If you’re an investor in Canada, there have been a few hot topics that everyone who follows stocks has been talking about. With the imminent legalization of recreational in marijuana in Canada, pot stocks got a big boost in 2017. And as electric cars and the move away from gas and diesel power becomes more mainstream, companies who are at the forefront of that revolution benefited greatly.
We break down the top 10 stocks that saw massive growth this year. No penny stocks here; all of these companies began the year with a share price of at least $5.
S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Daily Inverse ETF (HVI.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $19.570
Net Change: $11.260
Per Cent Increase: 135.500%
What it is: ETF designed to perform inverse to the S&P 500 VIX Short Term Fund Index
Why it took off in 2017: This Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) managed by Horizon ETFs cracked the top 10 top performing stocks for the year. Designed to give investors the benefit of shorting the market without exposing themselves to as much risk, this ETF performed better than many of the industry-specific ETFs it launched this year. Horizon’s Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF was certainly more hotly debated, but experienced a more modest 46.62 per cent growth since its launch in April.
No. 9: Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AUP.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $6.780
Net Change: $3.950
Per Cent Increase: 139.580%
What it is: Biopharmaceutical company focused on treatment of serious diseases
Why it took off in 2017: With a new CEO announced in February and promising data for a new kidney drug, Aurinia made some impressive gains through 2017. Dr. Richard Glickman took over the company after the board ousted his predecessor, and the stock has been on a steady increase ever since. In March, shares jumped as much as 20 per cent on the news that it would be presenting data for voclosporin to the National Kidney Foundation’s spring meeting. Trial data shows the drug had the highest remission rate of any drug for lupus nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys that can lead to end-stage kidney disease) ever tested. Since then, however, share prices have leveled off.
No. 8: Theratechnologies Inc. (D) (TH.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $6.850
Net Change: $4.110
Per Cent Increase: 150.000%
What it is: Pharmaceutical company specializing in the health and wellness of HIV patients
Why it took off in 2017: In May, Theratechnologies and its partner, TaiMed Biologics, came to a breakthrough in one of its HIV treatments. They filed for an FDA license for ibalizumab, which is designed to treat multidrug resistant HIV. It is currently under study and if it is approved, will be the first antiretroviral treatment in almost a decade. It also doesn’t require to be taken daily, also making it unique to the market.
No. 7: Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $18.340
Net Change: $11.320
Per Cent Increase: 161.250%
What it is: Gold producer with mines in Canada and Australia
Why it took off in 2017: Kirkland Lake Gold kicked off 2017 with some big news: it would be moving away from diesel-powered machines in its mining operations to lithium-ion battery scoops and trucks instead. The new equipment is not only better for the environment, it also can carry 30 per cent more load per bucket. The hits just kept on coming, as Kirkland Lake Gold announced in June that it had discovered more high-grade gold in its Kirkland Lake, Ont. mine.
No. 6: Ballard Power Systems (BLDP.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $6.110
Net Change: 3.890
Per Cent Increase: 175.230%
What it is: Developer and manufacturer of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell products
Why it took off in 2017: The biggest gains for Ballard came in September, when share prices jumped almost 21 per cent. Ballard announced a new fuel cell that doesn’t use precious metals as the catalyst, making it the first non-precious metal catalyst-based exchange membrane. For those of us who forget science class, the important takeaway is that Ballard found a way to make fuel cells cheaper and more easily available, a huge boon for its commercial clients. The new fuel cell will be put to the test in 2018.
No. 5: Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $7.520
Net Change: $5.220
Per Cent Increase: 226.960%
What it is: Medical marijuana producer
Why it took off in 2017: If you haven’t heard about Aurora in 2017, you may have been smoking a lot of its product. The producer and distributor of medical marijuana has had a big year, expanding its production facilities, improving its profit margins, and aggressively going after competitors, like its hostile takeover attempt of Cannimed. While Aurora is currently focused on the medical marijuana community, they are positioning themselves to be a massive player when Canada legalizes recreational marijuana in 2018.
No. 4: Lithium Americas Corp. (LAC.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $13.300
Net Change: $9.300
Per Cent Increase: 232.500%
What it is: Joint developer of Cauchairi-Olaroz lithium mine in Argentina, as well as owner of the Lithium Nevada Project and RehoMinerals Inc.
Why it took off in 2017: With the push to electric cars picking up, the need for lithium-ion batteries in those and other devices continues to rise. In fact, lithium suppliers are struggling to meet that pressing demand. The share price of Lithium Americas has tripled this year on that demand, and with Argentina poised to take over as the primary source in South America for lithium, the company is in a good position to continue its growth into 2018.
No. 3: Mogo Finance Technology Inc. (MOGO.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $7.560
Net Change: $5.640
Per Cent Increase: 293.750%
What it is: Fintech company that lets Canadians manage their money via apps
Why it took off in 2017: Mogo saw a huge boost at the end of the tracking period, due to the announcement of MogoProtect, which can protect customers against identity theft. The announcement came on the heels of the Uber and Equifax breaches, making the project particularly enticing.
No. 2: Village Farms International (VFF.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $5.900
Net Change: 4.550
Per Cent Increase: 337.040%
What it is: Hydroponic greenhouse producer of vegetables
Why it took off in 2017: Since 2017 was the year of big money in cannabis, Village Farms benefited from an announced joint venture with Emerald Health. The stock started its impressive climb in September, when Health Canada agreed to review the application for growing marijuana for Emerald Health in a 1.1 million-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse in Delta, B.C.
No. 1: Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc. (FRX.TO)
Dec. 1 Price: $12.160
Net Change: $9.550
Per Cent Increase: 365.90%
What it is: Biopharmaceutical company focused on cancer treatments
Why it took off in 2017: Fennec announced in September that it had promising data from a study on its sodium thiosulfate product (STS), a.k.a. PEDMARK, which showed good signs of reducing chemo-related hearing loss in children.