As the U.S. economy finally picks up its pace, many investors are returning to the corner of the market that was one of the primary sources of the 2008 financial crisis: housing. Across the board, housing stats have been on the rise in recent years, including home prices, housing starts, building permits and construction. As such, interest in the raw materials involved in housing have also benefited from the uptrend, particularly lumber [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With the earnings season well on its way, many investors still remain understandably skeptical about several commodity producers’ fourth-quarter reports as global economic uncertainties and demand concerns continue to plague the market. Earnings results thus far have been mixed, while lackluster economic data weighs heavily on commodities. Last week, however, oil giants Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron Corporation (CVX) both posted solid Q4 profits, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Chevron’s victory, however, was short-lived after analysts at UBS cut its stock recommendation [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With the fourth quarter’s earning season in full swing now, investors have, for the most part, been pleasantly surprised. Though many companies have exceeded expectations, earnings estimates for several commodity producers remain rather bearish as global economic uncertainties and demand concerns have left many understandably leery. Last week, leading oil and gas equipment and services provider Schlumberger (SLB) missed analysts’ estimates, reporting fourth quarter net earnings that fell an abysmal 3.7%. Aluminum giant Alcoa (AA), however, reported revenues well above expectations, and the company predicts aluminum demand growth to rise in 2013–-a crucial and positive indicator for the global economy. This Friday, investors will shift their focus to two major commodity producers; Weyerhaeuser (WY) and Halliburton (HAL) [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Optimism on Wall Street appears to be slowly fading away as major equity indexes haven’t been able to keep up with last week’s bullish momentum. Since the broad-based rally last Friday, price action has been lackluster on the equity front as resurfacing “fiscal cliff” woes have once again opened up the doors for profit-taking. Economic data releases remain mixed, with October durable goods orders data coming in flat while consumer confidence is showing signs of minimal improvement. Amid the looming uncertainties, precious metals have offered little to no refuge, prompting savvy traders to look to other corners of the commodity market for opportunities [for more economic news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Buying and owning hard assets like farmland and timberland has been a popular investing method for many years. Unfortunately, it is too costly and difficult for the average retail investor, so it is often left to those who have access to a significant capital base. For those who can invest in land, it can often be one of the best investments you will ever make, as the potential for profit is quite large [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Renown and rather outspoken investor Peter Schiff has taken a shot at the Fed in his most recent statements, as he accuses them of trying to inflate the economy. To be specific, Schiff thinks that Bernanke and company want to inflate the housing bubble, which burst in 2007 and had a devastating impact on our economy. “But you can’t blow up a bubble that has already burst. It has too many holes” said Schiff [for more inflation news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Jeremy Grantham, famous for co-founding the Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO), has made a series of forecasts that investors may want to pay attention to. Grantham has become a household investing name with his uncanny predictions of numerous asset bubbles as well as his general knowledge of the financial world. According to Mr. Grantham, the next seven years will see timber outperform all other asset classes. The prediction laid out a 6.5% annualized return for this commodity, while other asset classes lagged behind [for more timber news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].