Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, has become one of the fastest-growing methods for tapping into abundant shale reserves held within the U.S. The process works by pumping fracturing fluids-like slickwater, gel or foam–into a wellbore at a sufficient enough rate to fracture the rocks below. When these fractures occur, the operator injects proppants into the well to prevent the fractures from closing when the fluid pressure is reduced. And finally, oil and gas leak from the fractures into the well for extraction. But the revolutionary process is not without its drawbacks, as many criticize the side effects caused from fracking. Below, we outline the case against fracking and why a number of people have rallied against this rapidly-developing energy extraction method [for more fracking news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
When investors think of commodities, barrels of oil or bars of gold typically come to mind, but there are plenty of other investable assets that many overlook. One of the most basic needs for the sustainability of human life is water, and it is quickly becoming a commodity that is presenting as a long-term buy. Not only does water hold advantages over a number of other commodities, but the industry will only become more demanded and valuable as the world population continues to soar [for more water news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
While many traders primarily focus on resources like gold or oil, there are plenty of other opportunities in the commodity space. One such opportunity lies in cotton, which can be found in almost every textile product around the world; but as a soft commodity this constant demand does not always translate into consistent returns. The fluffy crop has enjoyed a strong start to 2013, but is well known for its large movements from day to day and for keeping investors on their toes [for more cotton news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
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].
The global energy space has been dominated by discussions about fossil fuel alternatives in recent years, as there are a number of solutions to our addiction to these commodities. One of the most popular options has been the use of corn-based ethanol in crude oil, which decreases the amount of crude oil needed when the ethanol is mixed in. While it is not a one-stop solution, many see it as a sign of weening ourselves off of crude oil and working towards a more renewable resource [for more ethanol news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Natural gas is one of the most popular commodities in the world and it often ranks among the CME Group’s most traded futures contracts; however, the commodity had been stuck in a rut since the 2008 recession before it finally saw some relief as 2013 opened. From natural gas’s peak to the beginning of the year, the fossil fuel had declined by more than 92%, as a number of macroeconomic factors weighed on the commodity. Just as it finally picked up steam in 2013, NG sputtered into May, dipping more than 9% through the first week of the month [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The bulls are still in the drivers seat on Wall Street as stimulus hopes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are keeping confidence levels elevated despite lackluster fundamental data. The latest monthly employment report at home managed to beat expectations, and the data revealed that the labor market recovery is still sluggish at best; nonetheless, stocks are still charging higher as investors have embraced the latest round of interest rate cuts from the European Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia [for more news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
One of the most attractive features of the commodity space is its cyclical returns. While it may make it difficult for long term investors, traders who know the patterns of certain hard assets can often turn a nice profit simply based on the natural price movements of different commodities. Crude oil is no exception to such patterns, as savvy investors have been profiting from the fossil fuel’s trends for years. Though crude has been exhibiting weakness with questions about its long-term future, its short-term seasonal trend may be a ripe opportunity for traders everywhere [for more crude oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].