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Uranium Prices May Have Finally Bottomed

I know, I’m sorry for the tap out title on this piece. It is spineless and cowardly. But I’ve gotten my hopes up enough times now, just to watch uranium prices breach new lows, that I will not tag along again.

It does appear, based on the very thinly traded reporting I have access to, that pricing for uranium fuel has increased dramatically in the past few weeks from around $28 per pound, to around $32 per pound.

This is of course nowhere near the $50 level it was at just a few short years ago. However, steps are to be taken incrementally. I want to see this hold up, then wait and see some more.

CCJ remains my only uranium play; I made a short trade in UEC for a wash earlier this year and decided the time was not right for the small miners.

My earliest prediction following the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown was that, if a V shape recovery could not quickly follow the price deflation, then at or around the three year anniversary would mark the recovery in nuclear fuel investments.

So far this year, those hopes have not been met. But there is still time; a few months later is not much off, and I could live with a year or two even…provided the rewards are rich enough.

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Death Is Coming For Me

Sure my account doesn’t really show the anguish I am expecting yet, but that means little. You can be sure, the black hooded man is just around the corner, waiting to carry me off.

What am I talking about?

Check out uranium spot prices. I’m seeing spot now is down to $28 per pound. This floorless plunge cannot be hinting of pleasantries awaiting. We are experiencing bottomless pit action here; the screams of comrades ever echoing their misplaced footing.

There can be only one meaning behind this level of gore; someone(s) have finally been cashed out by the no sales nature of uranium brokerage these days. They are desperate for a bid – any bid – just something to keep the doors open.

This ends in a full scale liquidation or fire sales acquisitions, folks.

And to complete the cycle, Japan announced that their early nuclear restart aspirations have been put on notice by a low circuit court, which ruled against the restarts based on their status as nuclear safety experts…

A preliminary look says the court doesn’t actually have the authority to stop anything. Japan’s energy cabinet has already reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to restart the reactors, more or less brushing aside the court.

But this is bad publicity. Public opinion in Japan remains slated against nuclear power. I’m of the mind they still go through with it (they have to), but it’s going to be a very public, bitter contest.

For the moment, having as much CCJ stock as I do (mentioning CCJ’s own Canadian tax complications), plus UEC on the side, I can only presume the Devil is in wait to collect my soul.

Let’s not oblige him…

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BAS Just Saved My Day

If not for Basic Energy Services turning on a dime and sprinting away from the rest of the trash that comprises this trading session, I would be having a pretty bad day.

UEC is down over 50% since I bought it. Mind you, as I have stated repeatedly, it is a small position. At its peak, it was under 5% of my account. So I’m not panicked here. But damn it, that was my 5%.

Give me my money back.

The trouble with the uranium miners (and the reason I’ve been very adamant up until now to just keep it simple and avoid the smaller businesses) is pretty forwardly summed up in UEC’s latest filing. They sold $0.00 in revenue in the first three months of 2014.

That’s $0.00.

The 2014 YEAR OF URANIUM BLISS (or whatever the hell I called it) …has been cancelled. Uranium spot just nosedived this week and, even though I suspect this flash crash is nearer the end of the turmoil, that kind of godless price action can only portend one thing.

Somebody is about to get liquidated.

I just pray it isn’t UEC.

CCJ is treading water daily. It’s all she can do to hold the line, but one false move and it’s a quick list to the side and down she goes.

The rest of my positions are holding up fairly well, actually. The multifamily theme remains tantalizing, particularly now that the primary argument against them – a resurgence in homeownership rates and a drop in occupancy for rentals – is such obvious bunk. AEC and MAA should continue to perform.

NRP has held up decent enough, following the 25% washout it took this year. That’s probably been my worst idea so far in 2014. But they are getting things under control, I have a hunch coal may be a terrific investment here, and I get to collect 8% annually while I wait.

I’m definitely not +10% for the year anymore, but there’s another 8 months to make something happen yet. My fear isn’t my positions, it’s what consequence an entire index of investors getting their combined comeuppance will have on me.

The NASDAQ traders got stupid. Real stupid. Will that spill over to me? It’s looking likely.

Like it or not, the stock market tends to take on a real flare of the vineyard effect. You pop up five vineyards next to each other, they all do well. Plenty of room to visit each, for the patrons. In fact, it draws in more business.

But if one of those bastards let’s an infestation go unattended; suddenly you have nothing but tears and reek wine.

Tesla earnings are out after the bell. Let’s see what happens there.

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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.

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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.

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BAS Continuing The Epic Run

Check out Basic Energy Services, up another 4.5%, flirting with $27.00 as it steadily pounds its way to $30.00.

HCLP is playfully tagging along, after the doldrums took it down back below $40.00 this week. And well it should – they’re in the same industry after all. What’s good for BAS is great for HCLP.

Uranium is slack and UEC is dying (very small position). CCJ is back to it’s old range, and I am saddened by that.

But this is a buying opportunity make no mistake of that.

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