Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Stephen Leeb makes the interesting suggestion that we re-think "BRIC" - Brazil, Russia, India and China and substitute "BRAC" - Brazil, Russia, Australia and Canada, i.e. substitute emerging countries with resource rich countries.

I like the idea for diversification as well. You never can tell who's about to nationalize, seize, go carbon-bonkers, or drink themselves silly (that would be the Australians, though come to think of it the Russians also qualify).

There are some well run, resource rich stocks in BRAC, among them Petrobras, Lukoil, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Suncor, Canadian Natural Resources, Imperial Oil, or, as the article highlights, the country ETFs: EWZ, RSX, EWA and EWC.

istockanalyst: Changing BRIC for BRAC.


"The currencies of countries rich in essential resources—oil and other fuels, metals, agricultural products—are in strong demand," says long-standing market expert Stephen Leeb.

The editor of The Complete Investor explains, "Brazil, Russia, Australia, and Canada are awash in natural resources. And in a world of growing shortages, these countries can't miss."

"The acronym 'BRIC—standing for Brazil, Russia, India, and China—is in vogue as shorthand for the emergence of the developing world.

"But we’re herewith proposing an emended version: 'BRAC'—standing for Brazil, Russia, Australia, and Canada.

"That’s because these four countries are the ones most brimming over with essential natural resource, with each one a net exporter of fuels and other natural products. In a world where resource shortages will only get worse, these countries will stand out from the pack.

"Don’t get us wrong. China and India remain the largest and fastest growing emerging economies and still face exceptional futures.

"But their major resources are cheap labor, which will become less cheap as their economies keep growing. Indeed, labor costs in these countries already have begun to rise relative to the rest of the world.

"Meanwhile, continued gains in commodities mean that Australia and Canada are gaining relative to the rest of the world. It’s hard to overstate just how important relative resource independence is in a world where resources are becoming ever more scarce and expensive.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is the oil bull market dead?

CNBC: Oil's Biggest 3-Day Drop In 5 years.

I'm surprised there was little mention in this video of the supply and demand factor. Yesterday we saw a big build in crude and today a decent build in natural gas. The huge move in oil and natural gas that started early this year was about supply and demand, as a colder than average winter cut into natural gas supplies and pulled on heating oil supplies, which, combined with demand for diesel, pulled up crude prices.

We are now facing the other side of the supply demand equation, the one where supply is starting to build instead of declining. And price wise, neither natural gas nor crude looks like it's ready to make a stand today, they look like they have further to drop. Chart wise, I'm guessing natural gas could pull back to $9.50 and oil to $120, though crude at $110 wouldn't shock me at all. On the other hand, looking ahead further, if we get another cold winter, I think we revisit the highs.

This summer feels like a mild one, and I think back to this quote from a few posts ago:

The question Coxe raises, and one we cannot answer, is whether the lack of sunspot activity in this cycle portends a trend to cooler weather, shorter growing seasons, and increased space heating demands – or is it just a statistical fluke?

Investment Implications

Coxe argues that if the lack of solar activity is not a statistical fluke natural gas would be a ‘pure play' on this event due to the huge amount of natural gas used for space heating in North America . Natural gas is a very efficient and non-polluting heating fuel.

We would tend to agree with his assessment, but note that the incremental use of natural gas as a summer electrical generation ‘peaker plant' fuel may decline if air conditioner loads are significantly reduced.

Pure play natural gas and oil E&Ps are bearing the brunt right now, while big oil (XOM, CVX, COP) and big service (SLB, HAL, WFT) have paused. That suggests people are shedding excess exposure, but holding the core.

SLB reports tomorrow, apparently. How the market trades it will probably be a significant tell.

To answer the title question, while I don't think the bull market is dead, I do think that the huge move this year ate up a lot of our bull's "energy", and was a little too "easy". When it's that easy, it's often a sign that you're about to encounter trouble. Lesson learned.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Roque: Own commodities instead of stocks.

I'm a bit of an agonistic on gold, but you can't bury your head in the sand and ignore it. Compounding financial crisis, inflation, printing money... gold is in.

CNBC: Commodities Explosion.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Haynesville Shale. CEO: Haynesville Shale is fourth largest in the world.


The Haynesville Shale is likely to become America's largest natural gas field and perhaps the fourth largest in the world, Chesapeake Energy Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon disclosed Wednesday in a conference call with its newest partner, Plains Exploration and Production Co.

See, among others:


Encana & Royal Dutch Shell



HP (driller)
XTO & Hunt
BRY & O'Brien
COG & undisclosed

Did I forget anybody? Probably.