This weekís silver report will be in a different format. I will not list all the company profiles. I will start off with my weekly commentary, and then I will highlight just a few companies.
I expect the silver price to rise substantially, moving up in value by about 300 times. In such a market, you should simply buy and hold. However, you can still trade, which I do, as I will buy one silver stock after selling another silver stock, and thus, maintain my full exposure to rising silver prices.
In fact, by trading one silver stock for another, you can make money even if the silver price remains flat!
To make money in stocks, you need to learn to take profits, and sell a bit of your stocks as they move up, and you have to have the discipline to buy good stocks if they move down, and become cheaper. So, since some stocks move up, while others move down, there are always opportunities to buy and sell. This means that those people who research silver stocks the most, will make the most money--the professionals. This is a basic biblical principle, "tend your flocks", or in other words, pay attention to your investments!
I'm a professional, as I do this for a living. The professional traders, like myself, should be able to estimate both the intrinsic value of a company, and be able to estimate and watch the changing prices, and then judge whether a stock has become relatively cheap or expensive. Continual research is important because it is not as simple as merely buying stocks that are down, and selling stocks that are up. Sometimes, a stock might move up, and become a better value, if it is making acquisitions or finding exploration success. Other times, a stock might move down, and become a worse value, if it is in trouble with debt, or if it lost title to properties. Thus, you need to buy the better values, and sell the worse values.
I would like to show you two examples of how you can buy and sell to make profits in this way.
First, I run a fantasy fund at marketocracy.com.
Currently, out of 60,000 people running these fantasy funds at marketocracy.com, my own fund is ranked #1 for the past 3 month performance and also ranked #1 for the past 30 day performance. Not bad, I think. I achieved this, not only by investing the most money in the best (most volatile) stocks, but also by selling stock as it moved up by about 50% so I could "lock in" those gains.
At marketocracy.com, anyone can run a fantasy fund. You manage $1,000,000 and you have to obey certain compliance rules. You cannot have any single stock, or position, more than 25% of the portfolio. Further, 1/2 the portfolio has to consist of stock positions that are less than 5% of the portfolio. So, you need to manage a portfolio of at least 12 stocks! Two stocks can each be about 20-24% of the portfolio, and about 10 stocks can each be about 4.7% of the portfolio, and the rest can be in cash. Now, this type of portfolio allocation forces you to put about 20-24% of your portfolio into your most favorite two stocks. And if these two "best picks" do well, as they should, you will be forced to sell at higher prices as they outperform the rest of your portfolio, thus, forcing you to "take profits" at higher prices. And if these "best picks" move down, you will be more inclined to buy them. Thus, by paying attention to proper portfolio allocation, you will be forced ! to buy low, and sell high, just like the professionals. Neat, huh?
Second, there is the Rogers Commodities Fund, which is a real-world example that uses this technique to automatically "buy low" and "sell high". This fund uses only paper contracts to invest in commodities, but maintains positions that are always long, and always fully paid for. In other words, for every silver contract they have that may cost about $2000 to hold, they also maintain the full amount in bonds in order to take full delivery, or about $35,000 total for a contract for 5000 ounces at $7/oz. Thus, about 92% of the fund is in bonds, and about 8% consists of paper contracts in various commodities. Which commodities, and in which amounts, is determined by the relative demand of each commodity. Thus, of the commodities, oil is the largest holding of the fund, at about 35%. Other commodities consist of about 5% to 2% each, or less.
Now, as oil moves up, the fund's percentage in oil will increase beyond the prescribed 35%, obviously. Thus, the fund will be forced to sell at a higher price. It is brilliant, and automatic. Once a month, the fund re-allocates to the correct percentages for each commodity, buying those that are down, and selling those that are up.
This will force the fund to "make money" at about 5-7% per year, even if commodities, on average, are flat, simply by making use of the fluctuating values between commodities!
Now, when I learned about this commodity fund, I was both amazed at its brilliance, and perplexed by what was overlooked. This is not exactly a commodities fund, but in reality, it is a "paper fund". It owns no commodities, it only owns a claim on commodities that are dependant upon the fulfillment (or default avoidance) by those on the other side of the trade, those who have shorted these commodities to the fund.
Also, interestingly enough, the fund never has any plans to take delivery. They merely sell contracts as they get closer to the delivery date, and purchase contracts that have delivery dates further on out into the future.
Now, the fund manages about $400 million, and about $25-30 million more capital of new investor money is buying into the fund monthly at the present time! About 2% of the fund is allocated to silver. Doing the math, this means about $8 million of the fund is in paper silver futures contracts. I know, from my own research, that a single entity can only own a maximum of 1500 silver contracts of 5000 oz. each! At $7.30/oz. of silver ($8 mil / $7.3/oz. = 1,095,890 oz., / 5000 oz./contract = 219, thus, the fund owns about 219 silver contracts, which is well under the limit. However, this is getting close to the limit of which the COMEX could restrict total monthly deliveries, which is only 1.5 million ounces!
I had a lengthy discussion with the fund's manager and promoter, Clyde Harrison, whom I met in Chicago. We discussed that 92% of the fund's money is in bonds (short term bonds). I said the dollar and the bond market was under serious pressure to the downside, as the U.S. government has been propping up the bond market by buying bonds! Furthermore, in the last two auctions of government bonds in the last couple of months, there were virtually no buyers for a tiny $9 billion in bonds, which is a serious problem since the U.S. government has a $500 billion deficit, which will need to be financed by bond sales!
I suggested that since the main aim of the fund was to be long commodities, the fund might just as well own commodity money with the 92%, meaning gold and silver, instead of owning bonds. Unfortunately, my idea could not be accepted, and we discussed bonds further.
After I made my points about bonds, Clyde pulled out a chart of bonds, and asked me, "Do you think this looks like a bond market under pressure?" The line is virtually flat. To which I responded, "In 1930, the price of gold was flat at $20/oz., and the chart showed no indication that the price of gold would rapidly change to $35/oz. In 1971, the price chart, which was flat, showed no indication that the price of gold would move to $850/oz., and the price chart contained zero information about the number one predictor of gold prices, which was the number of excess dollars they had printed up!"
In response, Clyde could only say, "So you mean that if I'm wrong, then I'll make a lot of money?" (Because if bonds and the dollar go down, it will be good for commodities!) The irony of the comment was rather beautiful! But I said, "Yes, but only as long as your counter-parties to your futures contracts don't default!"
Clyde didnít think default was a problem unless there is a total collapse of the entire financial system. I suppose we have a different opinion of the chance of such an event happening.
Now, I have written an article titled, "The Moral Failures of the Paper Longs"
Therefore, I can not recommend that people buy into the Rogers Commodities fund, since it is a fund consisting of paper long positions in various commodities.
However, for those readers who think that my views are a bit too radical, and for those readers who are seeking alternatives to silver bullion only, and who wish to diversify into other commodities, without taking delivery, this commodities fund fits the bill. Furthermore, for those readers who trust the integrity of "the system", and who may have substantially more money than a few million dollars (which would seriously impact the prices of many of the silver stocks), the Rogers commodities fund may be exactly what they are looking for.
More information about the Rogers Commodities Fund: The majority position of the fund is held by Jim Rogers, who wrote "Adventure Capitalist", which is an outstanding book in defense of free trade and capitalism. Jim Rogers is more bullish on commodities than silver bullion, and I have the opposite view; that silver will outperform other commodities, precisely because silver is money, like gold, but silver has better supply and demand fundamentals than gold. Furthermore, I believe the general public, people who have $5000 to protect, will be more likely to buy a bag of silver for $5000 than buy 100 barrels of oil which is not practical! Silver is money for a reasonóit is convenient! Iíve emailed Jim about my views on silver about a year agoÖ I wrote:
I recently bought and read your book. Outstanding. One of the best books I've ever read, because it was so informative about the world in which we live. It presents an excellent case for free trade. I loved reading your reports about how nations kept trying various forms of protectionism, and trade restrictions, which so hurt the people of the nation.
As a precious metals investor, I've heard about your book through several ways, and so I finally bought it due to the "buzz".
I also saw you on Fox TV one late night!
What a great investment I made to buy your book!
Now, as for why I'm writing. I read your comments about silver and photography here:
I don't think you have really done your study on this topic, and I think you probably have bought into the hype regarding this argument. I think you are mistaken in saying that digital will replace traditional photography. So, far, the decline in use of silver in traditional photography has been negligible, and is much more attributable to the slowdown in the world economy, and reduced travel, I think. IE photographic demand for silver declined less than 5%, perhaps around 2%. The decline, if it can even be called a decline, (more of a flat line) was really, really small so far.
Furthermore, digital photography also creates demand for silver when making hard copy prints. Computers, and electronics also use silver. And how realistic is it for the people of China to skip the process of buying an $8 disposable traditional camera, to jumping right to using $500 computers with $200 digital cameras, which, of course, also use silver? IE, will the vast majority of the people of the world, who have never even seen pictures, as your book points out, make the jump and move directly to digital, and how will they do that and move to a more westernized lifestyle all without needing silver in all the other electronic uses that an advanced industrial world demands? My argument is not that people will jump directly to digital. They can't. Thus, there will always be a place in the world for large quantities of $8 cameras as people become more wealthy the world over due to increased free trade.
For a great article on this topic, see the following:
What Impact Will Digital Photography Have on Silver?
by Douglas Kanarowski
August 22, 2003
Furthermore, I also think you are wrong about the significance of the gold:silver ratio being somehow fundamentally different today, which implies that we are somehow in a "new era". The era in which we are in is the era of the deception of fiat and paper money. This deception, and era, will, and must, end. When monetary demand for silver returns, what will happen to the ratio? It will probably be lower than 15:1, perhaps even 5:1 for a time when it is recognized by the world that there is a physical shortage of silver.
And if you are interested in buying silver stocks, you are welcome to my recent article here:
"Silver Stocks -- Comparative Valuations"
I wrote this on Saturday, and since then, my "picks" have gone up 50% or more. Two of my silver picks are now ten baggers, or close to it. SRLM.PK under 50 cents to 5 bucks and CZN.TO 9 cents CAN to 82 cents CAN.
Do you get ten baggers in silver stocks when it's not a bull market in silver (or not going to be)?
I don't recommend you buy futures contracts, due to the fact that excessive paper promises will not likely be met, and will likely default. See my other essays, The Moral Failures of the Paper Longs
Controlling Gold with Paper
"Impending gold futures default"
and other essays in the "hommel index" http://news.goldseek.com/GoldIsMoney/
I thought I received a reply from Jim Rogers, but I could not find it in my email archives.
To contact Jim Rogers, see http://www.jimrogers.com/
To invest in the Rogers Commodity Fund:
Contact: email@example.com 1-866-304-0450
Contact: Clyde Harrison (874) 516 2826
Here are a few more words about using portfolio allocation to force yourself to buy low and sell high. You donít always need to keep your percentage allocation of companies in your portfolio the same. You can increase the allocation to some companies, especially if you feel that the company is making progress. You can also decrease the allocation to companies if things go wrong, or take longer than expected. You also can choose when to re-allocate your portfolio, whether once a month, or once every few months.
Also, you canít really expect to look to me or any other advisor to tell you when to buy or sell. Thatís your job as an investor.
While in Chicago, I took an afternoon and visited the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It was closed to the public for the past 9 weeks due to terrorism threats, so no tours were available. All they had was a visitor's lobby with a few posters and computer slide presentations that showed a bit of the history of the Exchange, and how futures trading worked.
In particular, there was one poster that showed how futures contracts are protected from default. According to my fuzzy memory, in essence, it said that the contracts are "marked to market" with the cash value at the end of every trading day, and that if a trader could not meet his margin calls, then the trader's brokerage house, or the brokerage's bank or even the exchange would be responsible, and that, in this way, risk of default is reduced. Amazingly, they admitted this would only "reduce" risk, and not eliminate it.
Risk can only be eliminated if longs put up 100% of the paper money for their positions, and if the shorts put up 100% of the commodity for their position.
I felt like I was visiting a "den of iniquity," one of the main houses of evil in our financial age.
At the visitor's center, there was a trading game, and I played, and made a ton of pretend money. The game lets 8 weeks go by in about 2 minutes, and you have to buy and sell to make money. It was almost too easy. I wonder if it was that way on purpose.
In report #53, two weeks ago, I wrote about liquidity. See the essay here: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_04/hommel101504.html
Now, in recent weeks, somehow I managed to subscribe to "silver stocks" at yahoo.com news service.
The following article was most interesting:
In that article, was the following question and answer:
Q: I have been thinking about buying some silver, but the price has been moving up so fast that I may have missed the boat. It is now well above $7 per ounce. This reminds me of the Hunt brothers and their failed silver gambit more than 20 years ago. What is going on in the market?
A: Some pundits attribute the recent increase in silver prices to stronger industrial production worldwide. Silver isn't used only for jewelry. It also shows up in a large array of industrial products, notably in the electronics industry.
As with any financial development that has received a lot of publicity, you have to assume that the present price pretty well reflects silver's prospects for the foreseeable future. I don't know of anyone who can consistently and accurately predict the price of silver or any other investment.
However, if you think silver is underpriced, you can invest conservatively by buying silver coins or bullion. You can go a riskier route with stocks in silver-mining companies or mutual funds that invest in these stocks.
Or you can speculate whole hog in the futures market, where you can buy silver contracts on low margin, but you risk losing your entire investment in a day if the market moves against you. Moneybag appears three times a month in the Sunday Chronicle. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Arthur M. Louis, Moneybag column, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103. Ö
So, I wrote the following:
Arthur M. Louis, Moneybag column, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103
I read your answer to the investor on silver.
A: Some pundits attribute the recent increase in silver prices to
stronger industrial production worldwide. Silver isn't used only for
jewelry. It also shows up in a large array of industrial products,
notably in the electronics industry.
"As with any financial development that has received a lot of
publicity, you have to assume that the present price pretty well
reflects silver's prospects for the foreseeable future."
I do not think silver has gotten a lot of publicity. Do you? If silver has, then perhaps you already know the industry statistics? Such as the following: --Just under 600 million ounces produced by the mines annually. --Just over 900 million ounces consumed by industry, broken down as about 40-45% industrial, and the other two large areas of jewelry and photography. --The gap is met with about 200 mil oz. from recycling, mostly through recycling of photography. --The gap is also met with INVESTOR SELLING; selling from governments and/or private hoards, which are dwindling. --The silver left, above ground is estimated between 60 million ounces and 600 million ounces. (Not including the Jewelry in India--but India is a silver importer) --Investor demand is a paltry 25 million ounces/year or less.
Less than a billion dollars could purchase all the silver available at the COMEX.
The COMEX has several serious position limits, as follows: 1. A limit of 7500 contracts per entity per month, which is a limit of 7.5 million ounces. But there is an optional delivery limit (not always imposed) of 1.5 million ounces!
The other main places to buy physical silver are among the coin dealers in the U.S. I have personally called about 20 of them, and found out that there are probably only 5 dealers in the U.S. with 100,000 ounces of silver bullion in inventory to sell.
Silver is a very tight, very small market, measured in a few hundred million dollars.
Potential monetary demand is huge, measured in the tens and hundreds of trillions.
Respectfully, I ask whether or not you knew these facts about silver.
Surely, you cannot think that silver has gotten a lot of publicity.
And given that silver remains in a supply/demand deficit that can only be met through selling of pre-existing supplies that are nearly exhausted, you surely cannot rationally expect the silver price to remain at $7/oz., can you?
Thanks for your message to my Moneybag mailbox. What you say about silver is extremely interesting, and you clearly know worlds more about the subject than I do. Thanks for the education.
-- Arthur M. Louis And I responded again:
I'm very happy to read this acknowledgement from you. To me, it means a lot, and here's why:
Like you, I have, at times, received far, far more email than I can respond to. I have a list of about 12,000 people who subscribe to my SilverStockReport.com weekly. And that's just the beginning of my marketing efforts over the last year.
I'm glad my letter peaked your curiosity, as it was intended to do. Many people do regard me as an industry leader on the subject of silver, but I'm not. I'm merely a marketer, but also an investor. A wealthy investor, who knows a lot--especially for my age, 34... The two groups who produce the industry studies on silver are the silverinstitute.org and the CPMgroup.com Try there, maybe asking for interviews?
Anyway, they produced some of the key the statistics that I shared with you.
But they don't speak of the COMEX limits, nor of the small dealer inventories, nor of the trillions of paper dollars out there. And that helps to complete the picture.
Here's also what I know... There have been managers of $200 billion dollar funds... who have said things to their own internal research teams like, "silver looks good" let's invest 4% of our fund into silver... but upon further reflection, and upon visiting the largest bullion dealers in the nation, realize the impossibility of doing that... as 4% of 200 bil is 8 billion! and the silver bullion market is, as I said, in the mere hundred millions of dollars!!!
So, they end up walking away, with their tails between their legs... or something!... but these are the guys who may invest in silver when it hits in excess of $30/oz., who will help take it to $100/oz.
Do I have your interest now???
(I never heard back from the journalist.)
Once again, I feel the need to proclaim the fraud of paper silver, or silver certificates.
A Word about Silver Certificates
This is a true story from my sister.
Ripped Off by the Banksters at CIBC the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Canada
This is my story. The time was March of 1981.
I consider myself to be an average person with average intelligence. A few extra bucks in my jeans and silver seemed like a good investment.
I went to the CIBC in Salmon Arm to buy some and ran into a friend at the bank [someone I always considered smarter than myself] who suggested I purchase the silver certificates as they wouldnít be so much to pack around. [I didnít want to tell him I was only buying 50 ounces]
Silver was $12.65 per ounce Canadian at the time. Taking his advice I gave the Banksters $804.00 and received a piece of paper stating I owned 50 ounces of silver. Stamped on the bottom of the certificate was a note saying there would be a storage fee [seemed unimportant at the time].
I left the bank with my piece of paper thinking that I had made the right choice.
Fast foreword twenty years to Sept. 20th 2001 when I decided to go to the CIBC and pay the storage fee and pick up my 50 ounces of physical silver [a 10 ounce bar for each of my grandkids].
To my surprise I was told the silver was not at the bank. Who was I to pay the storage fees to? Who was storing my silver for 20 years?
The girl at the bank made some calls and this is what I was told:
She had never cashed in a silver certificate. After the call she stated there would be a $3.50 charge for each 1 ounce of silver [$175.00] plus storage fees of $112.50. Silver was $4.39 US at the time.
I said I want to pay my storage fees and take my silver. Iím getting pissed off now thinking I will have to pay them for storing silver that they do not have. This started putting doubts in my mind about the banking system.
How many people bought the same 50 ounces of silver that I bought?
Were we all paying storage fees for the same 50 ounces of silver?
Did they even have enough silver to give everyone their silver if we all cashed in our certificates?
The banksters gave me a check for $174.15 Canadian.
Do you want to buy a silver certificate? Why exchange one piece of paper for another?
!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get physical !!!!!!!!!!
In sum, the investor "had" 50 oz. of silver, which should have been worth at least $4-5/oz. back in 2001-2002, or $200 to $250. But it would have cost "too much" to actually get the physical, and so, a paper settlement was reached. Did the investor ever really invest in silver? Probably not! How many other investors were duped, and have been duped?
One way is to look at the open interest at the COMEX. 153,401 contracts as of October 29th, 2004. At 5000 oz. each, thatís a total of 767,000,000 ounces of silver!
Silver in the future? HA! Itís money! It should be produced today if people have it! Silver does not rot or spoil, thereís no need to make a promise to deliver "fresh" silver in the future! Either the seller has it, or they donít. And if they have it, thereís no need to delay delivery into the future!
The argument that companies need to "hedge production" for debt financing is also ridiculous. Most silver companies today have no need to go into debt when there are so many investors who are dying to invest in, and finance silver companies through equity private placements. Considering how the free market works, there is also no need for silver producers to borrow money to produce silver! Why not? Simple. If the market needs silver, the market will finance development of silver mines. Thatís what the free market does!
Finally, there are a few companies I would like to highlight this week. Usually, these companies get "lost" in the large report that covers 85 companies.
IMA Exploration, Clifton Mining, Endeavor Silver, and Kenrich-Eskay. (I own shares of all of these companies, and none of these companies have paid me to write about them.)
I recently mentioned IMA Exploration as my "top pick" both in Toronto and in Chicago. The reason is that they are discovering a LOT of silver in Argentina. They have about 400 million ounces in the ground, at least, by now, with a market cap of about $140 million. They may have up to a billion ounces. But their silver is high grade, and open pittable. Furthermore, they have agreements with 20 major mining companies that prevent hostile take-overs for the next two years. Although the stock price has gone up from about $1.50 to $3.50 in the last year, I think the stock is a much better value today, given that we now know more about what they have in the ground. This is a clear example of where you cannot simply sell a stock if the price is upóyou have to also take into account the changing fundamental story. Jay Taylor also mentioned IMA Exploration in Chicago as his favorite silver pick. (49,059,825 mil shares fully diluted (May 27, 2004))
Clifton Mining also excites me, but for another reason. I like their colloidal silver. I interviewed Ken Friedman, president of Clifton, while I was in Chicago. My main concerns were the unique properties of their particular patented colloidal silver, and what government support they might have. First, their colloidal silver product is more powerful than others. Second, there are people in government who are investors in their biotech company. Third, their colloidal silver will be manufactured in Brazil, and will also be purchased by that government! Market cap about $50 million (47 million shares fully diluted (May 2004))
Endeavour Silver is a very exciting production story. Typically, producers have a higher share price, because many investors want to own a producer. Well, Endeavour Silver is already a producer, and they aim to produce a whopping 4 million ounces of silver within about 2 years. Yet, their market cap is not half that of CDE, which produces 9 million ounces of silver per year, but rather, the market cap of Endeavour Silver is a tiny $26 million! (25.7 million shares fully diluted (May 28th, 2004))
Last, but not least, Kenrich-Eskay is an exploration play. One of the top 5 silver mines in the world is the Eskay Creek silver mine currently operated by Barrick, formerly owned by Homestake, which was acquired by Barrick. Kenrich-Eskayís property is 10 km south of Eskay Creek. Kenrich-Eskay is discovering Eskay type mineralization in the Eskay Camp. One grab sample from the C10 Zone contained 23,726 g/t silver. Thatís 741 oz./tonne! See press release Oct. 6th. Kenrich-Eskayís market cap is about $12 million dollars. (29.2 million shares fully diluted (July, 2004)) Homestake was willing to pay up to about $50 million for Kenrich-Eskay back in 1996.
See their news releases here: http://www.kenrich-eskay.com/index.php?site=8&page=106
CFTN.PK (CLIFTON MINING) (I own shares) http://www.cliftonmining.com/
IMR.V IMXPF.OB (IMA EXPLORATION) (I own shares.) http://www.imaexploration.com/s/Home.asp
EDR.V EDRGF.PK (ENDEAVOUR SILVER) (I own shares) http://www.edrgold.com/
KRE.V KREKF.PK (KENRICH ESKAY) (I own shares) http://www.kenrich-eskay.com/
For more information on these companies, and to see how they compare to other silver companies that exist in the marketplace, see my last report at http://www.goldismoney.com/ssr/SS53.html
If you want to know where my own, personal, real money is allocated, you need to buy the "look at my portfolio", here (which has better information, of course):