Fund manager says junior mining shares look cheap

Investors who are familiar with the philosophy of value-investing gurus such as Warren Buffett will know that their preference is to buy shares when they are available at bargain prices.

This often means there will be factors such as a market-wide crash or a company-specific uncertainty at play which has produced a buying opportunity.

Right now, the crash in commodity-linked stocks such as iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) and oil and gas producer Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) has arguably created the right environment for value investors to prosper.

Even some dyed-in-the-wool value investors who generally steer clear of the resource sector are currently delving into the sector due to the apparent value available.

One fund – recently profiled in the Australian Financial Review – which is positive of the investment opportunities in the sector is UK-based fund manager Lanstead.

Lanstead’s co-founder Mr Greg Kofford noted that “it seems like we have hit bottom in some of the commodity pricing and we are seeing a little uptick in companies coming through looking to advance projects.”

This scenario has driven Lanstead towards the smaller end of the resource sector where it’s finding opportunities in a range of commodity-exposed firms including a graphite developer, a tungsten producer and a lithium extraction business.

A safer bet?

Lanstead is no doubt right in suggesting that some of the deepest value opportunities presently available are to be found amongst junior mining and small exploration stocks.

For many investors however, the risks at this end of the market are arguably too great to stomach.

For conservative investors while the upside may be less, the downside risks would also appear lower for diversified resource majors such as BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO). This arguably makes these a preferred play on an eventual upturn in the commodity cycle.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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