The first half of 2014 is in the books, and commodities have finally started to see something of a turn around. Commodities had a tough 2013, while equity markets made an unprecedented run higher, turning investor’s attention away from a floundering commodity space. But the first six months of this year saw hard assets move higher and hold pace with broad markets, injecting some much-needed life into the commodity world [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
2013 was certainly a brutal year for precious metals and precious metal miners. Lower metal prices and rising operating costs made it difficult for many miners to log in a good profit last year. So far in 2014, however, many miners have been able to gain significant ground. While this corner of the market typically performs better during times of economic uncertainty, due to the fact that precious metals prices are usually driven higher, this year the commodity has managed to stay afloat despite the overall positive outlook for the economy [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Contango is the process by which near month futures are cheaper than those expiring further into the future, creating an upward sloping curve for future prices over time. It usually stems from the cost of storing commodities prior to their sale, though a futures curve can also reflect market expectations of where a commodity is heading. Though contango often comes handcuffed to negative connotations, it typically is not a problem for traders and investors who are aware of it [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Last year, investors witnessed several corners of the commodity market falter. One of the hardest hit sectors, however, was metals and mining; both the commodity and its producers suffered tremendous losses in 2013. The popular SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) saw outflows of more than $23 billion last year, causing its assets under management to sink by more than 40%. Other metal funds, as well as individual mining companies, had similarly dismal performances [for more gold and silver news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Much to the bears’ frustration, major U.S. equity indexes are refusing to make way for profit taking pressures even as earnings season continues full steam ahead. The S&P 500 Index continues to inch further into uncharted territory, although over the past two weeks it has failed to continue its impressive streak of posting new highs, leading many to speculate about what headwinds could spark the next steep correction on Wall Street [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
As we kick off the New Year, commodity investors are hoping that 2014 brings more favorable returns than its predecessor. Last year was largely marked by dwindling commodity returns with a number of hard assets wreaking havoc on investors and traders across the board. Gearing up for 2014, we take a look at some of the biggest commodities currently contangoed to help you get prepared for the new year [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Last week, we outlined the five hard assets that performed the best in 2013 and noted that the pickings were slim. Overall, it was a rough year for commodities, as a number of hard assets slumped while equities roared forward. Below, we outline the five worst performing commodities of 2013 [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]:
Peter Schiff, CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, has long been a major presence in the precious metals industry. We had the chance to sit down with Peter to discuss silver, gold and his new fund that debuted earlier this year.
An event several years in the making could be just days away. For some time now, the Fed has been debating whether or not it should limit big banks and their participation in the commodities markets. The debate stemmed from a number of accusations of market manipulation for profit, though most of the institutions on the chopping block have maintained their innocence. The decision is expected to fall sometime in the next month and could be a welcomed change for traders [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Year-to-date, small capitalization equities have rallied alongside the broad market, as bullish momentum continues to be a dominating force and investors become more risk tolerant. These stocks typically offer more promising long-term growth potential than their large cap counterparts; however, investors will have to take on slightly higher levels of risk and volatility. Already this year, the Russell 2000 Index has surged more than 20%, urging investors to take a closer look at these promising securities [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].