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Where To Find The Bottom In Mining Stocks

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AERIAL: Lignite surface mine with giant bucket-wheel excavator

Schroptschop/E+ via Getty Images

Stocks can shoot up and make you wealthy beyond your dreams. And drop hard even while the underlying metal price hasn’t moved. Mining stocks are highly cyclical in nature, which is what attracts investors to the space. A steep 50% dive can be followed by a 500% rise. Some stocks mint millionaires. But in reality, most are losers for investors. However, because of cyclicality… massive amounts of share trading and capital are required to put in tops and bottoms. You may have heard of the terms stock “consolidation” or “digestion”…Previously, we profiled a Dark Market Secret – called Shareholder Turnover. But can provide a quick recap…It’s a tool to help you understand when and how a stock can be put in a bottom or top. You can run any number of analytical tools, add trendlines or your favorite indicators and try to confirm data. But in the end…

  • The bottom comes when investors throw in the towel and have no more shares to sell.
  • And the next major up-move comes when a new firehose of the capital comes rushing in.

This applies to tech, crypto, mining, energy, and every market sector. Once you’re prepared, you’ll see the markets as they truly are: powerfully cyclical.

So today we’re going to apply Shareholder Turnover to select stocks.

The Dark Market Secret you’ll learn today is one you won’t find on stock screeners. Or nearly any newsletter you pay for.

Why is Shareholder Turnover Important Right Now?

Right now, I think it is a safe argument that many investors are spooked at the potential of a structural shift in the markets. Why is this the case? A few key reasons:

  1. Rising interest rates – leads to increased borrowing costs and slower growth rates
  2. Political uncertainty/war – leads to investors “de-risking” aka reducing positions
  3. Rising Inflation – leads to higher input costs and declining corporate profits

Those who have been reading my editorial for some time will know that I am a contrarian investor.

When there is blood in the streets and no one else can finance companies, that’s where I shine.

So, given that the market has been whacked recently, is this the True Bottom?

Time to Jump in or Just the Tip of the Iceberg?

Let’s look at past major structural shifts in the market to see how trading and volumes today compare to the Tech Bubble in the 2000s and the Financial Crisis in 2008.The first way we will examine “where we are at” is through the share turnover ratio.

Dark Market Secrets

Katusa Research

The “Share Turnover Ratio” of Major Miners…

Below is the share turnover ratio for Newmont, Barrick, Freeport-McMoRan, and Pan American Silver. These 4 companies have been around for over 20 years and have been excellent bellwethers for the sector over that time.

How Far Can Mining Stocks Fall?

Bloomberg, Katusa Research

Volume was exceptionally light back in the late 90s across the board and highly illiquid. Yet today’s volume ratio is even lower than that correction.

The Dollar Volume Ratio

An even better apples-to-apples comparison uses the dollar volume ratio.

Dollar volume equation

Katusa Research

  • The formula shows the amount of capital required to take a stock from its high point through to its low point.

This is important because it shows the actual amount of capital required to turn over the stock and the “time required”.

How Far Can Mining Stocks Fall?

Bloomberg, Katusa Research

Again, this ratio points out that if we are in a structural shift, we are nowhere near out of the woods yet. Like we did for technology and bank stocks, the share price performance of these mining stocks is shown throughout the past downturns.

  • Relative to the past downturns, there is a lot more pain on the way IF we are in for a long bear market.

How Far Can Mining Stocks Fall?

Bloomberg, Katusa Research

Here is an example of Newmont from 1995 through to today…This puts the cyclicality and turnover requirements in perspective. Relative to the past 2 cycles, the dollar volume turnover ratio is nowhere near a level that would suggest a bottom.

Dollar volume analysis

Bloomberg, Katusa Research

What I find interesting about this is that since 1995, the bull market turnover ratios (19x & 16x) are considerably larger than the bear market turnover ratios (9.5x and 12.4x).

The Key Take Home…

  • Every new bull market needs more capital to come in than was previously wiped out in the bear market.

This intuitively makes sense. The point of the above analysis is to show what can happen in a global recession to share prices. If the global economy experiences continued bouts of elevated inflation, it’s reasonable to expect a further slowing down of the global economy. It’s possible we move beyond the stagflationary environment into a serious deflation and even potentially a deep deflation. None of these outcomes are good for investors. If the global economy experiences a sharp but quick recession, the rate of turnover could be less. That leads to the critical question:

Where is the New Capital Going to Come From to Buy Mining Stocks?

Millennials are not buying mining stocks at the same rate as they are buying crypto, NFTs, and tech stocks. (Or dumping them as of late…)Over the last 30 years, the Baby Boomers’ capital was the largest flow of capital towards mining stocks and that generation is now transitioning and preparing for retirement.

Most boomers have had negative experiences with mining stock performance and are no longer willing to take the high-risk nature mining stocks. With that comes de-risking their portfolios. Here is the part where I will anger most investors in the junior mining sector…

Level Up: The Game Has Changed for the Flow of Capital

That means to attract the capital, a mining company must be large enough in size and meet the liquidity metrics required by trading algorithms designed by the big quant and passive funds. And the metrics of the company are changing in real-time. That means not just financial metrics like MCAP, EV, earnings, etc… but ESG metrics which I have covered in many past editions. Where the primary asset is located, and where the head office is located matter. Here’s a quick checklist…

  1. If you don’t have an ESG or net-zero plan, you’re swimming upstream.
  2. If you’re not listing on a tier-one exchange, you’re like an indie band playing the endless pub circuit in front of a handful of bartenders.
  3. If your primary asset is not in the U.S., the major capitalized passive index funds can’t buy the mining share.
  4. If the company is not listed on a major U.S. exchange the large U.S. index funds can’t buy the shares.
  5. If your mining company is run by a geologist who runs 6 other deals out of his Vancouver or Toronto office with projects not in the U.S.-the index funds won’t buy the mining company shares.

It’s going to be a bumpy road ahead in the markets. Arm yourself with the best information. Keep it simple. Less is more and focus on the big score.



Read More: Where To Find The Bottom In Mining Stocks

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