Uranium Is A Frustrating Business

I may love the prospect of a uranium miner rebound, but I’ve also loved the idea for three years. There’s no dancing around how frustrating this time has been. It’s an obvious, solid move, but…man it takes a time to develop.

Trading around a pickup in demand in an industry where you can go eight months without any orders is maddening. Maybe those publicly traded, paper products in “ETF Land” are saying uranium prices are still on the rebound. But brokerage reports are saying we’re back to hitting new lows in the spot price.

None of which is going to shake me. I’m set in my ways. Just… give me my triumph now.

It’s not that bad, what I want, is it?

I just want for us to hurry up and get to where we’re going, so that I can make a ridiculous killing and rub it like sand into the eyes of anyone who happens to be passing by. I’m not a difficult man to work with. Is this so awful?

Give me my victory laurels and my silver chalice, and I will be content. I’m a simple man, at heart.

Thoughts On Uranium Prices

The big thing holding back the uranium miners right now isn’t concern for the long term viability of the industry – to the contrary, it is very clear to everyone that nuclear power generation is about to increase. Even concern in the US over aging reactors being taken offline is being tempered as four new state of the art models have been approved for construction.

Actually, the major impediment to higher prices is just the spot price for U3O8. The broker I follow has reported the spot price has just corrected back to new lows (based on how many virtually non-existent sales, I cannot say). URA meanwhile shows prices have corrected from the recent rally, although still off the bottom.

In that spirit, here is what I’m reading.

Uranium Participation Corp (TSX:U) is the only physically backed uranium fund. The company’s primary objective is to achieve appreciation in the value of its uranium holdings through increases in the uranium spot price. In December, Raymond James analyst David Sadowski made a case for investing in UPC, a fund managed by the management team responsible for Denison Mines (TSX:DML), explaining that the fund offers investors with “great exposure to a uranium price rebound without the typical exploration, development or mining risks associated with some of the other equities.”

After having completed a $57.6 million bought deal financing on February 6, UPC has made its first purchase of uranium in four years. The company announced on Friday that it would use a portion of bought deal financing to purchase 850,000 pounds of U3O8 at an average cost of US$34.74. UPC notes that 250,000 pounds have already been delivered, the remainder will be delivered by the end of June.

In a note to investors, David Sadowski views UPC’s latest announcement as a point in the company’s favor, supported by the overall sentiment that uranium prices are set to strengthen over the next 12 to 14 months on supply shortfalls and JApanese reactor restarts. Given these variables, and the companies current available cash, Sadowski expects to see another purchase of 800, 000 – 900,000 pounds of uranium sometime in the coming weeks.

I’m still confident we see nuclear take off this year. In the past I’ve been a little more shy about such a direct claim, arguing “sometime in the next X years,” instead. But I do believe 2014 will be the year.

I also think the volatile pricing we’re seeing is the market putting in a bottom / shaking out the weak hands as the big players start to take a more direct financial interest.

Recall from our prior discussions that the refueling needs of real reactors is almost logistics free. A nuclear reactor can run at full power for almost three years without needing a delivery of fuel from the outside, on nothing but what’s in the rods plus the typical amount of fuel in storage for a common model.

From 2011, three years is almost up. By which, I would surmise, nuclear power operations in aggregate will either begin to see electricity output decline, or else need to make a purchase.

Just my two cents on the matter.

BAS Is Returning 7% Today Alone

Although my 40% cash position may create the illusion that I am missing out, such a view would be misplaced. Careful allocation and selection on my part is gifting me full participation in today’s excess in spite of recent reservation.

BAS is up 7.29% at the time of this writing, as the natural gas cycle makes full leaps and bounds forward. As I told you it would transpire, this is where your money must be at for the next 10 years. Companies and partnerships like BAS and HCLP will grow at unprecedented rates, facilitating the United States of America back to Her rightful status as Greatest Country and Loan Superpower on planet Earth.

HCLP is also up 2% and taken altogether, my portfolio is up .9%.

As for the excitement about Yellen, I don’t fully understand the sentiment. If you go back and read or listen to anything from Yellen, it’s pretty clear she has been consistently more in favor of Federal Reserve supporting markets and the economy than Bernanke was.

Despite that, there is good reason to believe a deep pullback may come soon enough (first half of 2014). We can’t all be millionaires.

UPDATE If you followed my initial purchase of BAS on 8/16/2012, you are presently up 65% on the position. If you’ve been trading along with me inside The PPT, you are up far more.

BAS Reports Well Servicing Rig Count, Raises Guidance

I usually am a little skeptical about the usefulness of guidance. Executive guidance can be some of the worst – people who are intimately wrapped up in a business tend to have a hard time knowing when to say “yeah, this ship is going down.” In fact, business school strictly forbids it.

But the most recent guidance from BAS, for whatever it’s worth, beat expectations. December was supposed to be a heinous month. Instead, it was merely a horrid month. Take that with a grain of salt.

Well rig service hours were unchanged, at about 61%. My long term thesis involves that number catapulting back to 80%+ eventually, which is why I own the name.

Fluid service truck count is up to 1,003 units. Fluid service truck hours are up 8% this year.

The company saw surprise strength in December (which is really just less flaccid weakness, pretending). Instead of the forecasted 7-8% drop in revenues that were expected, they anticipate they only saw a 6-7% drop.

This is all good and well and hearsay. What caught my eye was that they are also reporting their customers are reporting increases in 2014 spending. Now that’s useful to me.

The natural gas/well servicing industry was more or less crushed in 2011 thanks to generally bad dealings by one Aubrey McClendon. That and a half dozen other idiotic moves saddled CHK investors with 60% equity losses, taking the company to par with the lows set in 2009 (which is saying something).

This left most small well servicing firms in quite a predicament. You see, as a group they were pretty much a “no cash on hand” industry. There were only a few, like BAS, that had adequate financing to weather the storm.

A sea of mergers and acquisitions later (not to mention a few major bankruptcies; looking your way PSN.TO) and we may be ready to get back to fair weather. The natural gas spot price has largely recovered. And now BAS is reporting that client spending is looking up.

Ouch, NRP Just Fell 17%

My NRP coal partnership got blasted to the tune of 17% after announcing the coal market continued to weaken in 2013, against their expectation. In response to the weak sales of power production and metallurgical coal, NRP’s board announced a 36% reduction in distributions.

This hurts, as I guessed that $20 would average the low mark in the name. Clearly, I was wrong.

I am not selling NRP, though (not yet, at least). My primary reason for buying into NRP was more predicated on coal being a very inexpensive sector to get exposure to and the medium term unlikelihood that the US or global economies will be able to pivot away from coal quickly.

I’ll ride this out for a little bit and see where it goes. There’s been long speculation that NRP may have to cut its distribution, because their debt level is high and their board has ambitious goals to diversify their royalty stream into a variety of commodities, such as raw materials for glass or gas and oil.

The board has reaffirmed they don’t think the partnership is at risk of violating bond covenants, and I think the five year forecast distribution is more likely to contain upside surprises.

NRP is sinking me ~1.5%, which is actually being generously offset by gains elsewhere. NRP was a smaller position than, say, CCJ or BAS. For the day, I am down just ~.5% so far. But we’ll see if NRP doesn’t bleed out hard into the close

Monetary Policy Remains Overwhelmingly Accommodative (And Outlook)

The fed decision to test the waters with a taper while I was away did surprise me, somewhat. Yet it did not phase me much and so I elected to remain on vacation, silent on the issue.

I would state now in hindsight that a $5B per month taper (with as much as another $5-10B in the works) would still put the Federal Reserve on path to add another ~$800B to its balance sheet in 2014. This remains colossal and would have the Fed assets outstanding at just under $5 Trillion by 2015.

They may very well have tapered by $5B/month just because they were running out of things to buy…(laughter)

If I were to state things that concern me as potential impediments to the US economy and growth, they would list (1) consumer slowdown from budget impacts (pension, healthcare costs, rents/mortgage, increased retirement contributions, etc), (2) foreign existential shocks (EU breakup, Asian crisis, similar collapse that disrupts foreign trade) – where exactly did the EU government debt go and why is it now suddenly not an issue? Who is buying it (ECB, Fed, banking scheme, inter-government trade imbalances, etc)? And what stops non-payment concerns from popping up again in the future? and (3) the election of a Republican majority

But banking solvency just isn’t on that list right now. Neither is inflation, really, although long term prospects of an uncontrollable outbreak of inflation remains a viable possibility. With credit expansion in this country limited to growth of government balance sheets, deflationary pressure is set to commence…until it doesn’t. In the meantime, another ~$1 Trillion of free money to those closest to the trough will keep a major disruption of financial assets here at home as a low probability outcome. Of course, this bodes ill for the “wealth equality” lot, but they’re too dumb to call the system out on that, so we maintain the course.

Concerns aside, I am optimistic. Recessions don’t last forever, and my concerns are outweighed by hope in outlook. I am very long (no margin) and prepared to reap the rewards of economic growth. It’s been almost six years; the system has been on a hyperactive outlook for problems which greatly reduces the likelihood that a real “Black Swan” manages to crop up. It could still happen of course, but with hundreds of thousands of financial professionals calling bubbles as quickly as problems crop up, and a full time central banking staff armed with an unlimited supply of money attacking them at first sight, how exactly is a crisis supposed to materialize from all of this?

The only room for crisis in the US is rampant commodity/asset appreciation, which remains benign. That or an elsewise major shock to the consumer. Financial assets and liquidity issues are covered.

Now, that being said, historically we haven’t had a period longer than 10 years without a recession since at least 1789 (and probably not since long before that either – I just lack records to verify a more robust claim). I’d say the expectation of a correction since the Great Depression is 5-10 years with occasional 1-3 year shocks intermittently. We’re past the small shocks phase, which would put the expectation at right about where we’re at.

These times are unprecedented and the support the Fed is willing to lend the markets (unlike any time in recorded history) makes me think we blow through the averages. I want to say this ship will have the wind to sail to years seven, eight or nine, uninterrupted. We may even match the record holder of 10 or above.

However, it would be foolhardy to doubt another recession will most likely crop up before 2020. The ever growing levels of margin debt to buy equities may well be the first sign of the beginning of the final run before that. Of course it could be nothing.

My belief then is that a long commitment remains the way to go. I have been positively surprised by recent developments that have overridden prior comments on wanting to have a larger cash position by about this time (end of 2013) that I made late last year. However, as gains are taken, a portion should begun to be set aside, starting sometime mid 2014 to early 2015. This should create a reserve build-up of steadily marching intervals (10-20%, with a 1-2% increase every month topping out at around 40-50% of ones account value) sometime around late 2015 to early 2016.

At such time, a second hard look should be had. Earlier and exceptional strength should trigger a reassessment of these statements. Casual to quality growth does not necessarily change them. A major weakness (such as a shock of a GOP majority and fear of monetary policy interference) of course may necessitate a sudden course change.

My most hated places to invest are land/real estate (excluding multifamily or renting derived), oil companies (excluding natural gas predominated), and retail (excluding facilitation to the ultra-rich).

My favorite places center around natural gas production expansion, uranium, coal, multifamily REITs, and I remain interested in holding physical precious metals in a full position in the event an inflation shock from significant expansion in credit hits the economy.

I’m indifferent to the insurance market – especially health insurance. It could swing either way; they crawled into bed with the devil so it’s all political at this point. On the one hand, the entire market is shifting in wild and unpredictable ways. On the other, the feds are rigging the game in the insurance companies favor. Just stay away.

Uranium Is A Frustrating Business

I may love the prospect of a uranium miner rebound, but I’ve also loved the idea for three years. There’s no dancing around how frustrating this time has been. It’s an obvious, solid move, but…man it takes a time to develop.

Trading around a pickup in demand in an industry where you can go eight months without any orders is maddening. Maybe those publicly traded, paper products in “ETF Land” are saying uranium prices are still on the rebound. But brokerage reports are saying we’re back to hitting new lows in the spot price.

None of which is going to shake me. I’m set in my ways. Just… give me my triumph now.

It’s not that bad, what I want, is it?

I just want for us to hurry up and get to where we’re going, so that I can make a ridiculous killing and rub it like sand into the eyes of anyone who happens to be passing by. I’m not a difficult man to work with. Is this so awful?

Give me my victory laurels and my silver chalice, and I will be content. I’m a simple man, at heart.

Thoughts On Uranium Prices

The big thing holding back the uranium miners right now isn’t concern for the long term viability of the industry – to the contrary, it is very clear to everyone that nuclear power generation is about to increase. Even concern in the US over aging reactors being taken offline is being tempered as four new state of the art models have been approved for construction.

Actually, the major impediment to higher prices is just the spot price for U3O8. The broker I follow has reported the spot price has just corrected back to new lows (based on how many virtually non-existent sales, I cannot say). URA meanwhile shows prices have corrected from the recent rally, although still off the bottom.

In that spirit, here is what I’m reading.

Uranium Participation Corp (TSX:U) is the only physically backed uranium fund. The company’s primary objective is to achieve appreciation in the value of its uranium holdings through increases in the uranium spot price. In December, Raymond James analyst David Sadowski made a case for investing in UPC, a fund managed by the management team responsible for Denison Mines (TSX:DML), explaining that the fund offers investors with “great exposure to a uranium price rebound without the typical exploration, development or mining risks associated with some of the other equities.”

After having completed a $57.6 million bought deal financing on February 6, UPC has made its first purchase of uranium in four years. The company announced on Friday that it would use a portion of bought deal financing to purchase 850,000 pounds of U3O8 at an average cost of US$34.74. UPC notes that 250,000 pounds have already been delivered, the remainder will be delivered by the end of June.

In a note to investors, David Sadowski views UPC’s latest announcement as a point in the company’s favor, supported by the overall sentiment that uranium prices are set to strengthen over the next 12 to 14 months on supply shortfalls and JApanese reactor restarts. Given these variables, and the companies current available cash, Sadowski expects to see another purchase of 800, 000 – 900,000 pounds of uranium sometime in the coming weeks.

I’m still confident we see nuclear take off this year. In the past I’ve been a little more shy about such a direct claim, arguing “sometime in the next X years,” instead. But I do believe 2014 will be the year.

I also think the volatile pricing we’re seeing is the market putting in a bottom / shaking out the weak hands as the big players start to take a more direct financial interest.

Recall from our prior discussions that the refueling needs of real reactors is almost logistics free. A nuclear reactor can run at full power for almost three years without needing a delivery of fuel from the outside, on nothing but what’s in the rods plus the typical amount of fuel in storage for a common model.

From 2011, three years is almost up. By which, I would surmise, nuclear power operations in aggregate will either begin to see electricity output decline, or else need to make a purchase.

Just my two cents on the matter.

BAS Is Returning 7% Today Alone

Although my 40% cash position may create the illusion that I am missing out, such a view would be misplaced. Careful allocation and selection on my part is gifting me full participation in today’s excess in spite of recent reservation.

BAS is up 7.29% at the time of this writing, as the natural gas cycle makes full leaps and bounds forward. As I told you it would transpire, this is where your money must be at for the next 10 years. Companies and partnerships like BAS and HCLP will grow at unprecedented rates, facilitating the United States of America back to Her rightful status as Greatest Country and Loan Superpower on planet Earth.

HCLP is also up 2% and taken altogether, my portfolio is up .9%.

As for the excitement about Yellen, I don’t fully understand the sentiment. If you go back and read or listen to anything from Yellen, it’s pretty clear she has been consistently more in favor of Federal Reserve supporting markets and the economy than Bernanke was.

Despite that, there is good reason to believe a deep pullback may come soon enough (first half of 2014). We can’t all be millionaires.

UPDATE If you followed my initial purchase of BAS on 8/16/2012, you are presently up 65% on the position. If you’ve been trading along with me inside The PPT, you are up far more.

BAS Reports Well Servicing Rig Count, Raises Guidance

I usually am a little skeptical about the usefulness of guidance. Executive guidance can be some of the worst – people who are intimately wrapped up in a business tend to have a hard time knowing when to say “yeah, this ship is going down.” In fact, business school strictly forbids it.

But the most recent guidance from BAS, for whatever it’s worth, beat expectations. December was supposed to be a heinous month. Instead, it was merely a horrid month. Take that with a grain of salt.

Well rig service hours were unchanged, at about 61%. My long term thesis involves that number catapulting back to 80%+ eventually, which is why I own the name.

Fluid service truck count is up to 1,003 units. Fluid service truck hours are up 8% this year.

The company saw surprise strength in December (which is really just less flaccid weakness, pretending). Instead of the forecasted 7-8% drop in revenues that were expected, they anticipate they only saw a 6-7% drop.

This is all good and well and hearsay. What caught my eye was that they are also reporting their customers are reporting increases in 2014 spending. Now that’s useful to me.

The natural gas/well servicing industry was more or less crushed in 2011 thanks to generally bad dealings by one Aubrey McClendon. That and a half dozen other idiotic moves saddled CHK investors with 60% equity losses, taking the company to par with the lows set in 2009 (which is saying something).

This left most small well servicing firms in quite a predicament. You see, as a group they were pretty much a “no cash on hand” industry. There were only a few, like BAS, that had adequate financing to weather the storm.

A sea of mergers and acquisitions later (not to mention a few major bankruptcies; looking your way PSN.TO) and we may be ready to get back to fair weather. The natural gas spot price has largely recovered. And now BAS is reporting that client spending is looking up.

Ouch, NRP Just Fell 17%

My NRP coal partnership got blasted to the tune of 17% after announcing the coal market continued to weaken in 2013, against their expectation. In response to the weak sales of power production and metallurgical coal, NRP’s board announced a 36% reduction in distributions.

This hurts, as I guessed that $20 would average the low mark in the name. Clearly, I was wrong.

I am not selling NRP, though (not yet, at least). My primary reason for buying into NRP was more predicated on coal being a very inexpensive sector to get exposure to and the medium term unlikelihood that the US or global economies will be able to pivot away from coal quickly.

I’ll ride this out for a little bit and see where it goes. There’s been long speculation that NRP may have to cut its distribution, because their debt level is high and their board has ambitious goals to diversify their royalty stream into a variety of commodities, such as raw materials for glass or gas and oil.

The board has reaffirmed they don’t think the partnership is at risk of violating bond covenants, and I think the five year forecast distribution is more likely to contain upside surprises.

NRP is sinking me ~1.5%, which is actually being generously offset by gains elsewhere. NRP was a smaller position than, say, CCJ or BAS. For the day, I am down just ~.5% so far. But we’ll see if NRP doesn’t bleed out hard into the close

Monetary Policy Remains Overwhelmingly Accommodative (And Outlook)

The fed decision to test the waters with a taper while I was away did surprise me, somewhat. Yet it did not phase me much and so I elected to remain on vacation, silent on the issue.

I would state now in hindsight that a $5B per month taper (with as much as another $5-10B in the works) would still put the Federal Reserve on path to add another ~$800B to its balance sheet in 2014. This remains colossal and would have the Fed assets outstanding at just under $5 Trillion by 2015.

They may very well have tapered by $5B/month just because they were running out of things to buy…(laughter)

If I were to state things that concern me as potential impediments to the US economy and growth, they would list (1) consumer slowdown from budget impacts (pension, healthcare costs, rents/mortgage, increased retirement contributions, etc), (2) foreign existential shocks (EU breakup, Asian crisis, similar collapse that disrupts foreign trade) – where exactly did the EU government debt go and why is it now suddenly not an issue? Who is buying it (ECB, Fed, banking scheme, inter-government trade imbalances, etc)? And what stops non-payment concerns from popping up again in the future? and (3) the election of a Republican majority

But banking solvency just isn’t on that list right now. Neither is inflation, really, although long term prospects of an uncontrollable outbreak of inflation remains a viable possibility. With credit expansion in this country limited to growth of government balance sheets, deflationary pressure is set to commence…until it doesn’t. In the meantime, another ~$1 Trillion of free money to those closest to the trough will keep a major disruption of financial assets here at home as a low probability outcome. Of course, this bodes ill for the “wealth equality” lot, but they’re too dumb to call the system out on that, so we maintain the course.

Concerns aside, I am optimistic. Recessions don’t last forever, and my concerns are outweighed by hope in outlook. I am very long (no margin) and prepared to reap the rewards of economic growth. It’s been almost six years; the system has been on a hyperactive outlook for problems which greatly reduces the likelihood that a real “Black Swan” manages to crop up. It could still happen of course, but with hundreds of thousands of financial professionals calling bubbles as quickly as problems crop up, and a full time central banking staff armed with an unlimited supply of money attacking them at first sight, how exactly is a crisis supposed to materialize from all of this?

The only room for crisis in the US is rampant commodity/asset appreciation, which remains benign. That or an elsewise major shock to the consumer. Financial assets and liquidity issues are covered.

Now, that being said, historically we haven’t had a period longer than 10 years without a recession since at least 1789 (and probably not since long before that either – I just lack records to verify a more robust claim). I’d say the expectation of a correction since the Great Depression is 5-10 years with occasional 1-3 year shocks intermittently. We’re past the small shocks phase, which would put the expectation at right about where we’re at.

These times are unprecedented and the support the Fed is willing to lend the markets (unlike any time in recorded history) makes me think we blow through the averages. I want to say this ship will have the wind to sail to years seven, eight or nine, uninterrupted. We may even match the record holder of 10 or above.

However, it would be foolhardy to doubt another recession will most likely crop up before 2020. The ever growing levels of margin debt to buy equities may well be the first sign of the beginning of the final run before that. Of course it could be nothing.

My belief then is that a long commitment remains the way to go. I have been positively surprised by recent developments that have overridden prior comments on wanting to have a larger cash position by about this time (end of 2013) that I made late last year. However, as gains are taken, a portion should begun to be set aside, starting sometime mid 2014 to early 2015. This should create a reserve build-up of steadily marching intervals (10-20%, with a 1-2% increase every month topping out at around 40-50% of ones account value) sometime around late 2015 to early 2016.

At such time, a second hard look should be had. Earlier and exceptional strength should trigger a reassessment of these statements. Casual to quality growth does not necessarily change them. A major weakness (such as a shock of a GOP majority and fear of monetary policy interference) of course may necessitate a sudden course change.

My most hated places to invest are land/real estate (excluding multifamily or renting derived), oil companies (excluding natural gas predominated), and retail (excluding facilitation to the ultra-rich).

My favorite places center around natural gas production expansion, uranium, coal, multifamily REITs, and I remain interested in holding physical precious metals in a full position in the event an inflation shock from significant expansion in credit hits the economy.

I’m indifferent to the insurance market – especially health insurance. It could swing either way; they crawled into bed with the devil so it’s all political at this point. On the one hand, the entire market is shifting in wild and unpredictable ways. On the other, the feds are rigging the game in the insurance companies favor. Just stay away.

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