The Top Stock to Profit from Nuclear’s Comeback

Due to concerns about global warming, many prominent environmentalists who once protested nuclear plants now speak in favor of nuclear energy as a “green” source of electricity.

My own personal evolution is instructive. As a long-haired member of the no-nukes movement in college, I ardently protested nuclear power in the 1970s. Fast forward 40 years and I now embrace nuclear, as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. (The story of humankind is a story of endless ironies.)

The search for low-carbon energy is one of the most important long-term investment trends of our time. For all the fuss raised by anti-nuclear activists, the fact remains that nuclear power is a lot cleaner on a day-to-day basis than oil or coal. Nuclear power has gotten considerably safer over the years and it doesn’t emit the gasses that contribute to global warming.

As extreme storms caused by climate change continue to pummel the world, many energy policymakers would rather split atoms than split hairs.

The demand for uranium should remain strong in coming years. The one company that’s best positioned to profit is the little-known Canadian firm Cameco Corp. (NYSE: CCJ), the largest and lowest-cost uranium producer in the world.

The U.S. and most other countries import the vast majority of the uranium they use as fuel. With emerging markets stepping up plans to build nuclear power plants, a bull market in uranium is unfolding that will extend over many years.

Uranium prices have been soaring this year and currently hover at about $91 per pound, a 16-year high. Continued tightness in the market is expected to push prices above $100/lb in 2024, according to industry analysts.

According to UxC, one of the nuclear industry’s leading market research and analysis companies, the gap between uranium demand and production is expected to widen in the coming years (see chart).

In addition to the supply-and-demand equation, uranium prices are on track to continue rising to meet accelerating demand from utilities.

You may be surprised to learn that nuclear is the world’s second-largest low-carbon power source. Nuclear power supplies about 10% of the electricity generated worldwide. The largest low-carbon power source is hydroelectric.

The international climate change accords in Paris, which the Biden administration rejoined, endorsed nuclear as a way to reduce carbon emissions.

Since the days of the Obama administration, the federal government has been providing seed money for advanced nuclear designs that are safer and eco-friendlier, as a way to make sure nuclear stays in the U.S. “energy mix” for the next several decades. It’s another example of how government research into new technologies eventually benefits investors.

President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill seeks to revive the nuclear power industry, which provides about 19% of the nation’s electricity.

Yellow cake in the Great White North…

Cameco owns the production and exploration rights to about 1.9 million acres of land, mostly in Northern Saskatchewan. Canada is the world’s second-largest uranium-producing nation, behind Kazakhstan.

Cameco sits on about 460 million pounds in proven and probable reserves of uranium and an additional 600 million pounds in measured and indicated and inferred resources. Cameco produced 17.6 million pounds of uranium in 2023, which is 69% higher than its 2022 production.

The company also is a leading provider of nuclear fuel processing services, supplying much of the world’s reactor fleet. With a market cap of $21.7 billion, Cameco is in fact the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company.

China continues to make a big bet on nuclear, in large part to wean itself away from coal and to mitigate a horrendous air pollution problem that’s becoming a safety as well as political crisis. The country has 26 nuclear power reactors in operation and 25 under construction, with nearly 100 on the drawing boards for 2030.

Cameco will especially benefit from soaring Chinese demand for uranium. The company is the primary supplier of the country’s “yellow cake” (uranium concentrate powder) under a contract that runs through 2025. India’s accelerating pursuit of nuclear power also will boost demand for Cameco’s uranium.

Cameco employs a conservative marketing strategy, selling around 40% of its production under long-term contracts at fixed prices that provide a cushion when uranium prices are low.

Cameco’s stock has been on a tear so far this year, as the following price chart shows:

CCJ currently hovers above its 20-, 50- and 200-day moving averages, which denotes powerful upward momentum. The stock’s Relative Strength Index (RSI) is about 54, within the bullish range.

The average analyst expectation is for Cameco to generate year-over-year earnings growth of 21.10% in the current year and 91.30% next year.

Indeed, prices for a wide range of commodities are surging and should continue their upward trajectory, as global growth and the push for green energy accelerate.

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John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.

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