Lost Principles

By: Olivier Garret | Wed, Nov 26, 2008
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As the economic crisis continues to unfold, recently a sense of uncertainty has begun to pervade the market. Even dyed-in-the-wool risk takers admit that they don't know what to think anymore. Inflation, deflation, recession or depression - there are so many vagaries that it appears to be anyone's guess what will happen next.

Despite the current, volatile environment, though, our expert team at Casey Research maintain their core prediction: that a highly inflationary cycle is not far off. While we, along with several external experts, continuously review our assumptions and conclusions and encourage dissenting opinions and analysis to avoid biased conclusions, so far we keep returning to our views about what's coming. That said, the hardest thing to predict is not what will happen, but when.

The way I see it, the swift, far-reaching and mostly ill-conceived reactions from most of the world's governments under the leadership of two apprentice sorcerers (Bernanke and Paulson) have until now resulted in a widespread run for an exit to nowhere, a deep credit freeze, and total and indiscriminate mistrust in the market and all of its players.

The fact remains that in the last year, many principles that have long been rooted in the success of capitalism have been thrown out of the window.

No wonder economic actors are wreaking havoc as they race for shelter.

Add to this the fact that all natural resources have been hammered by the combination of a credit freeze and lower real and anticipated demand from most industrial nations.

Finally, junior exploration stocks - being very thinly traded and rightfully considered to be in a higher risk class -- have been hammered twice as hard as the rest of the markets (hence the performance of the TSX-V, which has lost 76% in the last year and 30% in the past 30 days alone). The fact that many hedge funds had to unwind large positions in such a small market certainly did not help values.

What does this mean for investors in this market?

We all have suffered significant losses in our portfolios, and although our choices may have reduced some of the downside, quality companies have been hit almost as hard as fly-by-night juniors with no future.

Several of our companies are trading at or below cash value and get no goodwill for the significant assets and outstanding management teams they have assembled.

Although there is no way to tell when we will hit a bottom in these markets, we believe that once tax-loss selling season is over and reality settles in, we will see the beginning of a slow recovery process for the best of the juniors. Investors who have the ability to stay the course and are invested in the highest-quality juniors will recover from their losses and benefit from what will eventually be another bull market in commodities.

Precious metals and agriculture, followed by certain segments of the energy sector, will lead the way to widespread price increases across the range of commodities. While we can't predict the exact timing of this run, the fundamentals are in place once the world economies take a turn for the better or at least stabilize somewhat.

Here is why:

In the last edition of Casey Energy Opportunities, Marin Katusa pondered how the U.S. is going to replace the supply of uranium when the HEU program with Russia is set to expire in 2013. The answer is that the U.S. will struggle to replace 40% of its needs, and this will benefit a handful of U.S. suppliers with proven reserves. Currently shares of these companies, which have the cash to develop resources or are already producing with positive cash flows, are incredibly cheap - a win-win situation. Eventually similar opportunities will come from copper and strategic metals.

So, if you ask me if I am still bullish on the resource sector, my answer yes, now more than ever. Juniors are juniors, and when things go wrong, they get beaten down. The strong ones with great teams and lots of cash will survive and prosper, the others will disappear. When commodities come back with a vengeance, there will be fewer companies, almost all with good projects... and those who are invested in these few companies will see a very sizeable appreciation of their capital as the broader public returns.

It's very hard to be a contrarian investor, especially when all forces seem to be against you, but one thing the markets have taught me is that memory on the Street is unbelievably short, and they will come back.


Not only is the economy presently going haywire, there's also still the boogeyman of Peak Oil looming on the horizon. While oil prices are at a low not seen for a while, it is all but certain that this sweet relief for motorists won't last very long.

When oil prices come roaring back, the energy market will virtually explode... and, if you are safely positioned in the right stocks by then, your bank account will too. Learn more about how being a contrarian investor can earn you a fortune - click here.



Olivier Garret

Author: Olivier Garret

Olivier Garret
Chief Executive Officer
Casey Research, LLC.

Olivier Garret

Prior to joining Casey Research in January 2007, Olivier Garret was a principal in Kemp Management, a management consulting firm focused on merger & acquisition due diligence, restructuring, and turnaround activities for a variety of private equity firms and financial institutions. In this capacity, he led and participated in dozens of merger & acquisition and restructuring deals in a variety of industries.

In the 1990's, Olivier was CEO and general manager of a number of industrial businesses ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to divisions of a Fortune 500 company.

He earned an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College and a Master's in Business from the Université de Paris IX-Dauphine.

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