You’ve heard of all the problems facing Australian retailers: the internet, high rents, falling consumer sentiment and Australia’s high wages.
In fact, if you listened only to Myer and David Jones, you’d think that theAustralian retail market was a desert wasteland of calcified skulls and tumble weed. For them it is. Both have enjoyed anaemic growth at best.
But recent developments are showing these claims up for what they are — a giant load of hot air.
But that’s exactly what’s happening. [Read more →]
March 12, 2014 Comments Off
Humans are complex organisms. Not only are we composed of trillions of cells, but those cells come in an incredible array. From a single fertilised reproductive cell dividing in two, our cells somehow differentiate into at least 200 different variations.
New tools constantly reveal more about the inner workings of cells. For example, we have found that some cell types specialise in transmitting and storing information. Electrical messages speeding through the central nervous system travel at more than 100 miles per hour.
Red blood cells deliver oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and remove carbon dioxide. Trillions of them circulate in the bloodstream at any given moment, and they are replenished in the bone marrow at an astonishing rate of 2 million per second.
Unfortunately, the great variety of cells that make human life possible also makes it difficult to design a single cure to repair genes when they become corrupted and threaten to change into cancers. Because there are hundreds of different cell types, there are hundreds of different kinds of cancer.
One of the reasons cancer isn’t a single disease is that each cell type behaves differently when it goes haywire. A drug that works in one type of cancer often won’t work on another. Even in the same cancer, mutations can be different.
Meanwhile, as we begin to conquer other diseases, cancer is moving up the ranks as the leading cause of death. In the United Kingdom, for example, it has already overtaken cardiovascular disease. In the United States, it is poised to do so.
That’s one result of longer lifespans: we increase our chances of getting cancer.
It isn’t so much that cancer is deadlier than it used to be in times past, by the way. [Read more →]
March 12, 2014 Comments Off
Immersive technology is all around us. It’s still very early days, but soon immersive tech will be such a part of your day, you’ll forget what life was like before it.
Let me paint a picture for you.
You’re sitting on the couch at home. The TV is on. Let’s say you’ve got a decent size smart TV. An LED or something like that and let’s say you’re watching the footy.
So the action is on. It’s a pretty normal TV experience so far. Except outside of the dimensions of the screen, something else is happening. On the surrounding wall, you can see player stats, and real-time player tracking.
This information covers your entire wall. And as you glance on the arm of the couch you see that it’s actually a touch pad. Not a real one, but like a projected image of a touch pad on the arm of your couch. Around that image are numbers, and controls. Basically everything you need to control the TV and the information surrounding it.
Later that night after the footy, a documentary comes on. Something with David Attenborough narrating. Maybe the plains of the Serengeti or something like that.
There’s the TV feed that you see on the TV, but you feel more immersed in this doco for some reason. That’s because your entire room now looks like the plains of the Serengeti. The grassy knoll from which the lions stalk their prey extends across the entire wall. You look to the ceiling and can see the clear blue sky and the piercing light from the sun.
Over to your left a zebra casually walks towards the kitchen door. And then like you’re in some giant bubble, the whole room moves with the action as the lion hunts the zebra. [Read more →]
March 11, 2014 Comments Off
There are only two ways to truly hit a home run in the junior mining sector. And when we say ‘home run’ we’re not talking about punching one magical drill hole that sends a stock to the moon and crashing back down shortly after.
A home run in the junior mining industry is when a project receives the necessary capital and achieves production, or a project is bought out for a significant premium at any point in the development or operation of the project. A very small percentage of junior miners ever achieve such a feat.
Our new Featured Company is Blackheath Resources (BHR:TSXV). And it has the good fortune of being led by a man that was a founding director of a true home run in the junior mining industry.
Blackheath Resources is led by President and CEO, James Robertson. Mr. Robertson has a remarkable story in that he was the founding director and metallurgist for a company that took over a producing tungsten mine in Portugal, known as the Panasqueira mine, during the mid-2000s. The company’s name Robertson co-founded was Primary Metals, and after turning the Portugal mine into a profitable one, its share price rose from an IPO level of $0.15 in 2003, to a high above $5 per share in 2006.
*The Panasqueira Tungsten Mine in Portugal
Primary Metals was eventually bought out at a price of $3.65 per share in 2007 by Japanese conglomerate, Sojitz. For some context, Sojitz is a huge international trade organization with assets spanning the globe. At the time of the buyout, Sojitz’s market cap was more than C$5 billion. [Read more →]
March 11, 2014 Comments Off
More people are joining our bull market bandwagon.
That means a time will come when we have to jump off…but not yet.
Those commentators in the mainstream that are jumping on our bull market bandwagon are a weak-willed lot.
They jump on, but on the slightest bit of bad news they flee the scene and head back to their hovels.
We’ll only jump off the bandwagon when it’s full of mainstream analysts who think nothing could ever go wrong again.
But based on what we’ve seen so far, that could be a long time coming…
The one thing you must know about Money Morning is that we don’t pretend to be a god.
We don’t claim to have 100% foresight on how everything will turn out. If we were perfect then all of our Australian Small-Cap Investigator stock picks would be in the money right now.
Instead, of the 32 open recommendations, 23 are up, one is flat, and eight are down. The overall average for the open recommendations is a 20.6% gain.
That’s pretty good in a market where a bunch of folks say it’s impossible to make money…but it’s not perfect. [Read more →]
March 10, 2014 Comments Off
The most disruptive technological force on the planet is happening quietly and relatively unseen by most of us.
When you plug your cellphone charger into a wall socket, you are probably connecting to one of about 500 coal-fired power plants in the United States.
What if all of them were shut down by 2050?
What if instead of getting your power from a centralised source, you got it from a small generating plant on top of your house or business or car?
What if everywhere you went, no matter when you needed electricity, it came from a small local source, instead of a giant power plant?
That is exactly what is starting to happen in the U.S., China and other nations around the world, including oil-rich Arab countries in the Middle East.
And it is a tremendous opportunity to invest.
The reasons behind this radical and disruptive change are many, but they all focus on changing the way we get power. [Read more →]
March 10, 2014 Comments Off
Banks don’t have a history of revolutionising the financial sector.
Why would they? They’re happy to stick with the bureaucratic business they’ve established.
As long as they don’t innovate, they don’t have to change. That way the banks can keep making money in the only way they know.
And that’s the problem…
As Tim Dohrmann, small-cap analyst of Australian Small-Cap Investigator told me this week:
‘…there is an unspoken admission that the big banks can’t come up with the cutting-edge financial services that consumers increasingly demand. Their layers of bureaucracy stifle bright ideas before they get off the ground.
‘For example, peer – to – peer (P2P) lending. This idea would never have seen the light of day in a big bank. Instead, it took a couple of entrepreneurs who were unhappy with the current system to force the financial industry to change its ways.‘
P2P has been increasingly popular for the past few years overseas. Last year alone, P2P loans in the US totalled US$2.8 billion and £1 billion in the UK.
SocietyOne, Australia’s first functional P2P lender has only issued $4 million in loans since it started in August 2012.
As you can see, Australia has been relatively slow in catching onto alternative borrowing methods. [Read more →]
March 8, 2014 Comments Off
In your lifetime you’ll have many chances to make money.
That’s why we advise investors not to make rash decisions.
It’s why we say that if you miss a stock rally, don’t panic, just wait for the next one.
However, while stocks rise and fall on a daily basis, there are some opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Because depending on your age, some opportunities will never appear again in your lifetime.
One of those opportunities is here right now. And it’s so rare that it’s fair to call it the Halley’s Comet of investment opportunities…
If you know anything about astronomy, you’ll know that Halley’s Comet passes through the solar system past the Earth roughly every 75 years.
The last time it showed up was in 1986.
It’s not due to reappear until 2061. A child born today will be middle-aged by the time Halley’s Comet next arrives.
And the investment opportunity before you today is similarly a rare event. [Read more →]
March 7, 2014 Comments Off
For some years now,‘ Tim Morgan writes in Life After Growth, ‘global average EROEIs have been falling, as energy resources have become both smaller and more difficult (meaning energy-costly) to extract.‘
You may have heard of this concept called energy return on energy invested (EROEI). It looks at how much energy we expend in relation to how much energy we extract. Some, like Morgan, think this is very important.
Consequently, falling EROEIs have become the basis of a variety of dire forecasts…
In these scenarios, we spend more and more energy just getting energy, and we have less and less for other discretionary items. As Morgan writes, ‘If EROEI falls materially, our consumerist way of life is over.‘
I’m writing to you today to slay this flawed EROEI concept.
I have to say I used to be taken in by this argument. I wrote a C&C issue a couple of years back with the headline ‘Crack This Code: EROEI – Why It Matters Now and What to Do About It.‘ I included a list of approximate EROEI ratios for various energy sources:
- 1970s oil and gas discoveries: 30-to-1
- Current conventional oil and gas discoveries: 20-to-1
- Oil sands: 5-to-1
- Nuclear: 4-to-1
- Photovoltaic: 4-to-1
- Biofuel: 2-to-1.
I noted that such ratios were falling and concluded that a lower mix of EROEI sources means higher prices for many commodities, because it will take more energy to produce them.
It means nothing of the kind. [Read more →]
March 7, 2014 Comments Off
There’s an old saying that you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.Yesterday we found out we were keeping company with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, and CNBC stock market entertainer (some would say clown) Jim Cramer.
We wouldn’t normally see that as a badge of honour. Both characters are about as mainstream as they come.
But in this instance, on this rare occasion, we agree with pretty much every word they had to say. Or rather, they agreed with what we’ve been saying…
The Ukraine crisis came and appears to have disappeared just as quickly – as far as the financial markets are concerned anyway.
The Aussie market went up 0.3% yesterday to close at 5,400 points.
That is, to remind you, just 61 points below the 52-week high. And after taking a drubbing on Monday, Europe’s markets staged a comeback too. The Euro Stoxx 50 index gained 2.7%, recovering entirely the previous day’s loss.
As for the US market, the Dow Jones Industrial average gained 1.4%, more than rubbing out the previous day’s fall.
What more can we say. Financial and political crises just don’t seem to pack the same punch any more do they? [Read more →]
March 6, 2014 Comments Off