Pacific Trader: 2023 was a decent year, with crypto stocks leading the way

Collectively, the 24 stocks examined in this space posted a full-year price return of 28.5 percent

The past year turned out to be a decent one for equity investors, at least for those who stuck around until they rolled the credits. A year ago, we predicted stocks would be up in 2023, based on the historical rarity of back-to-back money-losing years (2022 was a stinker), and it turned out we were right. Thanks to the market rally in November and December, the S&P/TSX Composite index finished the year up 8.1 percent, or 11.8 percent if you factor in dividends.

It was an even better year for B.C.-based companies, judging by the returns of the stocks we profiled in 2023. Collectively, the 24 stocks examined in this space posted a full-year price return of 28.5 percent. Unfortunately, the group’s performance wasn’t so stellar in the weeks and months after they appeared in Pacific Trader. On average, our picks returned just 1.9 percent on a price basis over the remainder of the year, although it should be understood the average duration of these investments would be less than six months.

The top performer of the bunch turned out to be cryptocurrency miner Hive Blockchain Technologies (TSXV:HIVE) which, bolstered by bitcoin’s big recovery, returned 185 percent. Indeed, there was a crypto feel to the leadership across the board as bitcoin exchange operator WonderFi Technologies (TSX:WNDR) posted the best return after we took a closer look in this space. WonderFi more than doubled in value in the six weeks after we highlighted it in mid-November.

Other standouts over the calendar year included online eyewear retailer Kits Eyecare (TSX:KITS) and lithium exploration company Patriot Battery Metals (TSXV:PMET). The latter, sadly, sagged 37.9 percent in the second half of the year after its big run-up in the first half. Honourable mention should go to liquefied natural gas shipper Teekay Tankers (NYSE:TNK), which edged past Patriot on a total return basis, including dividends. The Vancouver-headquartered, U.S.-listed company’s total return for the year in U.S. dollars was 76.1 percent.

Here’s to many more happy returns in 2024!

Best full-year performance

Hive Blockchain Technologies (+185.2%)

Kits Eyecare (+134.6%)

Patriot Battery Metals (+75.2%)

Worst full-year performance

Tribe Property Technologies (-55.1%)

Metalla Royalty & Streaming (-40%)

Western Forest Products (-38.8%)

Best picks (return since publication date)

WonderFi Technologies (+110.7%)

Decisive Dividend Corp. (+37.7%)

Teekay Tankers (+28.5%)

Worst picks (return since publication date)

Patriot Battery Metals (-37.9%)

Western Forest Products (-35.5%)

Tribe Property Technologies (-31.3%)