Source: sizsus.

While the TSX has traced an uncertain pattern year to date, mostly because of manic-depressive inflation and a recession some believe is already here, the best-performing stocks always provide insights about what is working and why. And 2023 is no exception.

The following five stocks are the top performers from Stockhouse’s Weekly Market Movers column in 2023. Each of them offers essential reminders about what markets respond to, having managed to outperform the TSX by a minimum of 20 times, whether because of standout financial results, industry buzz, prospective projects, or a combination of all three.

Being small- and micro-cap stocks, which are higher on the risk spectrum, our picks are also evidence of the upside of volatility, with a fair number of stocks covered this year being down by more than 70 per cent, including (CSE:NTAR) and Datametrex AI (TSXV:DM), striking a cautious note as we dive into our list:

5. Thermal Energy International – 77.27 per cent return YTD

Thermal Energy International (TSXV:TMG) is a global provider of proven and proprietary energy efficiency and emissions reduction solutions, mostly to the industrial and institutional sectors, including numerous multinational companies.

Revenue for Q1 2024 was up by 66 per cent year-over-year, with the company continuing a three-quarter stretch of profitability with net income of C$162,000, compared to a net loss of C$509,000 in Q1 2023.

Learn more about Thermal Energy International by reading the company’s latest investor presentation.

4. G Mining Ventures – 90.41 per cent return YTD

G Mining Ventures (TSXV:GMIN) is guided by Chairman Louis Gignac Sr., the founder of Cambior, an international gold producer that pioneered an in-house approach to construction and development.

After selling Cambior for US$1.3 billion in 2006 after 20 years in business, Gignac founded G Mining Services (GMS), an engineering and consulting firm with a 15-year history of more than $2 billion in successful mining projects using his in-house approach.

GMS took G Mining Ventures public in 2020 to gain better access to attractive project acquisitions. The public vehicle’s flagship Tocantinzinho project in Brazil features a 2 million ounce open-pit gold deposit, and is in the midst of advanced construction, making the company confident it will become a major contributor to Brazilian gold production.

Learn more about G Mining Ventures by reading the company’s latest investor presentation.

3. Netramark Holdings – 91.67 per cent return YTD

Netramark Holdings (CSE:AIAI) applies proprietary machine-learning algorithms to extract insights from healthcare datasets. Its flagship NetraAI solution aims to fortify clinical trials through detailed analyses of patient populations.

The company, managed by proven science and tech professionals, intends to improve clinical trials’ 12 per cent success rate through artificial intelligence. Its recent master services agreement with a large biopharmaceutical company to analyze clinical trial data furthers this goal.

Learn more about Netramark Holdings by reading the company’s latest investor presentation.

2. Tenaz Energy – 104.27 per cent return YTD

Our runner-up for best-performing stock of 2023 is Tenaz Energy (TSX:TNZ), which is focused on acquiring and developing international oil and gas assets capable of generating shareholder value.

The company’s Canadian operations consist of a semi-conventional oil project in the Rex member of the Upper Mannville group at Leduc-Woodbend in central Alberta.

Its offshore gas assets in the Netherlands are in the Dutch sector of the North Sea, and include an interest in Noordgastransport B.V., which owns one of the largest gas processing networks in the Dutch North Sea.

According to Q3 2023 results, Tenaz averaged production of 2,204 boe/d in the nine months ended Sept. 30, which is 97 per cent higher year-over-year. Net income for Q3 was C$20.9 million, up sharply from a profit of C$0.2 million in Q3 2022.

Learn more about Tenaz Energy by reading the company’s latest investor presentation.

1. PharmAla Biotech – 216.67 per cent return YTD

Taking the top spot in our best-performing stocks of 2023 is PharmAla Biotech (CSE:MDMA), a company dedicated to developing novel drugs and supplying the global backlog of generic, clinical-grade MDMA for clinical trials.

The company holds the titles of the world’s first publicly traded company to manufacture GMP-certified, clinical-grade MDMA, North America’s only supplier, and the leading supplier of MDMA in Australia.

The company is also a pioneer in psychedelics research, including conducting the first trial to assess real-world efficacy of MDMA in treating PTSD at the University of Calgary.

Among PharmAla’s seven novel, MDMA-based entities, ALA-002 has shown improved cardio- and neuro-toxicity profiles, and a significant reduction in hypothermia, three side-effects associated with the use of MDMA, with phase-II clinical trials in the works.

Considering the FDA’s approval of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression, and MDMA and psilocybin under the breakthrough therapy designation, PharmAla is benefitting from a first-mover advantage in an estimated US$130 billion addressable North American market, in addition to existing international revenue streams.

Learn more about PharmAla Biotech by reading the company’s latest investor presentation.

Honorable mentions

Exploits Discovery (CSE:NFLD), a gold miner exploring close to numerous high-grade gold discoveries that counts Eric Sprott (17 per cent) and New Found Gold (TSXV:NFG) (9 per cent) as shareholders – 69.35 per cent return YTD.

Xtract One Technologies (TSX:XTRA), a provider of patron-screening solutions, which doubled its new bookings in Q1 2024 to C$9.6 million, up from C$5.3 million in Q4 2023, on top of a more than 100 per cent increase in revenue from C$2.07 million in fiscal 2020 to C$4.11 million in fiscal 2023 on the back of its technology’s 7x increase in throughput compared to legacy systems – 60.78 per cent return YTD.

Propel Holdings (TSX:PRL), a fintech company offering credit to the underbanked, whose Q3 2023 results saw it post year-over-year net income growth of 47 per cent to US$6.2 million, and a 91 per cent increase to US$19.3 million year-to-date through Q3 2023.

All returns are as of Nov. 30, 2023.

Click here for our top stock picks through midyear 2023.

Join the discussion: Find out what everybody’s saying about the best-performing stocks of 2023 on the Thermal Energy International, G Mining Ventures, Netramark Holdings, Tenaz Energy and PharmAla Biotech Bullboards, and check out Stockhouse’s stock forums and message boards.

This is sponsored content issued on behalf of Thermal Energy International, G Mining Ventures, Netramark Holdings, Tenaz Energy and PharmAla Biotech, please see full disclaimer here.

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