For the second year running, we're publishing the year's top stock picks from M Partners, a Toronto-based investment bank.
Below is a brief synopsis on their top five picks, followed by a look at how last year's picks fared.
The companies span a range of sectors including life sciences, mining, oil & gas, special situations, and technology.
Bedrocan Cannabis Corp.
Analyst Daniel Pearlstein explains that Bedrocan's agreement with its Dutch partner Bedrocan BV provides the medicinal marijuana importer with a unique position in the Canadian market. The company's domestic facility is expected to be licensed in early second-quarter 2015 and will be a turn-key production operation "aimed to mirror that of Bedrocan BV, if not better," he says. "We would expect the receipt of the license to be a significant de-risking event."
Mr. Pearlstein has a $1.10 (Canadian) price target.
Input Capital Corp.
After a year of working through "kinks and delays," 2015 is the year Input Capital is poised to execute, says analyst Steven Salz.
"Input has substantial cash on the balance sheet to deploy, multiple fail-safes to insulate it from short-term canola price weakness, has moved through many 'worst case' scenarios experienced in 2014, and is trading at a substantial discount to NAV (0.4x)," he says.
Mr. Salz has a $4 price target.
Klondex Mines Ltd.
High grades of gold and silver should drive above-average margins for this Canadian miner, says analyst Derek Macpherson.
"We believe the company's high grades and resulting low costs should see it trade at a premium to peers," says Mr. Macpherson. "However, Klondex currently trades at 3.1x our 2015 EBITDA estimate, and 0.49x our net asset value per share estimate, which is a discount to peers at 5.2x and 0.44x, respectively. In our view the re-rating is likely to be driven by a combination of continued operational execution and exploration success at Midas and Fire Creek."
Mr. Macpherson has a $4 price target.
Estimates about soaring mobile data traffic and capex spending by major wireless carriers bodes very well for this Canadian tech company, says analyst Manish Grigo.
"We believe Sandvine is well placed to take advantage of this explosion in demand for wireless data services and increased capex," says Mr. Grigo. "We are excited about the growth potential of SVC based on the need for service providers to actively manage networks to maintain quality of service."
Mr. Grigo has a $4.50 price target on the stock.
TAG Oil Ltd.
Analyst David Buma says TAG is well positioned to ride out an extended period of volatile oil prices thanks to its sound financial footing and flexible work schedule.
"The company continues to push ahead with low-cost initiatives in the Taranaki, including re-entry into the significant deep gas/condensate Cardiff prospect, tentatively set for April," says Mr. Buma. "Between cash on hand and the shallow Taranaki assets, little value is currently being attributed to the company's attractive exploration portfolio; as such, we believe the shares present an attractive risk/reward opportunity."
He has a $4 price target.
You can find the full M Partners report here.
As mentioned, we published M Partners' 2014 picks this time last year. Let's take a look at how they fared.
Mr. Buma has been bullish on TAG for some time now. Last January the stock traded at $3.50, and he had a price target of $8. Today's price is $1.55, so investors who took his advice would have realized a loss of 55 per cent.
Mainstreet Equity Corp.
Analyst Brendon Abrams had a price target of $43.50 on this stock last year, at which time it traded at $36. Shares are currently trading at $37.99, a gain of 5.5 per cent.
Lake Shore Gold Corp.
Shares of this miner were trading at $0.50 last January, when analyst Derek Macpherson had a price target of $0.95. The shares are currently at $0.85, a gain of 70 per cent.
Back when they were trading for $0.74, analyst Tom Varesh had assigned Enterprise shares a $2.24 price target. They subsequently slid to $0.40, a loss of 45 per cent.
Last January, Counsel shares traded at $2.40, and analyst Patrick Ruiz assigned a $3.25 price target. The shares have slowly fallen throughout the year to $1.83, a loss of 23.75 per cent.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated a $2 price target for Klondex Mines. This has been corrected.