Luckbox Digest

A Chip-making Concept from Canon, Uranium, Wheat and War

By:James Melton

A weekly look inside Luckbox magazine

Canon's chip-making comeback

If there was an award for the “comeback player of the year” in the business world, Canon (CAJPY) might win it this year. In mid October, the company announced it had developed a novel approach to lithography, a critical part of the chip-making process. Canon says the new technology greatly reduces the associated costs and requires far less energy as compared to current technology. The early figures floated by Canon suggest their machines are 40% less expensive and require 90% less energy than those of Dutch company ASML Holding (ASML). ASML has a stranglehold on this niche of the technology sector, controlling more than 60% of the market. That reality probably helps explain why shares of ASML are up roughly 325% over the last five years. Read the whole story.

The nuclear/uranium sector is rallying. Here's why.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Increased political support and interest in the nuclear energy sector has catalyzed upward movement in associated stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). And this niche has been one of the market’s strongest performers in 2023. For example, the VanEck Uranium+Nuclear Energy ETF (NLR) is up about 36% for the year. The single-stock universe has also seen a plethora of big winners in 2023. In North America, one of the best-known nuclear stocks—Cameco (CCJ)—is up 95% so far in 2023. And Centrica PLC (CPYYF) out of the United Kingdom is likewise up 61% for the year so far. As a commodity, 2023, uranium prices are up more than 50%—trading at more than $80 per pound as of today. At the start of 2023, uranium was priced closer to $50 per pound. Read the whole story.

Russia, war and wheat

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Russia is settling for low prices on global markets. Prices for its top two commodities—wheat and natural gas—are down significantly more than the Bloomberg average of global raw materials costs. Russia is probably trying to protect its market share even while hamstrung by Western sanctions related to the war in Ukraine. The Russian government has only a few outlets left to raise money for all purposes, including the war. Giving up ground in the global wheat market would be doubly damaging because the main competition in key markets comes from countries backing Ukraine in the conflict, most notably the United States. Read the whole story.

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James Melton is managing editor of Luckbox magazine.

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