Down markets are notoriously rife with good deals, and nowhere is this truer than Down Under. In this interview with The Gold Report, Rick Rule, founder of Sprott Global Resource Investments, explains how he takes advantage of Australia’s small, volatile market and investors’ ethnocentrism to find high-quality companies whose shares are, in his opinion, going for a steal.
The Gold Report: You recently said that this is your fourth cycle in a commodity sector in your 40-year career. Where are we in this current cycle, and how do you determine that?
Rick Rule: The bottom is usually marked by a two- or three-week period of capitulation selling followed by a standoff, where both the buyers and the sellers are exhausted. We haven’t seen that yet. We’ve had two or three different periods with a couple of days of capitulation selling but not a two-week period as we saw in 2000.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the downturn was four years, which suggests we have a year and a half to two years before we clean out the excesses. The junior sector is substantially overpopulated with companies, managers and agents. There needs to be a major cleansing over the next 18 months.
TGR: Will it be more cleansing or more mergers and acquisitions?
RR: Cleansing. Most of the walking dead juniors, the zombies, are a bunch of liabilities disguised as public companies. Their assets are liabilities; their financials are liabilities; mostly their managements are liabilities. It’s wonderful. Every 5 or 10 years you have this major reset in the junior sector. Although it’s extremely unpleasant to go through, it’s very healthy.
A lot of money can be made in deep and cataclysmic market downturns, not just on the rebounds. People do egregiously stupid things out of panic at the bottom. They engage in capitulation selling with no regard to value. In that situation, you don’t need to buy in anticipation of news, because good news comes out and there’s no market reaction to it. You can wait for the news to get out, analyze and digest it and then buy it. That’s as much fun as you can have in this business.
Thanks to BrotherJohnF