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High-flying Avion Gold poised to climb further: Canaccord

NIR ELIAS/NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

Avion Gold Corp. has produced some stellar returns of late for shareholders, rallying more than 190 per cent since the end of July. Despite those impressive gains and the gold price at the moment backing off from record highs, Canaccord Genuity analyst Eric Zaunscherb believes the stock still has lots of lustre and sees gains of roughly 70 per cent to come.

Avion this week released third-quarter earnings that came in above expectations thanks to higher ore grades and lower costs, and Mr. Zaunscherb recently completed a site visit. The company, he says, is showing continued improvement in operational and financial performance and production is expected to rise to 200,000 ounces in 2012 from 51,000 ounces in 2009. In addition, the company has "superb" exploration potential at its properties in Mail and Burkina Faso, and has one of the most attractive valuations in Canaccord Genuity's gold producer coverage, he said.

Assuming a $1,500 U.S. an ounce gold price, Canaccord estimates a corporate net asset value of $2.31 per adjusted share, which is up from earlier estates of $1.53.

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Upside: Mr. Zaunscherb raised his price target by 50 cents to $2.10 and maintained his "speculative buy" rating. Other analysts aren't quite as bullish. Wellington West Equity Research has a price target of $1.35 on the stock, although this is up 15 cents from his prior targets and Wellington also rates the company as a "buy."

Bonavista Energy Trust , which plans to convert to a dividend-paying corporation at the end of this year, should trade with a slight premium to its peers given its large and enviable land position and successful track record, said Canaccord Genuity analyst Kyle Preston. The intermediate-sized trust is targeting a total annual return of 10 to 15 per cent and is "one of the few trusts that we believe will be successful" in delivering double-digit total returns, he said.

Upside: Mr. Preston initiated coverage with a "buy" rating and $30 target price.

Continental Gold Ltd. reported drill results from its Buritica gold project in Colombia that included a "spectacular" intercept from a zone that graded 113.8 grams per tonne gold, said TD Newcrest analyst Daniel Earle. A "flood" of further drilling results are expected to be released through year-end now that the company has resolved some technical issues related to sampling.

Upside: Mr. Earle hiked his 12-month target price by $3 to $13.

Pembina Pipeline Corp. has closed a $300 million convertible debenture offering at a slightly higher interest rate than modeled by TD Newcrest analyst Linda Ezergailis. In addition, Pembina's midstream business warrants caution due to its lack of transparency and there are risks associated with certain pipeline volumes not under contract, she said.

Downside: Ms. Ezergailis cut her target on the stock by 50 cents to $17.

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March Networks Corp.'s new Command video surveillance solution, which targets city-wide security projects, has addressed some key concerns about the company's portfolio and strategic positioning, said TD Newcrest analyst Chris Umiastowski. Command was introduced in October "and we are optimistic that this platform can lead to significant growth," he said.

Upside: Mr. Umiastowski reiterated his 12-month target price at $5.50.

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About the Author
Investment Editor

Darcy Keith is The Globe and Mail's Investment Editor. He has been a business journalist since 1992 and joined the Report on Business in 2010 from Yahoo! Canada, where he was the senior editor of finance. More

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