If the JSE was a painful place in 2018, then punters who doggedly pursued opportunities in the small-and mid-cap sector will probably show the deepest scars. Officially the small-cap index fell about 18% in 2018, with the mid-cap index crimping 11%. The JSE industrial board, home to a slew of small-and mid-cap stocks, was off a hefty 20%, while the AltX (which includes many entrepreneurial counters) was off 12%. A good number of former small-and mid-cap darlings came a horrible cropper during the year. These include Ascendis Health (down about 78%), Blue Label Telecoms (down over 60%), private education group Curro (down 40%), Metrofile (35% lower), Zeder Investments (down 35%) and industrial giant Invicta (down 32%). The market was not in a forgiving mood when it came to perusing negative news or strategic setbacks. Predictably, there was persistent chatter as some large fund managers abandoned small-cap mandates and set market capitalisation floors for their portfolios. Which does...

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