The TSX Venture has been the worst performing stock exchange in North America for over a year now.
For many companies on the TSX Venture, this is a time period filled with anxiety; much like it was in late 2008, the Venture has fallen to the hands of panic sellers. Investors are scared and have been thinking illogically for several months now. Companies that were being bought for $1.00 per share with heavy volume, just 12 months ago, are having a hard time finding bids in this market for $0.30. Volume and risk appetite have vanished. Again, this is similar to how it was in December of 2008 in that respect.
It’s funny how quickly the psyche of investors can change. And this latest correction in the TSX Venture (a 1 year collapse in value of roughly 45%), is a testament to how powerful emotions are when it comes to moving markets.
This latest correction is the second worst (from a percentage standpoint) in the TSX Venture’s history – yet commodity prices remain at historically high levels and the Dow continues to shake off all negative macro-economic data.
Venture investors are scratching their heads as to why this is happening. The truth is that the TSX Venture has always been a boom/bust exchange. It’s extremely volatile. The exchange has existed for 11 years and during that time, it has gone through 7 bear markets of its own (market downturns of 20% or more).
Let’s think about the global economic situation for a few seconds. What has really changed in the last 12 months that would cause the Venture to lose 45% of its value?
Last year we were all well aware of Europe’s debt crisis and the potential for it to spill into other countries. We were all well aware that America’s national debt was skyrocketing out of control. We knew inflation was going to hit the world in a meaningful way (good news for commodity plays), but didn’t know exactly when. We knew China’s growth was going to temporarily slow down. Commodity prices were flirting with record high levels. Unemployment in the Western World was historically high. What’s changed?
The answer is nothing. Uncertainty has hung around the market for a couple years now. The only thing that has changed is the date on your calendar. We are living in just as uncertain times as we were in April of 2011. As mentioned, this hasn’t bothered the Dow Jones. It has continued its ascent to flirt with record highs. Meanwhile, the TSX Venture, an exchange that is heavily weighted in commodities, and more specifically, mineral exploration, has collapsed.
If you had been living under a rock for the last 12 months and woke up looking at a one year chart of the TSX Venture, you would make the assumption it has fallen because gold, copper, silver and oil have probably dropped in value at a rapid rate. This is of course, not the case. Sure, gold and silver have come off their record highs in 2011, but they still remain at historically high values. The miners of these two precious metals are making record margins.
Fundamentally, that is fantastic news for the TSX Venture and the explorers which trade on the exchange. However, the reality is quite different than fantastic. Share prices of these exploration companies have been decimated over the last 12 months. This sell-off has been entirely fear driven. Uncertainty and long-term unknowns, in respect to many of the largest economies in the world, have taken the risk appetite out of the markets and left the Venture alone at the bottom of a dark hole.
For the rest of this article, please go to the PinnacleDigest.com website: http://www.pinnacledigest.com/blog/aaron-hoddinott/tsx-venture-exchangebuy-or-sell