This was part of yesterday’s weekly.
As usual, Brent Cook’s weekly edition of Exploration Insights (1) (out yesterday) was a mine of information and I thoroughly recommend his services to anyone interested in making money in the exploration mining sector (and no I’m not on commission or anything, and yes I’m fortunate to consider him a friend). He’s given me permission to share the first two paragraphs of yesterday’s letter here with you, the ones that paved the way for the details that came later. Frankly, I wish I’d written them:
“Speculating in minerals exploration is a very high risk endeavor in which buying an indiscriminate basket of stocks will definitely lose you money over the long term and, usually over the short term too. My experience has been that the more selective I am, the better the odds of success– provided the selection criteria are valid.
“A more common strategy that many resource sector commentators employ is the shotgun approach. The advantage to the shotgun strategy is that you are bound to bag a few winners and it seems to work fairly well when the entire sector is moving: not so well when the sector drops. The disadvantage, and something I saw all too often as an analyst at a retail brokerage firm, is that retail investors tend to end up with dozens or even hundreds of stocks in their portfolio. Usually they have very little idea why they bought most of these companies in the first place and whoever had recommended them (be it a taxi cab driver or letter writer) had failed to update them or suggest when to sell. More often than not, this collection of orphan stocks sits in accounts at a loss and there is no liquidity, i.e. no one wants to buy them.”
IKN back. Your author agrees, with particularly strong agreement on the part about people ending up with dozens of positions. I’m also acutely aware of the difference in people’s enthusiasm about handing out buy recommendations compared to sell recommendations. There are several reasons for that, of course. One is that the tipster may not want to draw attention to his losing trades. Perhaps another is the fear people have of selling and then watching the stock take off without them, leaving cash on the table for somebody else to pick up. Also, as a market pro once suggested perhaps cynically, an analyst or letter writer with too many sell calls would be put on the blacklists for future cheap private placements. But another point is that you really have to be darned lucky to sell well, something that people don’t like admitting. More on that another day.