3 reasons to buy shares in Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC)

Young lithium mining stocks in a great position to capitalize on growing demand from electric vehicles in the years to come. Here are three reasons why Lithium Americas Corp. (TSE:LAC) might outperform.

When Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) went to market with its lithium-ion-powered electric Roadster, the rest of the automotive industry found itself scrambling to catch up. “All the geniuses here at General Motors kept saying lithium-ion technology is 10 years away, and Toyota agreed with us – and boom, along comes Tesla,” GM exec Robert Lutz said in 2007. “That was the crowbar that helped break up the log jam.”

Now, lithium-ion is the standard in a rapidly-growing industry, and that’s driven up demand and prices for the metal. That puts young lithium mining stocks in a great position to capitalize on growing demand in the years to come. Here are three reasons to consider adding Lithium Americas Corp. (TSE:LAC) to your portfolio:

1) World-class lithium deposit. Lithium Americas’ flagship Cauchari lithium/potassium resource in Argentina is the third-largest lithium brine deposit in the world. Drill holes at Cauchari, which covers 64,572 hectares, have shown a lithium grade of up to 900 milligrams per litre. The company’s Cauchari and Olaroz deposits sit on the Puna Plateau, which holds approximately 84 percent of the world’s lithium brine reserves.

2) Partnerships. Strong financial backing from some heavyweights in the automotive industry indicates that a mine will eventually enter production at Cauchari. Magna International Inc. (NYSE:MGA) currently maintains a minimum 9.9 percent equity interest in Lithium Americas and will have the option to enter into an off-take arrangement entitling Magna to acquire up to 25 percent of the LAC’s lithium production. Mitsubishi Corporation maintains a minimum 4 percent equity interest in Lithium Americas with the option to enter into an off-take arrangement entitling Mitsubishi Corporation to acquire up to 12.5 percent of the LAC’s lithium carbonate including derivatives and potassium production.

3) Growing lithium demand. A recent report by MarketResearch indicates the lithium-ion market will quadruple between now and 2020 to $43 billion. Rising gas prices and tax incentives from Washington could spur even greater than expected demand for electric vehicles (and lithium) in coming years.

Lithium Americas should complete its Preliminary Economic Assessment at Cauchari in the first quarter of this year, and a decision on mine construction is expected in 2012.

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Top 5 best uranium mining stocks

Outside of the obvious industry leaders in uranium mining, it’s difficult to find small and mid-cap mining stocks that have differentiated themselves in the sector. Here’s a look at five uranium mining stocks that warrant a deeper look.

Outside of the obvious industry leaders in uranium mining – Cameco Corporation (NYSE:CCJ) and BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE:BHP) – it’s difficult to find small and mid-cap mining stocks that have differentiated themselves in the sector. Pinetree Capital’s VP of business development Philip Williams recently offered up five of his favorite uranium mining stocks in an interview with The Energy Report. Here are their tickers as well as some commentary on each of the names:

Mega Uranium Ltd. (TSE:MGA). Based in Canada, Mega Uranium is focused on properties in Cameroon, Canada and Australia – home to the world’s largest uranium deposits. Mega’s massive Lake Maitland Project is in the feasibility study stage. The project has an Indicated Resource of 28.7 million tons of U3O8 and an Inferred Resource of 3.6 million tons. The stock is down 7 percent year-to-date and up 60 percent over the past 12 months.

Rockgate Capital Corp. (TSE:RGT). Shares in Rockgate have been on fire, rising 30 percent since the start of the year and more than 400 percent over the past 12 months. The company’s flagship project is the 100 percent owned Falea Uranium/Silver deposit Mali, which has shown an uncapped resource of 20,252,000 pounds of uranium and 31,600,000 ounces of silver. Rockgate could be a potential takeover target as large foreign uranium miners look to grow their holdings in Africa.

U3O8 Corp. (PINK:UTREF). With projects in Guyana, Colombia and Argentina, U3O8 Corp. has significant footholds in South America – an area that’s long been ignored by uranium-mining companies. The company’s Cerro Solo area in Argentina could hold up to about 100 million pounds of U3O8, and its Kurupung Batholith project in Guyana could hold even more. Williams calls South America “the next frontier for uranium development,” and he expects U3O8 will expand its NI 43-101 resources at its projects by almost tenfold this year. Shares are up 15 percent year to date and more than 170 percent over the past 12 months.

Energy Fuels, Inc. (TSE:EFR). Based in Canada, Energy Fuels is focused on uranium deposits in the southwestern U.S. from Utah to Colorado. The stock got a big boost earlier this year when the company’s application for its Pinon Ridge uranium mill was approved. That could turn Energy Fuels into a consolidator in the U.S. uranium mining space as it seeks out rights to more properties in the area. Shares are up more than 55 percent year to date and more than 500 percent over the past year.

Mawson Resources Ltd. (TSE:MAW). Based in Vancouver, Mawson’s flagship project is its high-grade uranium and gold deposit at Rompas in Finland. Surface samples have shown up to 373 ounces per ton in gold and 43.6 percent uranium. Williams calls it “almost freakishly high-grade gold and uranium.” Shares have exploded upward on the strength of these early results. Year-to-date, MAW has returned 5 percent and more than 600 percent over the past 12 months.

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Top 10 best stock sectors for 2011

One of the toughest parts of investing is being in the right stocks at the right time. Here are the Top 10 sectors that I believe have the best prospects for a break-out year in 2011.

One of the toughest parts of investing is being in the right stocks at the right time. In general, sectors move together on a combination of factors: the macroeconomic outlook, changes in demand, materials costs and the regulatory outlook among other things. Based on those considerations, here are the sectors that I believe have the best prospects for a break-out year in 2011:

1) Rare earth stocks. Rare earths mining companies seek out or dig up deposits of rare earth metals – a collection of 17 chemical elements that are increasingly used in high-tech products from iPhones to wind turbines and electric vehicles. Rare earth stocks exploded upward at the start of the year on news that China is hacking exports of the metals by 35 percent through the first six months of 2011. That’s not good considering the fact that China produces 95 percent of the world’s rare earths supply. Rare earth mining stocks outside of China will have to make up for the plummeting supply in coming years. While shares in rare earths companies have cooled off recent weeks (putting several of them in the red since the start of the year), I fully expect the long-term trend to be intact. Among my favorite stocks in the sector? Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (AMEX:AVL), which is up 19 percent on the year.

2) Technology IPOs. A number of multi-billion dollar technology IPOs appear to be on the slate in 2011. From LinkedIn to Groupon, expect lots of press, surging prices and a good opportunity to make a quick buck. Check out my unofficial tech IPO calendar for 2011 to see all the tech companies that might IPO this year.

3) Oil stocks. Political turmoil coupled with rising demand pushed oil over $100 a barrel in London for the first time in three years. The IEA expects demand to grow 1.7 percent to 89.3 million barrels this year, and that’s pushing up share prices for the majors and small-cap exploratory companies as well. Shares in Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) are up 13 percent since the start of the year.

4) Precious metal stocks. It’s been a tough start to the year for gold and silver as investors have cheered corporate profits and robust consumer spending. That’s had some predicting gold’s peaked, but I’m convinced the long-term outlook for gold – and particularly silver – is still up. Central banks became net buyers of gold last year, and they’re expected to continue that trend in 2011. The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE:GLD) is down 4.5 percent and the iShares Silver Trust (NYSE:SLV) is up 2 percent since the start of the year.

5) Fertilizer stocks. Rising food costs are the product of inflation and rising demand. As producers try to cope with growing demand, they’ll rely on phosphates, nitrates and potash to try to squeeze more food out of the same acreage. That’s caused an explosive surge in small-cap phosphate exploration stocks. Allana Potash Corp. (CVE:AAA) is up more than 100 percent since the start of the year. Bellweather fertilizer stocks like Potash Corp. (NYSE:POT) and The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS) are both up more than 20 percent as well.

6) Copper stocks. The looming threat of a supply crunch has helped push copper prices above $10,000 per ton for the first time in history. Analysts are calling for a worldwide deficit of about 500,000 tons of copper this year, and that will help propel copper mining stocks after what’s already been a great start. Shares in small-cap and mid-tier copper stocks have performed the best to date with Augusta Resource Corp. (AMEX:AZC) rising 21 percent YTD.

7) Uranium stocks. Uranium prices have been on a tear rising 70 percent in the past seven months. In January alone, the spot price for uranium shot up 17 percent to $73 a pound. Uranerz Energy Corp. (AMEX:URZ) in particular has been shining with its shares up 35 percent this year. As countries around the world look to go green, nuclear power will get less press than wind and solar, but it will likely be the backbone of any plan to move away from coal.

8) Coal stocks. Flooding in Queensland and rapidly-growing demand in China have led to a surge in coal prices around the world. If oil prices remain high, coal will be the go-to substitute for power generation in many countries around the world. Year-to-date, the Market Vectors-Coal ETF (NYSE:KOL) is nearly flat, but its up almost 40 percent over the past six months.

9) Blue chip stocks. As the dollar begins falling relative to currencies in other countries, shares in high-quality, blue-chip U.S. stocks begin to look very attractive – particular blue-chip stocks with international exposure. The beneficial exchange rates should make U.S. exports look more attractive and will overfill the coffers at America’s biggest corporations. Shares in General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) are up more than 19 percent since the start of the year.

10) China e-commerce stocks. A recent report by Credit Suisse predicts that e-commerce will grow by 400 percent through 2015 in China. With most of the leading Chinese retail sites in private hands, investors on American exchanges don’t have a whole lot of options to cash in on the trend outside of the Amazon-like site E-Commerce China Dangdang, Inc. (NYSE:DANG). Taobao.com controls 75 percent of all e-commerce transactions in China. If they IPO in 2011 or 2012, I’d recommend cleaning up your portfolio and taking a long position.

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How to invest in fertilizer stocks

Rising food prices and increased demand from India and China are propelling fertilizer stocks to fresh 52-week highs. Here’s how maximize your investment in phosphate mining stocks.

As a middle class emerges in countries like India and China, the demand for protein-rich foods is straining global food supplies, and that’s putting upward price pressure on fertilizer. China produces 37 percent of the world’s phosphate, and the country’s still gearing up to become a net importer of the nutrient. That demand should drive investing opportunities for years to come.

Agricultural ETFs, Industry Leaders and Small Caps

A simple way to get exposure to fertilizer stocks is via one of two major agribusiness ETFs. The Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSE:MOO) looks to replicate the performance of the DAXglobal Agribusiness Index, and the PowerShares Global Agriculture Portfolio ETF (NASDAQ:PAGG) invests in stocks that make up the NASDAQ OMX Global Agriculture Index. MOO has returned 35 percent over the past year and PAGG has fared nearly as well, returning 31 percent over the past 12 months.

Both ETFs currently hold fertilizer stocks in two of the top three slots in their portfolios. Potash Corp. (NYSE:POT) – the world’s largest fertilizer company – leads the way with MOO and PAGG dumping more than 9 percent of their capital into the Saskatchewan, Canada, company. Potash’s market cap has climbed to $55 billion as the company’s shares have risen nearly 75 percent over the past year.

MOO and PAGG also hold large positions in The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS), another bellweather fertilizer stock that’s up 49 percent over the past 12 months to fresh 52-week highs.

Still, better returns might be found in small-cap fertilizer stocks that are exploring for or working to bring phosphate, nitrate and potash mines online. Shares in Allana Potash Corp. (CVE:AAA) have rocketed up nearly 500 percent in the past year on new financing deals and promising drill results from the company’s projects in Argentina and Ethiopia. While I wouldn’t suggest buying shares in Allana after such a big upswing, junior miners in the sector are abundant and warrant further exploration. Among them:

IC Potash Corp. (CVE:ICP). IC Potash has launched a prefeasibility study on the Ochoa Project, which the company hopes will yield Sulphate of Potash (“SOP”) – a rarer, non-chloride-based potash fertilizer. “I am very pleased with the operational progress made to date,” the company’s President and CEO Sidney Himmel said earlier this month. “We are on plan with our primary strategic goal to be in production for 2014.”

Encanto Potash Corp. (CVE:EPO). Encanto Potash is currently exploring five projects in the potash-rich Canadian prairie in Saskatchewan. The company was formed to assist First Nations Peoples in discovering and developing the land’s resources. Encanto Potash has 100 percent potash mineral title to all of the properties and the First Nations have a 3% GORR (Gross Over Riding Royalty) upon production. The company expects to release a NI 43-101 report on its Muskowekwan property this month.

Western Potash Corp. (TSE:WPX). Based in Vancouver, Canada, Western Potash recently began a prefeasibility study for its Milestone potash project in Saskatchewan. “We are pleased to get the feasibility process underway and we are confident that this process will continue to de-risk what management believes to be one of the largest and best Tier 1 potash, greenfield, solution deposits, still available in the world today,” president and CEO Patricio Varas said last month. Results from the study are due in Q4.

Spur Ventures Inc. (TSE:SVU). Shares in Spur Ventures were up 18 percent yesterday. The Vancouver-based company has two joint ventures with Chinese fertilizer companies Yichang Maple Leaf Chemicals Ltd. (YMC) and Yichang Spur Chemicals Ltd. (YSC). Spur Ventures aims to mine some 60 million tons of phosphate from two undeveloped deposits in China and is planning the construction of two phosphate fertilizer plants in China that should produce 1.2 million tons of fertilizer a year.

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Is Poynt Corp. a mobile Groupon? (CVE:PYN)

Shares in Calgary-based app-maker Poynt Corp. (CVE:PYN) have risen more than 130 percent in five days on hopes that Poynt is the Canadian Groupon.

Shares in Calgary-based app-maker Poynt Corp. (CVE:PYN) have risen more than 130 percent in five days on a spate of good news. First, the company was awarded a U.S. patent for “delivering location-based offers and coupons to mobile smart phones based on GPS location and user profile.” The announcement, which came out on Jan. 12, seems to be picking up steam in media outlets, and risk-tolerant investors are speculating that the company might have a lock-down on Groupon-style, location-based coupons for mobile users.

The Poynt app gives users the ability to search for local business results, movie theaters and gas stations. When you’ve found what you’re looking for, you can book movie tickets, call a business from within the app, get directions or book a table at a participating restaurant on the go. The app comes pre-loaded on Blackberries, and it’s also available on the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7s. Users seem to like it, too, as the app has been downloaded more than 5 million times, and Poynt handles some 20 million queries a month.

The company’s also partnered with some heavyweights that have vested interests in mobile search. Among them: Superpages, Bing and Thomson UK. Earnings results at the company are yet to impress, though, with Poynt posting a loss of more than $2.6 million on revenues of just $236,000 in the quarter ended Sept. 30, according to CanTechLetter.com.

That might change with Poynt’s Feb. 3 acquisition of go2 Media, Inc., a local advertising publishing platform. The move shows Poynt’s poised to get serious about exercising its newly-won patent by delivering coupons to mobile users when they’re searching for a nearby business or service.

“With more and more mobile consumers turning to their smartphones for timely information based on where they are and what they are searching for at that moment in time, we expect Poynt will have a rapidly growing audience of new and existing users that will benefit from location-specific advertising and coupons,” Poynt Corp. CEO Andrew Osis said in a recent press release.

It remains to be seen whether Poynt’s patent will actually bar other app-makers from using GPS-based coupon delivery via the mobile Web (something that I have a lot of trouble believing), but it’s clear that Poynt has captured the imagination of a lot of investors. If Poynt does have the ability to padlock mobile coupon delivery, expect buyout offers to start rolling in.

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U.S. gets first gold bullion bar ATM in Boca Raton

Shares of the parent company for PMX Gold, PMX Communities, Inc. (OTC:PMXO), shot up 30 percent on yesterday’s news that a gold bullion bar ATM opened in Boca Raton, Fla.

Buy gold bullion barsBoca Raton – long a bastion for moneyed, elbow-patch-wearing New Yorkers who winter on the Florida coast – has taken the curtain off the United States’ first gold-dispensing ATM. The “Gold to Go ATM” was officially unveiled yesterday in an opening ceremony at the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton at 10 a.m. EST.

“Boca is for the rich and famous,” Glen Calder, a PR rep for PMX Gold, the Boca Raton company that will operate the machines, told the Palm Beach Post. “The Town Center Mall is where a lot of people go to spend a lot of money. It’s a good fit.”

Feed the ATM cash or a credit card and you can get gold bullion bars or gold bullion coins in return. Prices on the gold are updated every 90 seconds to ensure the company doesn’t lose money against current spot prices on the yellow metal. Shares of the parent company for PMX Gold, PMX Communities, Inc. (OTC:PMXO), shot up 30 percent on yesterday’s news, and it sounds like this ATM could be the first of many in South Florida.

“PMXO previously entered into a preliminary agreement for the purpose of developing proposals for licensing and franchise agreements for German engineered, unmanned point-of-sale technology and to conduct exclusive test marketing in the State of Florida,” said Michael Hiler, the Company’s President and CEO, in a press release. “Since that time, we have secured prime, high traffic retail mall space, obtained legal advice regarding exemption from Florida state sales tax issues, acquired newly minted Credit Suisse .9999+ pure gold bars and developed the initial infrastructure to commence retail Gold Bullion sales. Upon satisfaction of final equipment testing and security details, we plan to start operations.”

Despite its boring name, the Town Center Mall seems like a good place to test out gold ATMs. It plays host to just about every opulent store you could expect to find in Beverly Hills or South Beach: Cartier, Bvlgari, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Armani Exchange, Neiman Marcus, Coach, LaCoste, Louis Vuitton, etc., and – perhaps more importantly – it doesn’t cater to the type of clientele that might try toss the ATM in the back of their pick-up trucks. No word yet on whether or not silver ATMs are in the pipeline.

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Top five penny lithium stocks of 2010 (EFL, OROCF, AVL, GXY, CLQ)

Trying to get out in front of the lithium craze? Not a bad idea considering the fact that GM thought the technology was a decade away from mass production (until Tesla came along and shot that theory to hell). Here are the top-performing lithium penny stocks of 2010.

Lithium penny stocks

Trying to get out in front of the lithium craze? Not a bad idea considering the fact that GM thought the technology was a decade away from mass production (until Tesla – NASDAQ:TSLA – came along and shot that theory to hell). Here are the top-performing lithium penny stocks of 2010. I just wish I would have discovered them twelve months ago!

1) Electrovaya Inc. (TSE:EFL), +187% YTD

2) Orocobre LTD. (PINK:OROCF), +179% YTD

3) Avalon Rare Metals, Inc. (TSE:AVL), +34% YTD

4) Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), +14.8% YTD

5) Canada Lithium Corp. (TSE:CLQ), +125% past three months

Honorable Mention goes to Talison Lithium LTD., which trades on the Pink Sheets under ticker TLTHF. Although it’s not technically a penny stock at $6.40 per share, it is, nonetheless on a limited exchange. Best of all, it’s up 43.3 percent YTD.

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American Apparel — the cotton-happy clothing company — has had more than its fair share of troubles. Today’s earnings report could shed some light on the company future.

American Apparel Inc. (AMEX:APP): The cotton-happy clothing company with factories in the great U-S-of-A has had more than its fair share of troubles. They bleed cash like an ATM, and they’ve been hit hard by the Great Recession. Hipsters, after all, can’t afford high-quality cotton when they’re not getting tipped at Starbucks. The company’s had to tighten the drawstrings on their sweatpants and beg for cash (and loan extensions) over and over again. Its gotten so bad, that the stock’s right around its all-time lows. Read: people think they might go bankrupt. Analysts are predicting a loss of .22 cents per share. That’s more than $15 million. Expect lots of volatility either way. The stock was up 8 percent on Friday. If the stock beats expectations, expect a temporary pop. Sell now, and buy back in a week. No one sees a profit in their future anytime soon — and that likely means prices will remain depressed for some time to come.