Navigating the boom & bust cycles of the market
Published 19-AUG-2023 11:00 A.M.
11 minute read
Countless boom-bust cycles have occurred in the markets.
In hindsight, it’s easy to understand the wisdom in the age-old saying:
“Buy when everyone is fearful and sell when everyone is greedy.”
Sounds about as easy as “honey, why don’t you just buy low and sell high?”
But when push comes to shove it never seems to play out that way...
It always feels easy to invest in a stock during good times, when everything in the market is going up.
When fear and panic set into a market, investors make up every excuse NOT to buy.
Likely because it feels like share prices will just fall further.
During a bad patch in the market, this thought process builds momentum, and we get to a point where everyone is selling, and no one wants to buy shares...
And more buyers than sellers = share prices go down.
Then one day, in the blink of an eye when most of the sellers are out and on the sidelines... things change.
A company delivers good news, macro uncertainty is resolved and the market outlook isn’t so negative anymore.
Out of nowhere, market sentiment suddenly becomes positive and investors are back in the market buying shares again.
And small cap share prices bolt upwards on small volumes, from low bases.
...and yet another market cycle goes by where everyone just happily does the opposite of “buy when everyone is fearful and sell when everyone is greedy.”
Here is a chart showing what most people do:
After experiencing market cycle after market cycle, why does it always end up like this?
It has a lot to do with human psychology but that is a discussion for another day...
When the market is fearful, raising cash gets harder.
Many people are reluctant to buy any shares on market in anticipation of a deeply discounted raise around the corner (probably with free oppies too).
Small cap stocks are generally pre-revenue and need to continuously raise capital to fund their business plans.
Especially in resource exploration, which makes up a large part of our portfolio.
A small cap stock usually has a few thousand investors on its cap table, each with their own set of personal financial circumstances, tax bills, life expenses etc...
And each with the option to hit the “sell button” at any time they want.
In a market like this, investors look to sell for any number of personal reasons that are often nothing to do with the company itself.
The high-risk high-reward proposition of small cap stocks doesn't change during market cycles.
Small cap stocks have always been companies that require new capital, and when they deliver on their goals, can deliver investors outsized returns.
The retreat in capital from these companies during down times does mean that the companies become “price takers” for new funding rounds.
Whereas companies in the past may have been able to set the terms for a capital raise, investors all of a sudden have more bargaining power and want ever bigger discounts to part ways with their cash.
A recent example we saw was the Panoramic Resources raise which was for $40M at 5c.
The day before the capital raise Panoramic was trading at 9.2c per share, so the raise was done at a ~45% discount to the last traded price.
We also saw a convertible note this week for a private company that was offering a 50% discount on the eventual IPO price and 20% interest paid on the note.
We have also seen a few “one option for every one share subscribed” deals in the last couple of weeks.
Everyone (except existing shareholders) loves a 1 for 1 oppie.
Steep discounts and free options are a way to encourage skittish investors to part with their carefully held cash in the current negative market climate.
Good times for anyone who is sitting on cash.
It's not all gloom and doom, though...
We think the current negative market sentiment helps shine the spotlight on stronger companies.
Companies with strong projects, management teams and the potential to deliver investors strong returns manage to lock away capital raises at small discounts AND sometimes even premiums to their share prices.
While most of the investor community sits on the sidelines, the big, patient strategic investors are coming in and buying into companies directly via strategic placements.
We have seen a few of the companies in our portfolios get these type raises done recently:
- Latin Resources (ASX: LRS) - raised $37.1M at 10.5c per share, at the time it was at a 4.5% discount for a large sum of cash. Now ~3 months later, it is trading at almost 3 times the capital raise price.
- Tyranna Resources (ASX: TYX) - raised $14.5M at ($10M at project level and $4.5M in TYX shares at 2.5c - via an agreement with Sinomine, at the time this was equivalent to its share price of 2.5c. The $14.5M was the first tranche of a deal worth up to $31M.
- Kuniko (ASX: KNI) - raised $7.8M at 46.7c - at a price equal to its 30 day VWAP at the time. Major carmaker Stellantis took a 19.99% stake in KNI in order to secure an offtake.
- Evolution Energy Minerals (ASX: EV1) - raised $4.9M at 22c - a 7% premium to its last traded price. EV1 secured this amount via a placement to BTR New Material Group the world’s leading and dominant battery anode producer.
- European Metals Holdings (ASX:EMH) - secured a €6M ($10.2M) strategic investment from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) at 80.3c a share, representing a ~2.5% premium to its last traded price at the time.
What does all of this tell us?
While it can get eerie at times in a negative sentiment market, the smart money out there is always looking for a home in high quality companies.
The only difference in a market now is that the capital will go to far fewer homes.
As a result, the companies with high quality management teams and strong fundamentals will have more capital and less competition to deliver on their strategy.
What are we doing in this market?
At a very high level, this type of market forces Investors like us to be more diligent when screening new Investment opportunities.
We have been Investing in small cap stocks for 20 years, and the depressing periods in markets can disappear before investors get the chance to get meaningful positions in companies at these types of very low valuations.
As a result we are looking to make at least 5-6 more Investments before the end of the calendar year.
This isn't a hard and fast number but we are seeing a lot of companies on our watchlist move down to share prices which now look attractive to us.
Be on the lookout for our new Investments over the coming months.
Also reply to this email to let us know of any small cap companies out there that you think are undervalued or have been oversold in the current bad market conditions.
What to look forward to in the next few months
Share prices go UP when there are more buyers than sellers.
With most share prices well off their highs, usually we observe it doesn’t take much new buying to give the shares a little pop.
The obvious catalyst that can encourage more buying is exceptional announcements from a company.
We touched on four different reasons a share price might go up in a previous weekend email here: Why do small cap share prices go up?
Over our Portfolio of small cap investments there are a number of companies with potentially company making catalysts on the horizon.
A “share price catalyst” is an expected event for a company that could move the share price in a significant way (up OR down), depending on the outcome
One way to think about a potential share price catalyst is as a “known unknown”.
Given the state of the market, we think expectations are generally low.
This means that companies that hit results that fit into our “bull case” scenario will hopefully be rewarded with an increase in share price.
However, it is important to know that the outcomes of these somewhat binary events carry a high risk of failure, and not all companies will be successful.
Here are the list of companies with imminent share price catalysts in our Portfolio:
Note: these are companies with expected material results, the results may be good or bad.
Invictus Energy (ASX:IVZ)
Catalyst: Drilling for oil and gas in Zimbabwe
About: High impact well
Expected Timeframe: September 2023
Latest Update: Rig mobilisation commenced
Noble Helium (ASX:NHE)
Catalyst: Drilling commenced for helium at Tanzania
About: 2x High impact wells
Expected Timeframe: September 2023
Latest Update: Rig mobilisation commenced
Elixir Energy (ASX:EXR)
Catalyst: Drilling for gas in Queensland, Australia
About: Appraisal Well
Expected Timeframe: Late October 2023
Latest Update: Spud date confirmed
Solis Minerals (ASX:SLM)
Catalyst: Lithium drilling results, Brazil
About: Maiden exploration program
Expected Timeframe: Q3 2023
Latest Update: Initial spodumene visuals, assays to come
88 Energy (ASX:88E)
Catalyst: Drilling for oil in Alaska
About: Flow test well
Expected Timeframe: Q4 2023
Latest Update: Rights issue announced to fund well
Lycaon Resources (ASX:LYN)
Catalyst: Nickel-copper drilling results, WA
About: Maiden exploration program
Expected Timeframe: Coming months
Latest Update: Drilling commenced
Bod Science (ASX:BOD)
Catalyst: Insomnia clinical trial results
About: Trial for first over-the-counter cannabis product in Australia
Expected Timeframe: Roughly two weeks
Latest Update: Trial complete, results due soon
TechGen Metals (ASX:TG1)
Catalyst: Gold drilling results, NSW
About: First follow-up drill program
Expected Timeframe: weeks
Latest Update: Drilling complete, assays soon
Tempus Resources (ASX:TMR)
Catalyst: JORC Resource, gold project Canada
Expected Timeframe: weeks
Latest Update: JORC delayed till August/September
Pursuit Minerals (ASX:PUR)
Catalyst: Drilling programme, lithium
About: Testing a lithium salt flat at depth
Expected Timeframe: Q3/Q4
Latest Update: EM Surveys complete
LCL Resources (ASX:LCL)
Catalyst: Kusi gold drilling results, PNG
About: Define size of gold resource
Expected Timeframe: H2 2023
Latest Update: Assays for holes 6 & 7 of 18
Tyranna Resources (ASX:TYX)
Catalyst: 2023 drilling campaign commences
About: First follow-up drilling for lithium
Expected Timeframe: October
Latest Update: Drill program announced for October
What we wrote about this week 🧬 🦉 🏹
EXR set a drilling date for its QLD gas project this week. EXR expects to be drilling its 395 billion cubic feet (BCF) contingent resource in the last week of October.
EV1 signed a three part deal with the world’s biggest battery anode producer BTR New Material Co. The deal includes a $4.9M investment for 9.9% ownership of EV1, a binding offtake agreement AND an MoU to develop a downstream battery anode facility.
In as little as two weeks we should know the results of BOD’s Phase IIb clinical trial for insomnia sufferers.
BOD makes CBD products - and not only does it have clinical trial results due imminently - it has also acquired a new potent delivery technology called Aqua Phase (which increases bioavailability by 4x).
LYN kicked off a two hole diamond drill program at its Bow River nickel-copper-PGE project in the Kimberleys, WA. LYN is chasing a discovery similar to the one Panoramic Resources made at Savannah North back in 2014.
In this educational article we look at one of the most confusing realities in the small cap market - shares go down on good news.
In this educational article we look at electromagnetic (EM) surveys, one of the most commonly used techniques to help resource exploration companies narrow down drilling targets.
Quick Takes 🗣️
Macro News - What we are reading 📰
Biggest Graphite Mines in Africa by Reserves (Energy Capital & Power)
DFS Stage Companies
Have a great weekend,
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