Many investors, both the newbies and the well seasoned, put their money into stocks that have little to no hope of ever making money with hopes of snagging that elusive ten-bagger. I’ve done it myself on a variety of occasions as I’ve invested before doing full due diligence. This is not the same as investing when you know and understand the risks and are willing to accept those risks. The truth is that the truth is very difficult to uncover because of the large number of competing interests.
Most companies, if not all companies, will bend the truth in order to make them appear better than what they are. Take for instance the bubbles of the last 15 years. During the dot com frenzy, every start up internet company with enough savvy to try to go public, managed to bring in a ton of investors based solely on the number of page views or ‘eyes’ as they were once called. It didn’t matter if there was no business plan and no plan to make money, so long as there was a plan to increase the eyes. Needless to say, most of the dot com companies went belly up.
During the housing bubble, lots of people bought houses for next to nothing down and made a fortune when the house doubled in value in a few short years, but when the bubble burst, those who invested late in the game lost a huge pile and many went bankrupt. They thought they knew the truth about the housing market but were sadly mistaken. Truth tellers are rarely listened to, but you should seek them out to understand the risks.
So where do you find the truth? It’s out there if you dig for it and you have to be willing to look in unconventional places and in unconventional ways. Take for example the cost of energy. The truth is that we will some day run out of oil – the analogy being that you can only squeeze so much juice out of an orange – so we will someday have to turn to the sun which will provide far more energy than the inhabitants of the earth will ever use. The struggle is to convert solar energy efficiently. In the meantime, we are stuck using nuclear energy and fossil fuels. I discount wind and wave energy as they simply could never have the capacity to replace fossil fuel. There will be good investments in wind energy but it will forever be a very small component of the energy market. Winds Works Power Corp is one such company that appears to have a strong business model and will be making investors money in the near future as they have just secured financing and acquired two additional wind projects in Germany.
The Japanese crisis has put a very dim light on nuclear energy even though historically it had been proven to be very reliable when built and maintained at the highest standards. I’m very aware of Chernobyl as I subscribed to the Soviet News & Views during the 1980s and it certainly wasn’t built to the highest standards.
When looking at fossil fuels, the above charts show that the USA has a very dominant share of the global pie when it comes to Oil Shale deposits, but a very small share of liquid petroleum deposits. Liquid petroleum is the stuff of gushers and the Texas oil tycoons while oil shale is far less glamorous but it is the oil shale where future American oil revenues will have to come from. Few companies are doing meaningful R&D in oil shale extraction but a tiny company called Enshale is doing it well. They were recently granted a patent on one of their processes and have continued to expand their oil shale leases. The company has a tiny pilot plant producing 35 barrels of oil a day from which they are working on improving the process. It is likely the company will have to significantly dilute the shares to grow the company but the process works and they have a large estimated but not yet proven resource. Check out Bullion Monarch Mining, the parent company of Enshale. (Images provided by Enshale)
In another example of finding the truth, take a look at the silver market. Marketing savvy tipsters are trying to get unsuspecting investors to buy into some newly discovered silver deposit that supposedly sits under the Great Wall in China. It’s unproven and in a highly sensitive historical area. If you are looking for silver in the ground, then follow the experts – the Hunt Brothers. These are the guys who tried to corner the silver market in the 1970’s. They were developing the world’s largest silver mine when their empire collapsed along with the price of silver in 1980. Today, that mine is possibly months away from final permitting and is owned by Canadian Zinc. Supporting the redevelopment of the Prairie Creek Mine is another proven professional investor, Eric Sprott. If you invest in this company you know the simple truths – a huge proven resource with a high probability of it being expanded and great financial backing but they don’t yet have the final permit. The risk is that they may NEVER get the final permit. If you are willing to take that risk, then invest accordingly.
As a final example, take a look at the pharmaceutical industry. I dare anyone to expose the truth about anything in this convoluted, politicized, patent crazy mess. I’ll point you to the very controversial Dr. Burzynski (www.burzynskimovie.com/) where if nothing else, you can witness first hand the degree of government intervention and corporatism. Unless you have first hand knowledge about a pharmaceutical company you want to invest in, I would recommend not investing in this area at all, even though the demographics show that drugs for seniors will see a huge surge over the next decade.
I invest in fundamentals and I’m not afraid to take risks as long as I fully understand them and that’s the truth.