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The global commodity strategy team at BofA Securities has identified 27 raw materials they group under the acronym MIFT – metals important for future technology – that are vital for the rise of renewable power, and should see significant price increases as demand climbs.

The list of metals goes well beyond copper, lithium and cobalt which investors usually associate with de-carbonization. The strategist notes that electric vehicle batteries alone require 10 metal inputs: copper, graphite, silicon, titanium, aluminum, niobium, cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel.

The full list (which I posted on social media here, along with the specific renewable sectors that create demand) also includes boron - used for wind and solar power and also for electric motors - molybdenum (wind, solar, electric vehicles, carbon capture and LED lighting) along with lead and zinc. Cadmium, gallium, germanium, selenium, and tellurium - all inputs for photovoltaic solar power - are also featured.

The strategists forecast extremely strong growth in a number of materials to 2030. Nickel demand, for example, is expected to see a 60 per cent jump in demand relative to current levels and cobalt will see an even more impressive 215 per cent increase. Lithium is forecast to see the biggest surge – BofA predicts a 492 per cent expansion in demand in the next eight years.

The predicted growth in platinum demand is also impressive at 40 per cent. A rise in hydrogen power generation above current forecasts could drive platinum usage even higher than expected. The precious metal is used in electrolysers that are used to produce hydrogen.

For investors, profiting from MIFT demand is less straightforward than just buying any producer of any of the materials. For lithium, for instance, BofA analyst Matthew DeYoe only recently raised his rating on lithium producers Albemarle Corp. and Livent Corp. from “underperform” to “neutral.”

Previously, he believed the stock prices had rallied well above earnings potential but now both stocks are more than 20 per cent lower than their recent highs. Mr. DeYoe is also concerned about future lithium supply outpacing demand, a trend that would put downward pressure on the commodity price.

The MIFT theme provides ample motivation for further research and investors can wait for promising opportunities as the trend plays out in the coming years.

-- Scott Barlow, Globe and Mail market strategist

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Stocks to ponder

BlackBerry Ltd. (BB-T) The once iconic Canadian tech firm hasn’t enticed investors for years. David Berman explains why its deal Monday to sell its patents for US$600-million – making it a more streamlined business focused on cybersecurity and vehicle operating systems – is a weak reason to pay attention now.

The Rundown

Too much too soon? Markets rethink 2022 narrative already

We’re barely into February and financial markets are already starting to walk back the dominant new year narrative. Not unlike 2021, when a cranky first quarter gave way to more serene year for all assets, there are twitches of a rethink after just a month of 2022. Detecting some waver in what at first looked like a draconian anti-inflation shift across all major central banks, investors are wary it may all have been a bit overdone. Mike Dolan explains.

Also see:

Wall Street equity strategists refuse to yield to fiery Fed outlook

TSX sees only a garden-variety dip in January

Ukraine may prove wild card for inflation-obsessed markets

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Is a big writedown lurking in your portfolio? Keep an eye on goodwill

It is fair to assume that few investors lose sleep over the accounting treatment of goodwill on the balance sheet of companies in their portfolio. That may be about to change for several reasons. Robert Tattersall explains how investors can stay ahead of the crown.

Analysts expect scorching base metals rally to cool

The London Metal Exchange index of base metals surged 38% higher last year as pandemic demand recovery met supply chain disruption. Copper and tin soared to all-time record prices, while aluminum, nickel, zinc and lead each hit multi-year highs. That, however, may be it for the super-charged rally. Andy Home of Reuters explains.

Bitcoin squeezes smaller rivals to regain its crown in the crypto market

Bitcoin is beginning to reassert its dominance over challengers to its cryptocurrency crown. The original digital coin was assailed by thousands of new “altcoin” competitors in 2021 - from solana and polkadot to litecoin and dogecoin - raising the prospect of a rapid fragmentation of the crypto market. Yet bitcoin has stemmed its loss of market share last month, and begun to regain ground, as rattled investors seek the relative safety of the biggest crypto player while they contend with an aggressive Fed and talk of war in Europe. Medha Singh and Lisa Pauline Mattackal of Reuters explain.

Others (for subscribers)

John Heinzl’s model dividend growth portfolio as of Jan. 31, 2022

Number Cruncher: 15 value-oriented stocks with a positive earnings outlook

Wednesday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Tuesday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Analysts beef up expectations for Europe’s earnings season

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What’s up in the days ahead

While many investors have been waiting out the recent market volatility, money manager Christine Poole has been busy buying. Brenda Bouw finds out what stocks she’s been snapping up.

Click here to see the Globe Investor earnings and economic news calendar.

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Compiled by Globe Investor Staff

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