Oil Markets Are Destroying Themselves

3,416 views

We’re still in the midst of watching the oil industry unravel in spectacular fashion. I do not feel comfortable even uttering the word “bottom”, not even in jest, for the fear the entire structure would unwind and usher in $10 oil for two decades.

We need more expensive oil. I know you do not want to hear that; why just a few weeks ago I saw a long dormant Hummer H3 roaming the tundra planes of southeast Michigan. A once formidable species, these vehicles could once be seen all across the North American continent.

Their reemergence was a startling sign. Gasoline has gotten cheap.

It is comforting to think of these lower input costs as an unchallenged blessing to America. It is more complicated than that, I am afraid.

High oil prices have been one of very few elements that has actually helped foster stability in third world countries. Watching the recent turmoil and wars, it is easy to forget just how unnaturally peaceful the most recent decades have been in the grand scheme of things. Oil money has been used to weave the social fabric in these places and if oil prices stay low for a sustained period, we are going to see much more egregious cases of foreign sovereign collapse.

Oil prices have also driven the US recovery. The shale revolution was named thusly for a reason; job growth in the US would not have been possible without the advances in shale oil. This is a major pillar of the US recovery and without it our economy is going to suffer. High input costs were a minor inconvenience that came with job growth.

And of course there is the euro. The euro may just be the cause of the oil collapse in and of itself. I cannot say for certain yet, but I am suspicious. The euro and dollar are now almost at parity and this has crippled US exporters. If our own markets are suddenly sloshing around with oil to spare, it is because we are suddenly priced out of foreign markets. This is a precarious barrier…how cheap would oil need to be in this country to enable exporters to compete against euro/dollar parity? The dollar is going to isolate our business and tank us if we let this continue.

We need to start taking steps to regain stability. Bernanke would have never let this happen. Yellen is pushing for normalization of policy and this is not a bad thing. But they are far too comfortable watching a currency move like this happen with our probably largest trade group. We need a weaker dollar and we need more expensive oil and we need it now.

Now, because oil is so cheap, struggling shale producers are clocking overtime to meet payments. This is the exact opposite of what the oil markets need to find a bottom – a glut of even more oil.

In addition to addressing currency and demand issues, we really need a JP Morgan figure to emerge and start brokering some M&A moves that stitch up the supply side. Oil markets are leaking supply uncontrollably and this is going to cause extensive damage if not treated like the dire risk that it is.

The weak hands need to be either bought out or flushed or secured with long term financing. If we can’t shut some of these wells off, we’re going to have irreparable damage on our hands.

EURUSD Parity Is Nearly Here – A Quick Look Back

2,454 views

There was a time just a few years ago when it was quite fashionable to talk about the European Debt Crisis. Why, we would wake up in the morning, have a spot of tea, some toast and some eggs, then jabber on until noon of eurocrises and pending doom of “The Old World”.

Around that time, I made a prediction that the euro would trade to parity against the dollar. It wasn’t something I could really trade on, since the only available products were untrustworthy scams and the timeline was long and unpredictable.

Here’s the link to the last time I mentioned the call, back in 2012. I suspended it because the then idiot Tea Party freshmen decided to destroy the credibility of the US government and we were still in the middle of easing programs designed to destroy the US dollar.

But I warned then, the future would be full of sudden shocks where the EURUSD would be prone to collapse and near parity. Well, here we are, with the EURUSD rate just now hitting 1.07 today.

This is the key reason why our markets are so volatile right now; especially true for commodities. Oil doesn’t know up from down specifically. The balance of trade is being thrown off.

This ends with stability of currencies. We don’t need the old EURUSD range back per se. We just need the bleeding to stop so we can find a new equilibrium.

The Recovery On Nobody’s Radar

1,526 views

Yesterday I received reports that uranium U308 spot prices stood at $39.25 per pound as of March 2, 2015. This is a ferocious recovery from the lows of $28.00 in the middle of last year; a rally of 40%.

We are still at least another 50% short of where uranium spot was trading when the Fukushima reactor melted down. Still, this price recovery is constructive.

The recovery in uranium miners has taken longer than I expected. Certainly I was aware that this might happen, but I took early positioning because I figured there were better odds of the market pricing in a recovery early on. Instead, fearing the “Chernobyl Syndrome”, the market curled up into a fetal position and didn’t move for four years.

I remain long CCJ and, despite being very disappointed with the short sighted antics of their upper management, am willing to continue holding out for gains. CCJ’s operations continue to perform beyond reasonable expectations, all things considered.

After CCJ hits $30, I will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Canadian tax agency to offset the cost of chaining their Board of Directors and tossing them into a pit of despair.

It’s Shocking Because It’s Normal

1,611 views

Today BAS was up 4.5%. I’d normally be elated by this kind of action, but I am not.

Because last Wednesday BAS was 20% lower. And the week before that BAS was where it is today. And the week before that BAS was 20% lower.

In fact I’d say generally speaking that watching a stock ratchet between $5 and $8 is a generally tempestuous experience that does things to mans sanity. Dark things. Quiet things.

Dark, quiet things.

I want those dark things to be done to oil short sellers now. He says to himself, slowly rocking in his 9th floor prison.

OMAB 4Q Results Were Strong

2,622 views

I purchased OMAB, a Mexican airline company, is December of last year. OMAB has been putting up strong performance numbers and yet remains very much off the radar of most investors. They have control of some key geographical regions; hotspot destinations for vacationers.

Passenger traffic grew greater than 14% alone in the fourth quarter of 2014, year over year. The 2014 year showed passenger growth of greater than 10% – accelerating into year end.

Income from operations grew 56% in the fourth quarter of 2014 year over year, and total 2014 income increased 23%. Revenues grew 6% in the fourth quarter versus 9% for the 2014 year. Adjusted EBITA were up 14% in the fourth quarter and up 13% year over year.

OMAB is growing fast and aggressively and yet is still priced very competitively.

Thanks to lower fuel prices, OMAB is blessed with strong wind behind their sales. You could also reasonably make the case that stronger consumers are finally making time for long put-off vacations. OMAB is growing amenities in airport locations to expand non-core revenue.

Naturally I am looking forward to see how they do in 2015.

Note: I apologize for being somewhat absent the past few weeks. My wife had some health complications which have consumed vast amounts of my time.

BAS Earnings Breakdown

3,388 views

I am watching BAS very closely, for reasons that should be plain. I dug into the most reason filing and have a few observations.

BAS lost $0.45 per share in the most recent quarter ($0.56 per share after further impairment of goodwill), driven by business disruption for lower prices and extreme cold weather. However, this loss was driven entirely by write downs and does not appear to have consumed cash.

Without asset impairment BAS had earnings of $0.11 per share. As of right now BAS operations appear to be conserving cashflow well. The most recent quarter, expenses exceeded revenues by about $10 million. BAS has $59.5 million in depreciation and amortization, leading me to believe that BAS operations are still cash flow positive.

BAS is aggressively cutting into payroll, reducing employees by 10% in the most recent quarter. They are negotiating with their customers, offering concessions to defend business, and even managed to mildly grow revenues in the most recent quarter as a result.

I do not expect BAS to hold this performance. That is asking too much. They are currently expecting revenues to decline by 21% to 26% sequentially. That is an enormous drop and more losses should be expected.

For the moment, BAS is well capitalized. They have $80 million in cash and an addition $233 million in revolving credit.

It is my belief that BAS will weather the storm. I trust their management to make the right moves here; they have done so before so this is not new territory for them. They are watching cash flows closely and will keep expenses in or around those levels to preserve the business.

I believe that BAS will succeed in keeping cash burn to some level that staves off any insolvency concerns for some years, thereby allowing them to outlast the recent downturn in oil prices. I also believe that BAS has competitors that are in much worse position than BAS.

BAS will survive, and BAS will flourish in the aftermath of this oil industry crisis.

Oil Markets Are Destroying Themselves

3,416 views

We’re still in the midst of watching the oil industry unravel in spectacular fashion. I do not feel comfortable even uttering the word “bottom”, not even in jest, for the fear the entire structure would unwind and usher in $10 oil for two decades.

We need more expensive oil. I know you do not want to hear that; why just a few weeks ago I saw a long dormant Hummer H3 roaming the tundra planes of southeast Michigan. A once formidable species, these vehicles could once be seen all across the North American continent.

Their reemergence was a startling sign. Gasoline has gotten cheap.

It is comforting to think of these lower input costs as an unchallenged blessing to America. It is more complicated than that, I am afraid.

High oil prices have been one of very few elements that has actually helped foster stability in third world countries. Watching the recent turmoil and wars, it is easy to forget just how unnaturally peaceful the most recent decades have been in the grand scheme of things. Oil money has been used to weave the social fabric in these places and if oil prices stay low for a sustained period, we are going to see much more egregious cases of foreign sovereign collapse.

Oil prices have also driven the US recovery. The shale revolution was named thusly for a reason; job growth in the US would not have been possible without the advances in shale oil. This is a major pillar of the US recovery and without it our economy is going to suffer. High input costs were a minor inconvenience that came with job growth.

And of course there is the euro. The euro may just be the cause of the oil collapse in and of itself. I cannot say for certain yet, but I am suspicious. The euro and dollar are now almost at parity and this has crippled US exporters. If our own markets are suddenly sloshing around with oil to spare, it is because we are suddenly priced out of foreign markets. This is a precarious barrier…how cheap would oil need to be in this country to enable exporters to compete against euro/dollar parity? The dollar is going to isolate our business and tank us if we let this continue.

We need to start taking steps to regain stability. Bernanke would have never let this happen. Yellen is pushing for normalization of policy and this is not a bad thing. But they are far too comfortable watching a currency move like this happen with our probably largest trade group. We need a weaker dollar and we need more expensive oil and we need it now.

Now, because oil is so cheap, struggling shale producers are clocking overtime to meet payments. This is the exact opposite of what the oil markets need to find a bottom – a glut of even more oil.

In addition to addressing currency and demand issues, we really need a JP Morgan figure to emerge and start brokering some M&A moves that stitch up the supply side. Oil markets are leaking supply uncontrollably and this is going to cause extensive damage if not treated like the dire risk that it is.

The weak hands need to be either bought out or flushed or secured with long term financing. If we can’t shut some of these wells off, we’re going to have irreparable damage on our hands.

EURUSD Parity Is Nearly Here – A Quick Look Back

2,454 views

There was a time just a few years ago when it was quite fashionable to talk about the European Debt Crisis. Why, we would wake up in the morning, have a spot of tea, some toast and some eggs, then jabber on until noon of eurocrises and pending doom of “The Old World”.

Around that time, I made a prediction that the euro would trade to parity against the dollar. It wasn’t something I could really trade on, since the only available products were untrustworthy scams and the timeline was long and unpredictable.

Here’s the link to the last time I mentioned the call, back in 2012. I suspended it because the then idiot Tea Party freshmen decided to destroy the credibility of the US government and we were still in the middle of easing programs designed to destroy the US dollar.

But I warned then, the future would be full of sudden shocks where the EURUSD would be prone to collapse and near parity. Well, here we are, with the EURUSD rate just now hitting 1.07 today.

This is the key reason why our markets are so volatile right now; especially true for commodities. Oil doesn’t know up from down specifically. The balance of trade is being thrown off.

This ends with stability of currencies. We don’t need the old EURUSD range back per se. We just need the bleeding to stop so we can find a new equilibrium.

The Recovery On Nobody’s Radar

1,526 views

Yesterday I received reports that uranium U308 spot prices stood at $39.25 per pound as of March 2, 2015. This is a ferocious recovery from the lows of $28.00 in the middle of last year; a rally of 40%.

We are still at least another 50% short of where uranium spot was trading when the Fukushima reactor melted down. Still, this price recovery is constructive.

The recovery in uranium miners has taken longer than I expected. Certainly I was aware that this might happen, but I took early positioning because I figured there were better odds of the market pricing in a recovery early on. Instead, fearing the “Chernobyl Syndrome”, the market curled up into a fetal position and didn’t move for four years.

I remain long CCJ and, despite being very disappointed with the short sighted antics of their upper management, am willing to continue holding out for gains. CCJ’s operations continue to perform beyond reasonable expectations, all things considered.

After CCJ hits $30, I will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Canadian tax agency to offset the cost of chaining their Board of Directors and tossing them into a pit of despair.

It’s Shocking Because It’s Normal

1,611 views

Today BAS was up 4.5%. I’d normally be elated by this kind of action, but I am not.

Because last Wednesday BAS was 20% lower. And the week before that BAS was where it is today. And the week before that BAS was 20% lower.

In fact I’d say generally speaking that watching a stock ratchet between $5 and $8 is a generally tempestuous experience that does things to mans sanity. Dark things. Quiet things.

Dark, quiet things.

I want those dark things to be done to oil short sellers now. He says to himself, slowly rocking in his 9th floor prison.

OMAB 4Q Results Were Strong

2,622 views

I purchased OMAB, a Mexican airline company, is December of last year. OMAB has been putting up strong performance numbers and yet remains very much off the radar of most investors. They have control of some key geographical regions; hotspot destinations for vacationers.

Passenger traffic grew greater than 14% alone in the fourth quarter of 2014, year over year. The 2014 year showed passenger growth of greater than 10% – accelerating into year end.

Income from operations grew 56% in the fourth quarter of 2014 year over year, and total 2014 income increased 23%. Revenues grew 6% in the fourth quarter versus 9% for the 2014 year. Adjusted EBITA were up 14% in the fourth quarter and up 13% year over year.

OMAB is growing fast and aggressively and yet is still priced very competitively.

Thanks to lower fuel prices, OMAB is blessed with strong wind behind their sales. You could also reasonably make the case that stronger consumers are finally making time for long put-off vacations. OMAB is growing amenities in airport locations to expand non-core revenue.

Naturally I am looking forward to see how they do in 2015.

Note: I apologize for being somewhat absent the past few weeks. My wife had some health complications which have consumed vast amounts of my time.

BAS Earnings Breakdown

3,388 views

I am watching BAS very closely, for reasons that should be plain. I dug into the most reason filing and have a few observations.

BAS lost $0.45 per share in the most recent quarter ($0.56 per share after further impairment of goodwill), driven by business disruption for lower prices and extreme cold weather. However, this loss was driven entirely by write downs and does not appear to have consumed cash.

Without asset impairment BAS had earnings of $0.11 per share. As of right now BAS operations appear to be conserving cashflow well. The most recent quarter, expenses exceeded revenues by about $10 million. BAS has $59.5 million in depreciation and amortization, leading me to believe that BAS operations are still cash flow positive.

BAS is aggressively cutting into payroll, reducing employees by 10% in the most recent quarter. They are negotiating with their customers, offering concessions to defend business, and even managed to mildly grow revenues in the most recent quarter as a result.

I do not expect BAS to hold this performance. That is asking too much. They are currently expecting revenues to decline by 21% to 26% sequentially. That is an enormous drop and more losses should be expected.

For the moment, BAS is well capitalized. They have $80 million in cash and an addition $233 million in revolving credit.

It is my belief that BAS will weather the storm. I trust their management to make the right moves here; they have done so before so this is not new territory for them. They are watching cash flows closely and will keep expenses in or around those levels to preserve the business.

I believe that BAS will succeed in keeping cash burn to some level that staves off any insolvency concerns for some years, thereby allowing them to outlast the recent downturn in oil prices. I also believe that BAS has competitors that are in much worse position than BAS.

BAS will survive, and BAS will flourish in the aftermath of this oil industry crisis.

Previous Posts by Mr. Cain Thaler