enforced Oil Export sanctions on Iran, could see PoO in the $80pb range. US shale has yet to prove it is ready to make a come back and last weeks rig count rise suggests it’s beginning to see renewed interest as PoO heads into the mid $60’s (wti).

Week 2 saw the ShareHub surge ahead with strong gains across the top ten picks. Notable winners were W Resources and Cora Gold. The latter delivered a very welcome update on current Drilling with sizable resource opportunities being identified. This will please Hummingbird Resources (34%+ interest in Cora) as Cora’s licence area is just a few klicks away from their Yanfolila Gold processing facilities. HUM currently have their own pool of resources to target within the Greater Yanfolila area but gaining potentially additional resources via a deal with Cora could push Yanfolila into the 10 year mine life threshold and help convince some doubters over the longevity of the Yanfolila facility. With PoG looking solid, Hummingbird is certainly looking cheap based on AISC’s of just $695oz. A rerating should arrive fairly soon for the stock although might take a few days/weeks yet to see out Pageant Holdings who appear to be rotating funds out and into Providence Resources.

Most of the discussion last year was all about ‘head scratching’ as the likes of Tullow, PMO and ENQ were left languishing at levels seen when PoO was in the $30’s. The market appears to have taken some notice at long last and as predicted, corrected the poorly valued stocks. It’s a shame this didn’t occur in 2017 but being cynical I imagine the bankers bonuses were already secured via the FTSE bluechips. Hence, with a fresh year ahead, what a great time to sector rotate and buy into the beaten up commodity sector. Timing is everything!

Week 2 positions below, along with a comparison to ShareHub picks for 2017. The latter started the year down 9.75% and has thus far put on a very healthy 14% gain in last 2 weeks. But even that falls short of the new 2018 picks which have already delivered a whopping 16% gain. It’s early days so no clear sign that the 2018 folio shake up has worked but one thing is certain… both have performed very well indeed. The newspaper picks are doing ok albeit driving in the slow lane. Roll on week 3.

ShareHub Hotlist 2018 – Week 1 Review

A short week due to the Bank Holiday and relatively quiet on volumes as many market participants had yet to return to their desks. For those that did bother to turn out, it was a very rewarding week. Major indices surged higher, commodities in demand (again) and market tones bullish across the board.

Unfortunately for TheShareHub 2017 picks, the commodity rally did not arrive early enough to erode losses. As one ShareHub reader observed… it’s a little unfair to base individual stock performances on a 12 month calendar year and instead stocks should be viewed over a 1 to 2 year or even 3 year period. That’s all fine and investors should not see the new year as catalyst to rotate all stocks out the folio. For the top ten picks competition, it is imperative that stocks are based on the new trading year – simply because that’s the challenge. Pick ten winners for 2017 and then do the same for 2018 and so on. For added interest, it’s an opportune period to toss out some underperformers and replace with some potentially more interesting plays which may have lower or higher risk attached and deliver lower or higher gains. The main point to any top ten picks or folio is to get a decent balance between some high growth prospects mixed with medium growth and then lower safer plays. Adding in one or two Gold Stocks is potentially a good hedge against traditional market volatility that can come after a period of continuous gains… like that seen on the DOW and DAX of late. Gold is often the go-to safety play when ‘things’ get a little less predictable or volatile, which makes Gold’s recent run up from 1220’s to 1320’s all that more interesting. When markets are punching out new highs and volatility is at lows, Gold would normally be left to drift lower, discarded like a kids toy which has lost its charm. So what’s driving Gold prices recently? Could some market players be taking positions ahead of some predictable volatility? With Brexit heading into the sharp end and Putin heading to the Polls in circa 12 weeks time, it’s probably not a bad idea to get some Gold hedges in place now rather than leave it too late. Historically, investors will trade Gold directly or trade it via exposure to Gold ETF’s or individual single lined Gold producing equities. For 2018, TheShareHub has picked out Hummingbird Resources and Cora Gold. Hummingbird Resources has recently moved from being an explorer/developer into being a producer. It’s early days in that respect so not unusual to see the market still applying a very low p/e to HUM. Once a few Gold sales are notched up, the earnings multiple should be nearer to industry based averages circa 5 or 10 x earnings. With a p/e near 2, Hummingbird clearly presents a great risk vs reward ratio for any investor looking to gain some exposure to Gold. At the other scale is Cora Gold. They have resources under their belts but need to get these proved up into ‘classified’ resources which can form a bases for a commercial development plan. Hummingbird currently own circa 34% of Cora Gold which makes it a double whammy for Hummingbird investors should the Cora Gold exploration phase go well. Results on the latter should be through in the next few weeks. The stand out point is that should Cora prove up strong resources, then Hummingbird/Cora can look to discuss ways in which the resources can be commercialised using Hummingbird’s Yanfolila processing facility. Both are certainly key stocks to watch in 2018.

Aside from Gold, Crude/Brent oil put in more gains after a strong end to 2017. Friday closed the week with two interesting events occuring which all PoO followers should pay attention to. First event was the official conversion of state owned Aramco into a ‘Joint-Stock’ company. This is a very significant step in the process towards the planned 5% Aramco IPO float which is pen’d in for later this year. Prior to this event, some doubts were circling on whether the Saudi’s would get this done or just walk away. London’s exchange (LSE) have already bent over backwards (literally) to tweak the rules so that Aramco can list on LSE exchange. The US is also flirting with the Saudi’s in hope they will bag the deal and elsewhere the Chinese are being very smart by getting their new Petro-Yuan launched which in effect unhinges the multiple decade long pegging of the US dollar to Crude. Changing of the guard? Possibly. But it will take sometime to see how this effects the US dollar and other Forex related trades. One thing is sure the Saudi’s will be mighty keen to see PoO steady in 2018 as ultimately any flotation will be dependent on market confidence as well as forward guidance.

The second event late on Friday was the US Rig count. PoO has been in the 60’s for a while now, yet against this higher PoO, US rig counts have actually dropped. Could this be seasonal? Or could this be the first sign that US shale investment is not as agreat as many would like us all to believe? Certainly one to keep an eye on as many Oil bears have said for a while now that higher PoO will simply result in higher US shale which in turn lowers PoO. The first part of 2018 should be quite telling as US data will be followed closely and for a change, the data should be fairly reliable as the majority of floating storage tankers have been docked and supplies long gone. Vitol and co will have to find the real black stuff direct from the market rather than relying on hidden supplies offshore to fudge the numbers.

Week 1 Review:

The Daily Mail (2017 champions) are back to defend their title. The only thing they struggled on in 2017 was finding 10 picks. Instead they opted for just 9. This year around, they’ve struggled again and have plumped for just 8 top picks. That’s not really in the spirit of the challenge and it’s a wonder with so many stocks out there – how can they fall short of picks? Perhaps they just fell short of stock pickers? This year, The Telegraph have been binned and replaced by The Guardian’s top ten picks. And as it’s the first week, picks from 2017 have been listed below for comparison just to see how the ‘rotation’ or ‘refreshed’ picks look.

TheShareHub top ten for 2017 put in the best performance rising roughly 9.25%. If the year was 53 weeks long, then the picks would be flat for the period. Not bad considering the picks were 24% down just a few weeks ago.

TheShareHub top ten for 2018 came in as the second best performer and tops the list for 2018 – but don’t get too excited… week 1 is notoriously strong. It’s what follows the weeks after that matters the most.

The Daily Mail top 8 (doesn’t sound right does it!) performed strongly again. It’s going to be a hard fought competion by the looks of things. The newboys… The Guardian top ten, delivered a decent 3%+ gain.

More coverage on individual stocks from TheShareHub 2018 list will be available as and when news floods in. If you want to stay up to the minute with updates, then use the side bar Email Subscription facility. You’ll need to confirm your email so please check your spam folders just in case the confirmation email is hidding away in there.

As a comparable – 2017 and 2018 picks below. The ShareHub 2017 picks ended week 52 9.75% down and by week 53 (or 1) is just 0.5% short of being positive.

Storming start to TheShareHub 2018 picks with a 7%+ gain.

Daily Mail 2017 picks finished the year 20.5% up and put in another 5%. 2018 picks performed slightly better with roughy a 6% gain.

And finally… the new boys


ShareHub Hotlist 2018 – Top ten picks

2017 was a terrific year for the major indices with most closing out at new all time highs. If there was a glass ceiling, I would say its been smashed. So what’s in store for 2018? Much of the same or a significant pull back? That’s the question on every investors lips. There are pro’s and con’s. The pro’s are that US growth is set to continue (apparently) aided by consumer spending driven from greater earnings via Trump’s US tax cuts. An alternative view is that the cash placed into richer individuals pockets will not actually make its way back into the economy but instead head straight into the stock market. The net result is the rich get richer, the markets go higher and the US economy puts in a moderate to unremarkable growth year. But that assumes upward momentum of course and with markets at all time highs, it’s far from straight forward. What happens if investors think markets are toppy and begin taking cash out rather than putting cash in? Where does the cash go? Crypto currencies? Or good old safe havens like metals such as GOLD. The last few weeks of the year have already seen the US dollar weaken which in turn bolsters Gold prices as well as other commodities. Trump has always wanted a weaker dollar to ensure US companies continue to attract business and investment. The truth is, the dollar needs to go quite a bit lower if US companies are to out compete the Chinese. This bodes well for commodities and assuming growth via China continues to deliver the necessary demand – 2018 should be another great year for the commodity sector.

So lets look at the potential money flows for 2018:

  1. Cryptocurrencies – In today’s markets anything is possible. That’s been proven by the huge rises in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I have no doubts that cryptocurrencies will be strong in the future but at present the volatility and toppy nature of Bitcoin should be enough to have investors avoiding like the plague. In late 2000, it was tech, and that bubble burst pretty quickly. After a decade or more, tech is finally delivering on some of the earlier promise. I believe Bitcoin will do much of the same.
  2. US stock markets – DOW and S&P are at all time highs. Investors may begin to become more cautious with investments in these indices especially if signs of  weaker US growth kick in early 2018. No one likes buying in at the top and every bull run has its day. Whilst there is no major catalyst for a sell off, it’s likely to be more volatile next year with some pullback on the DOW effecting markets cross the globe. It only takes a few bearish headlines and the DOW can be back at sub 20k in weeks. It wasn’t that long ago the major index looked fairly priced at 17k. Today’s near 25k level is asking more questions than the market has answers for. But that’s my view only and is not shared by all.
  3. Gold – Historically the go-to precious metal when all else is turning bearish. Should investors get spooked by corrections across the DOW or bubbles bursting across the Cryptocurrencies – Gold is likely to be extremely popular and crowded. If Bitcoin (in physical terms best described as ‘thin air’) can trade from $100 to $19,000 in no time, then I see no reason why a precious metal like Gold traded for thousands of years cannot move up from $1300oz to test new highs at $1800oz or more. That may not happen in 2018 but it’s hard to ignore the allure of the ‘physical’ when all else begins to turn to mush.
  4. Property/Housing and Debt in general – Without wanting to sound like a bear growling into a megaphone, the signs for a UK Housing bubble burst have been around for a year or two. Normally it begins with a wobble across the Pond and then soon follows across the UK. But supply / demand metrics are very different in the UK now and it’s the lack of supply which has kept prices and demand at near all time highs. Lower rates has created a new ‘affordability’ level which suits some but not all. Banks are still cautious on lending (but not cautious enough in my opinion) and with rates rising, this is likely to tighten further. Consumer debt is at all time highs, cheap car loans are being issued like gym subscriptions. Pay monthly or yearly, no deposit required but beware of the lock-in period! Overall, the signs suggest a period of ‘readjustment’ is required otherwise events last seen 9 years ago will be repeating themselves like an unwanted dose of hemorrhoids. With unknowns such as Brexit, weaker UK economy growth and inflation concerns, there’s every chance the pre Brexit Osborne prediction of an 18% housing correction is indeed on its way to a postcode near you, albeit 18 months late.

In conclusion, we have the following before us; Stock market all time highs = Bubble. Cryptocurrencies testing all time highs = Bubble. UK consumer debt nearing all time highs = Bubble. UK property near all time highs = Bubble. Any one with access to a box of pins please step away from the screen now! All we need now is the same RBS analyst to crop up in early 2018 and proclaim ‘Sell everything!!!!!’. The irony is – RBS got it so wrong I am half expecting them to be bullish on 2018. If that event unfolds, then you assume the opposite and start investing in self sustainable allotments.

Every now and again it’s worth reflecting on the last few years. As an example, the DOW Jones was trading around the 10k to 11k level in 2010/11. Just 6 years on and the DOW is trading at almost 25k. QE aside, I can’t see any reason or genuine metric to support such growth. If the DOW dropped back to 17k, it would still look toppy. The Trump era was built off the back of ‘fake news’ and in my opinion we are in a Trump ‘fake market’. It’s a place where anything can happen. Crypto currencies heading for the moon and back. Bankers bonuses in the millions again. Complacency returning and not many willing to shout about it. It’s a dangerous place to be and deserves some common sense from investors across the board. Making money in the current market is akin to throwing darts at the FTSE350… blindfolded. It’s been way too easy and periods like this do not last. Conversely, trading commodities whether metals or oil etc has felt like walking a daily tightrope. Whilst the major players like Anglo and Glencore have done very well, the minnows have struggled as the funding market errs on the side of caution and leaves many projects sitting on the shelves. But as history shows us, when the easy money opportunities dry up or ‘pop’ – investors are forced to seek more risky alternatives in search for those strong returns. Depending on how you view the markets for 2018, one sector looks stronger than ever before and that’s ‘commodities’. It’s been a long time since there has been a commodity bull market and after years of bearish tones on PoO, the Saudi’s and OPEC appear to have finally agreed on a process to stabilise the black stuff. With Saudi’s planning their long awaited Aramco IPO next year, the safe bet might be on E&P’s. The even safer bet or decent hedge against broader market concerns would of course be Gold. Between the two, there might be a plan to trade / invest your way through 2018. But that’s something that you’ve got to make your own mind up on. There is of course no obligation to invest in the markets at all. And with bubbles appearing at every turn, the winning trade in 2018 might well turn out to be no trade at all.

But zero trading/investing makes for a very dull 2018 Hotlist. So without further delay, the following top ten picks for 2018 are ready to rock and roll.

A brief summary of each stock is provided below but requires all investors do thorough research and risk management across all.

First up is Amerisur. In short, the stock was trading at 34p last year when PoO was trading in early $40’s. Production has doubled and the company is debt free. I would be very surprised to see AMER still listed in 2018 as it’s a sitting duck for any would be predator keen to secure a presence in a newly liberated Colombia. M&A has been present in 2017, but far from busy. With the Oil market rebalancing, M&A could be back with force in 2018.

Price: 18.5p. 2018 Target price 65p.

Next is Columbus Energy Resources. Under new management, the company is now cash flow positive and has the potential to triple production in 2018. Should they achieve this, the share price should more than triple too. Schroders are not in the habit of investing in small caps but have made an exception with this company by taking on a 9%+ slice in a placing at 5p a share. More recently, Schroders pushed their holding to above 10% in open market trading.

Price: 5.45p. 2018 Target price 25p.

Next up is Cora Gold. This newbie was one of only a few IPO’s in 2017 and comes to the market with a ready explored Gold resource. That said, it’s still some way from gaining the much needed ‘reserves’ classification and is in the process of further exploration phases. Cora Gold is at first glance nothing special. It’s just like any other small Gold Miner – plenty of resource but years away from being able to fund it to production and gold sales. But here’s difference… Cora Gold is circa 34% owned by Hummingbird Resources. The latter has recently completed a production facility which is not far from Cora Gold’s licence area. This provides Cora Gold with potentially ‘instant’ production / mining facilities that other small cap miners can only dream of. The route to market is available and funding a $100m production facility is not an absolute requirement – although if the resource is great enough, there’s a chance they could go it alone. With a market cap just shy of £7m, it’s possible they could be trading at multiples of that in 2018 should the exploration phase go well.

Price: 12p. 2018 Target price 48p.

Next is Hummingbird Resources. The star performer of 2017 for TheShareHub picks keeps its spot going into 2018. Regardless of POG pricing fluctuations in 2018, HUM’s low AISC’s mean they will be producing serious cash from Gold Sales whether it be low or high. All indicators point to Gold heading higher in 2018 which could see HUM double with ease from today’s 34.25p level. Top class management and mining contractors suggest that HUM’s Yanfolila gold mine will be producing 130koz or more in 2018.

Price: 34.25p. 2018 Target price 78p.

Next is Petrofac. Beaten up heavily in 2017 due to SFO case which is ongoing. The stock was trading comfortably at 900p levels prior to news on SFO case and with PoO in the low $40’s. Since then, the company has secured further orders bolstering their order book heading into 2018. Debt is manageable and cash flows strong. As seen with the likes of Rolls Royce and others. It’s often the uncertainty of the SFO case that weighs heavily on the share price and not the eventual outcome or fine. Rolls Royce which was found guilty and paid their fine is now trading at 3 year highs. Petrofac carries risk but at 510p a share, there’s a chance a predator might swoop swiftly after any SFO news assuming the latter results in a Rolls Royce style fine.

Price: 510p. 2018 Target price 1020p.

Next is Premier Oil. Like HUM, PMO makes the cut for another year. In 2017, TheShareHub picks focused on 3 heavily debted companies that should have responded well to PoO’s recovery. Tullow and Enquest both underperformed and Premier Oil came through with a minor 3% increase on the year. Whilst it’s probable that Tullow and Enquest could prove market doubters wrong in 2018, it’s Premier Oil that looks in the best shape of all. To avoid the same error as 2017, TheShareHub is focussing on one heavily debted / high production play in 2018. This has no reflection on Tullow or Enquest and both should perform well assuming PoO remains strong and debt is actively reduced during the year. Premier Oil still has the weight of considerable CB’s to pay off or convert to shares. It might not be until end of Q1 before the share price really kicks into action.

Price: 76.25p. 2018 Target price 155p.

Next up is Providence Resources. Sub’ed in after the Ithaca Energey sale in 2017, PVR keeps its spot based purely on the potential to deliver the long awaited Barryroe appraisal phase. With market cap around £45m, there’s every chance that the market will rerate the stock once a farm out deal confirms the potential value of Barryroe which is cited to contain roughly 300mmboe in recoverable oil. There’s more across the folio to look forward too and surely the luck of the Irish has to ring true in the end for this Celtic Sea player.

Price: 8.75p. 2018 Target price 36p.

Next is Serica Energy. It’s a while since I have covered this stock. Staffed by an experienced team with clear ties to BP. The latter handed SQZ shareholders an early Christmas present by selling key North Sea assets to the minnow. In doing so, BP turned SQZ into a mid tier player. Sure – there are risks and unknowns attached to assets but assuming SQZ do not make a mess of it all, the company should be priced in the half billion range and that’s before they progress the rest of the folio. Amazing transformation for the company and in true fashion, the market is slow to applaud the share price.

Price: 84p. 2018 Target price 168p.

Next is Solgold. 2017 was a strong year for the company with huge resource discoveries and a move to main market. A couple of funding rounds now done and Solgold are not wasting any time. The company is fast tracking a number of target areas within their licence folio all within the riches of the North Andean Copper Belt in Ecuador. The Company has announced several world class intersections of continuous copper and gold mineralisation from the flagship project Cascabel. An MRE is expected in early January which is expected to be conservative and enhanced as the exploration phase progresses through 2018. With copper and gold prices doing well of late, SolGold will do well to avoid potentially aggressive takeover approaches. In 2016, the company turned BHP down and with such large resources at stake, another approach is likely from any number of predators seeking resource strengthening assets.

Price: 29.5p. 2018 Target price 90p.

Finally and by no means least, is W Resources. This small miner is in the right place at the right time. It’s main asset is in Spain and contains a very commercial levels of Tungsten. With Tungsten prices firming up and funding markets improving over the last 24 months for miners – W Resources looks set for a terrific 2018. Management updated investors towards year end on a potential funding deal being arranged for approx $20m to $30m. LOI’s are already in the mix for offtake deals with pricing expected to be at the higher end due to the mines european base. With a market cap of just £29m, there is clearly a large rerate required once funding is secured. That said, it’s not unusual for the market to assume the worst and price in very little for the best these days. If the debt / finance deal is good, the share price should multiply with ease. Still the small matter of development and execution to follow of course but one step at a time.

Price: 0.385p. 2018 Target price 1.8p.

In summary: Some picks from 2017 did not make the cut but that does not mean they are ready to be binned. It’s healthy to rotate folio’s and add in new stocks. Equally, it’s fair to say that if some of the 2016 picks like Glencore and Kaz were included or rolled into the 2017 picks, the overall performance would have been better. It will be interesting to compare the 2018 picks with the 2017 list at this juncture next year.

TheShareHub wishes all investors the best for 2018. Do your research and manage risks accordingly. Please read the risk warnings via the sidebar menu.

All ShareHub picks will be covered in 2018 along with the usual ‘heads up’ alerts on stocks of interest throughout the year. Two newspaper top ten tips will feature again in 2018. If you haven’t subscribed to TheShareHub yet, then simply sign up via the side bar. It’s free and alerts on posts are emailed to you with no delay.