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Why Uranium Stocks Jumped Wednesday

By Neha Chamaria – Oct 13, 2021 at 5:26PM

Key Points

  • Uranium prices have lost significant value in a month.
  • With the largest uranium fund back in action, investors hope it'll lift uranium prices again.
  • Meanwhile, nations like France and Japan are paying more attention to nuclear energy.

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Multiple developments in uranium and nuclear-energy industries have refueled interest in uranium stocks.

What happened

Uranium stocks are back in action after taking a breather last month, with stocks across the board surging in the past two days. Here's how much some of the notable uranium stocks had gained on Wednesday by market close:

  • Ur-Energy (URG -3.20%): Up 5.1%.
  • Denison Mines (DNN -3.65%): Up 5.6%.
  • Energy Fuels (UUUU -3.78%): Up 4.9%.
  • Uranium Energy (UEC -4.07%): Up 5.7%.
  • Cameco Corp (CCJ -1.87%): Up 4.7%.

So what

Uranium stocks were on fire until about a month ago when uranium prices reversed course after a torrid run up, driven by aggressive spot uranium purchases by Sprott Physical Uranium Trust (SRUU.F 0.65%) since the exchange-traded fund's inception mid-July. After an update about uranium purchases on Sept. 17, Sprott went silent, triggering fears among investors about a potential crack in uranium prices.

Sprott's dry spell ended in October, with the fund announcing it had purchased 400,000 pounds of uranium on Oct. 5 and another 300,000 pounds on Oct. 8, amassing a total of 31 million pounds of uranium as of this writing, compared with only 18.3 million pounds on July 31.

Sprott's renewed buying, along with other major developments in the nuclear energy industry, is powering up uranium stocks again.

Nuclear reactors on a field.

Image source: Getty Images.

On Oct. 12, French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a five-year investment plan, with the goal of making France a leader in green hydrogen by 2030 and building multiple new, small nuclear reactors. It's a clear-cut departure from Macron's earlier stance to shut down several nuclear reactors in the nation and lower dependency on nuclear energy. Macron's latest plan to build reactors appears to have been triggered by the ongoing power crisis in Europe that has forced nuclear detractors across the world to reconsider nuclear as a clean and bankable source of energy.

This development coincided with the parliamentary debut of Japan's leading contender for prime mister, Taro Kono, when he stood by his views to restart nuclear power plants to meet the nation's net-zero emission by 2050.

As uranium is the key fuel used to power nuclear reactors, any pro-nuclear energy development reignites interest in uranium stocks.

Now what

With uranium prices tumbling below $40 a pound in October after hitting nine-year highs of $50.80 a pound in September, investors are betting on Sprott to prop up prices again, even as the erstwhile anti-nuclear global stance appears to soften. In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency also upgraded its projection for nuclear energy and now expects global nuclear-generating capacity to double by 2050.

Eventually, nuclear-power generation alone will decide where uranium companies are headed. While uranium stocks can be volatile in the near term, it's imperative for long-term investors to keep an eye on developments in the nuclear-energy industry before placing their bets on uranium stocks.

Neha Chamaria has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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