Commodity Trading Trends: Is 2012 Silver’s Year?

Silver has been one of the most talked about commodities over the past few years thanks to its massive price swings. After a dismal 2008, silver prices soared for the next two years including an approximate 80% appreciation in 2010 alone. Then came 2011, which brought silver back down to earth despite impressive spikes intra-year. With losses piling up to more than 10% in the previous year, investors were quick to sell out of the flailing precious metal. It’s poor performance, however, came as a major surprise especially considering that gold was up by about the same margin that silver surrendered. But now that 2012 is underway, silver may be poised for another break-out year [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Silver].

The upside potential for silver seems to be about as bright as the metal itself; last year saw the commodity spike all the way to nearly $50/oz., the highest levels seen in years. Shortly thereafter, silver lost its steam and came crashing back down to earth, but the opportunity still remains for 2012 to see a similar jump, especially given that silver is lower now than it was at this time last year. This year is already looking up for commodities, let alone the battered silver. Alcoa’s earnings report earlier in the week came with a bullish forecast for the year, inspiring some much needed investor confidence and a welcomed rise in general commodities. For those who believe that this is the year for silver, we outline several ways to play the metal below [see also Three Reasons Why Gold Is Overvalued].

Ways To Play

For those looking to invest in silver, there are a number of options that will appeal to both traders and more traditional investors. From a trading standpoint, the March silver futures contract on the COMEX is trading with the highest volume of any near-term contract. Perhaps the most liquid option out there comes from the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) which measures physical bullion. The fund makes for a perfect trading option, as it has an ADV topping 19 million shares; however, given its physical nature, it can also be an integral part of a longer-term portfolio. Finally, for investors who want something of a leveraged play on the metal, Silver Wheaton (SLW) is a popular mining firm that will usually offer a relatively high beta [see also 12 High-Yielding Commodities For 2012].

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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