Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Best Investment Opportunities Are Hard to Hold On!

A fantastic breaking news from PAL, North American Palladium, on the evening of April 29, 2008 prompted me to write this article. Mean while the agriculture sell off in the past two days requires some explanation since my last article. Of course, all eyes are on FSLR on Wednesday for their earnings release. You remember that I predict that FSLR could go out of business altogether in a few years, due to a global tellurium shortage. Goldman Saches (GS) sold off virtually their entire stake in FSLR at the end of last year, while Piper Jaffray (PJC) issued an upgrade on FSLR. This market is a strange place, isn't it? But we all know today's market is extremely rigged. If PJC upgraded FSLR to $340 target, then it will be pumped to that target. But the reality will prevail at the end of day. How many people even bother to contact FSLR and asked for a quantitative clarification on their tellurium supply? I am still waiting for a response from them and I am ready to acknowledge mistake if they can show me with data they have adequate tellurium supply. I encourage them to go public on the tellurium issue!

But first the breaking news, a rare world record breaking event that does not happen often. With no fanfair at all, PAL announced the drilling result from their Offset High Grade Zone (OHGZ), and listed a bounch of boring numbers. Few people paid attention. But those are truly stunning numbers that made me fall off the chair. Because those results exceeded the wildest dream. They break the old record of the highest grade PGM mine bodies. PAL can now proudly claim they now own the richest PGM mine in the whole world, in terms of grams of PGM metals per ton ores. And it's right in their backyard, just a few hundred feet away!!!

Let me explain it in lay man's term. Drill hole 07-007, for example, reveals PGM grade as high as 29.69 grams per ton, or almost one troy ounce per ton. 29.69 grams per ton!!!

How good is that grade? We know South Africa is the world's largest PGM metal producer, supplies 85% of the world's platinum and 35% of palladium. But typical ore grade of South African PGM ores are no more than 4 to 5 grams of PGM per ton ores. They are making handsome profit only thanks to a much higher percentage of platinum versus palladium. The Russian Norilsk (NILSY) nickel mine, the largest palladium producer in the whole world, boasts a PGM grade more than twice that of South African's. but Norilsk mine's PGM grade is only 10 grams per ton.

The Stillwater Mining Company, SWC, mines a structure called J-M Reef, proudly declared on their web site that they own the world's highest-grade known ore body of platinum group metals. So how high is highest? In recent quarterly reports SWC was strugglng with ore grade of approximately 0.46 to 0.50 ounces of PGM per ton, or 15 grams per ton. That ore grade made SWC the world's No. 1 in PGM ore grade.

PAL is producing metals from ores as low as 5.66 grams per ton in its underground mine, and 2 grams per ton in its open pit mine. The operation wouldn't even be economical if not because of the much higher base metal contents. But now this poor Cinderella suddenly becomes a princess! PAL will be mining up to 30 grams per ton of ore, instead of 2 grams/ton, in the near future! That completely changed the picture.

What a dramatic new development, right at a time when PAL stock price was hammered to the ground by mindless short sellers in recent weeks. I have been holding my PAL shares tight and now the patience paid off. People! It's time. Rush in to buy! It's rare to have an opportunity to buy the world's richest PGM mine, and at a price so dirt cheap it's barely above book value!

No wonder PAL insiders have been quietly buying up shares from open market, according to recent filings. They are not shy to tell the world that they have full confidence in this company's bright future. The new discovery of the world's richest PGM mines, is just icing on the cake!

The stock price of PAL has seem some nerve wrecking movement in recent months. From the high of $12+ in may 2007 when Cramer pitched PAL as the best nickel player, to the heart breaking plummet to the low $3-ish in mid December, 07, the struggle on the bottom till mid January, 08, and then a dramatic and powerful rally all the way to $9, and then fall back in the metals correction to the current low of $4.62. I have been holding firm during all the time, and struggled to add shares.

Why do I hold PAL so firm during the turbulent volatility? Because I truly believe in Warren Buffett's investment philosophy, and because I learned my lessons in PCU, and most recently in JRCC. Both stocks were some of my best holdings and I made money in them, but far from what I could have made, just becaue I could not hold for long term.

I researched copper companies in early 2006 after I discovered the topic of "Peak Copper". I was stunned to find PCU, at an incredibly low P/E of only 7.0, plus it pays a dividend as high as 10% a year. I just couldn't believe my eyes. After verifying the facts I immediately put more than half of my money into PCU. That was a split and dividend adjusted price of $28.50. Today PCU is at $111.53. Did I made 391% from PCU? No. I was scared off during the commodity correction in the summer of 2006, and sold off. Made probably 25%. Not much after paying Uncle Sam. In early 2007 I bought PCU again, and then sold in a few weeks for a 10% gain, because I perceive there were better opportunities in something else. PCU proceeded to more than doubled from where I last sold it. So PCU was a very good stock to own but I barely get much return from it because I could not hold for long term.

The most heart breaking example is the recent JRCC, a coal mining company. I watched it for a few months and finally spend 1/3 of my 401K to load up JRCC at $4. Perfect timing. Then as JRCC approached $8, I figured there may be a correction and so I sold before it hit $8. Again perfect timing. I missed the peak by just one day. JRCC proceeded to correct all the way down to $4.76 on Nov. 19, losing almost all of its gain since $4. I was watching it that day, and figured it should be a buying opportunity. But I was not in a position to buy although the timing looked good. JRCC never looked back and rallyed all the way to $25+ recently, and I could only watch it empty handed. What a heart breaking lesson learned! Greatest investors like Warren Buffett kept telling us, do your own due diligence study, understand what you buy, and do not be swayed by irrational reactions of Mr. Market, hold patiently for long term. Blindly following the mobs, the prefered style of investment for the majority of market participants, is not much better than gambling. Fundamental based long term investment strategy is the only successful money making investment strategy. Patience is easily said than done. Holding at happy times is no patience. Being able to hold through the lows, that is what's called patience. Why there is only one Warren Buffett? It is not because he is particularly smart. He looks like an average IQ guy. But his iron cold patience in investing is nobody's match.

Now, back to the agriculture sector. In the previous article, I point out that food grain products have limited room for upward price movement, because food is quite price elastic. Poorest population, which is the majority, MUST cut back on higher prices, because they simply do not have enough money to purchase food. Likewise, I believe the fertilizers are probably over-prices, and that stocks like POT, MOS, AGU etc., are probably already over-priced as the investor's perception is based on perception of unlimited growth of these companies, which is simply not realistic. I also suspected that the global potash cartels deliberately limit production in order to raise price, which could hurt them in long term.

It looks like in the past few days, food grains see a big sell off, as well as the fertilizer sector. Even though I expressed skepticism in the first place, I do not believe recent market move is a confirmation of my skepticism yet. My vew is it's just some normal market volatility and correction, not a trend shift. Has the global food supply suddenly become abundant, or the fertilizers? Definitely NOT. I see grain prices to continue to remain high and volatile. The situation will NOT change until the coming harvest. Likewise, fertilizer players are likely to rally again. Now is not time to short any fertilizer players. The best time will probably be around harvest time. So let's wait and see.

I see POT, MOS, AGU has some more room to go up. But I would rather stick to PAL, thanks to the stunning announcement of the drill result yesterday. Remember, SWC will announce Q1,08 earnings on May 8th, and PAL on May 12th. For the first time, the great PGM metals rally which took off at late January, will finally be reflected in the quarterly performance. So now is really the best time to get on board. Nothing in the bullish fundamentals of the metals has been changed. We will be going higher for several years.

P.S. The author is heavily invested in PAL and SWC, and currently hold no short position in FSLR but will be shorting FSLR soon.


Anonymous said...

this man called the shots on PAL 100%. he noticed the the insider buy calls @ 7.50 and 10.00 calls last week. he related to the unusual high # of calls being bought. turns out, insiders knew and were buying. it's hard to drill 50 core samples and keep it a secret it also is not done over night. playing dumb buy management was also in the mix. they knew what thy had and wanted to profit as much and long as they coul. well, the cats out of the bag now, no more games, hats off to you sir u hit the nail on the head. the man knows his stuff. looking forward to seeing his reserve # crunch...good luck, i think we longs have plenty now....fasten ur seatbelt folks, rocketship to the moon leaves shortly.... and away we go.....

JJ2000426 said...

The alchemist forecast of precious metals in 2008, by a dozen or so metals analysts:

Keep in mind that virtually ALL metals analysts predicted the palladium market totally wrong, and consistently wrong for 6 years in a row since 2003. They all thought palladium market should be bearish due to the perceived over-supply thanks to the Russian palladium stockpile sale. But palladium rallied. Guess now what will happen as the Russians are not selling any more stockpile?

JJ2000426 said...

The fortis report on PGM fundamentals. Take it with a grain of salt.

MeTOo1o5 said...

Hi there. Thanks so much for your work. I've learned a lot by reading your blog these past few hours.

I wonder if there is time when you would be willing to talk to me tomorrow (Sunday). I am on Pacific time. If so, drop me a line at rogerclim(at or just call at (323-- 336.3 566. If you've got a few minutes, I'd love to pick your brain a bit. I manage a small partnership.

Also, perhaps you might be interested for some clarification on Buffett's view on a concentrated positions. Perhaps you know this already and I hope not to turn you off with this comment, but your representation below isn't quite his view. As a former physicist, I am sure you will be interested in the Kelly Criterion, which is about as good of a mathematical criterion as you can arrive at, and is written up all over the web.

JJ2000426 said...


I will contact you if I find a little bit time to chat. But always feel free to email me at tellurium_001 at yahoo dotcom. Thanks for mentioning Kelly Criterion. Will look it up on the web.

I am reading the GFMS presentation on PGM 2008.

Anonymous said...

Glad you put up a new post. I've been waiting, lol

Anonymous said...

Anthony--congrats on some great analysis and for taking the time to share. I'm slowly digesting about one-tenth of what you have to offer, but enjoy every bit. Latest--kudos on ENER. Separately, any fresh insights into PAL? And I wanted to know if you have a fundamental / valuation take on SDTH. The story on the surface sounds good, but I'm sure is deserved of better analysis than I can get from doing simple fundamental ratios. Cheers, Chris

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Anonymous said...

"I am still waiting for a response from them and I am ready to acknowledge mistake if they can show me with data they have adequate tellurium supply. I encourage them to go public on the tellurium issue!

FSLR seem to be interested in an Australian company called Capital Mining. Their last announcement indicated FSLR were looking at a possible tellurium deposit they are drilling on in New South Wales.

45andOut said...

I don't understand. I've looked at the finance reports for PAL and they have lost money every year for at least the last 3 years. Is there something I'm missing?

JJ2000426 said...

Kudos on the tip of Capital Mining. How did you find out!!! You are right. I found this interesting item on the web:

Very interesting development.

Stock And Bond Brokers said...

Good article , you make some interesting points .

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Robin Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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