After a tumultuous end to February, Stock Challenge is back! Member ‘Makito’ has once again swung into first place with a return of 50.48% thanks to a breakout in Canada Carbon, while members ‘rvandel’ (who also picked Canada Carbon) and ‘Jimpro63’ sit in second and third place with returns of 42.40% and 40.51%, respectively. Despite its precipitous fall between February 19 and February 25, the Dow appears to have stabilized for the time being – bringing strength back to exchanges like the TSX Venture in the process.

Canada Carbon Breaks Out While Vermillion Energy Breaks Down

Canada Carbon

Canada Carbon had one of the biggest stock breakouts of the day, setting a new 52-week high by rising 26.67% from C$0.30 to C$0.38.

Canada Carbon announced on Thursday that Analytical Reference Materials International had placed an initial order of 50,000 grams of the Miller thermally purified graphite.

Via Canada Carbon,

“This initial order of 50,000 grams of the Miller thermally purified graphite is to be used in the development of a Certified Reference Material (“CRM”) for the analysis of ultra-high purity graphite samples. The CRM will be developed and marketed by LGC, with a retail selling price comparable to the lower purity BAM S009 (NBG 18) reference material. The order is renewable for 100,000 gram lots, on the same terms. Additional CRM materials based on Miller graphite are under development by the two companies.”

Vermillion Energy

On the other hand, Vermillion Energy had one of the biggest stock breakdowns, falling 18.49% from C$12.71 to C$10.36.

The company announced results for the year ended December 31, 2019 yesterday, in which it announced it was cutting its monthly dividend in half from C$0.23 to C$0.115 per share, effective April 15.

Via BNN Bloomberg,

“We pointed out that in the event of a significant change, a structural change, in commodity prices, we would re-evaluate,” [Vermillion chief executive officer Anthony] Marino said in a BNN Bloomberg interview on Friday in specific reference to previous dividend discussions.

“That is just what has happened here, quite rapidly over the last month, and even – in very rapid fashion – over the last couple of weeks with the air pocket in the economy, particularly in oil demand as a result of coronavirus.”

What Will the March 2020 Stock Challenge Bring?

As we saw in February, market sentiment can change in the blink of an eye. While negative sentiment around coronavirus continues to weigh on investors, the markets appear to be coming to terms with the fact that Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This month’s Stock Challenge is sure to be an interesting one, as we begin to see how governments — and more specifically, investors — respond to the prolonged outbreak of coronavirus.