Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Dirty Harry Portfolio: Five Risky Plays that Could Make Your Day (U; EWQ...)

From the Wall Street Journal:
Call it the Dirty Harry portfolio. Five big bets for the brave, and only one question.

Do you feel lucky?

These aren't the investments for Grandma. And they aren't wagers to take with your rent money. These are the risky bets most people are too afraid to take.

They're a gamble. Some of them could go to zero.

But that risk comes with a kicker: high potential rewards. If these things work out they'll pay out, big time.

There's a saying on Wall Street: There's no such thing as a safe investment, only one whose risks aren't yet apparent. Investors keep learning it all over again. J.P. Morgan Chase stock, anyone? Best Buy? How about some Greek government bonds? After all, they're members of the euro zone now, they should be fine!
At least here you'll know you're gambling. And you're getting paid for the risks.

So, in the words of Clint Eastwood's steel-nerved Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan: "You've got to ask yourself a question. 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"

1. Uranium Participation Risk: High
If you're looking for cheap fuel, this is it. Uranium prices have collapsed 30% since the Fukushima tragedy in Japan last year. A pound of uranium traded for $140 in 2007. Today: $52.
Since Fukushima, governments have scaled back plans for new reactors. Germany is going nuke-free. But it's not the whole story. World energy demand is expected to rise 40% over 20 years. Getting there without more nuclear reactors will be especially tough. Meanwhile, the world hardly mines enough uranium to feed the reactors that already operate. Uranium is well below replacement cost.
Uranium Participation is a Canadian closed-end fund which owns physical uranium in a warehouse, the way a gold fund owns gold. The stock, which trades under the symbol "U" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and as "URPTF" in the Pink Sheets over-the-counter market, trades for about 20% below the net asset value.

2. iShares MSCI France Index Fund Risk: Medium
Investors are not loving Paris in the springtime. The main CAC-40 index is down 20% in a month and it has halved from its 2007 peak. People were already worried about the country's debts and the European crisis. Now they are worried about the new, Socialist president as well.
But how much of those worries are already reflected in the price? This sale has left Parisian stocks looking very cheap....MORE