Now that the first quarter of 2012 is in the books, investors will reflect on their holdings to see if it is time to make any adjustments. While most equities turned in one of the best first quarters in recent memory, not all commodities were quite as lucky. As always, commodity price drivers often vary considerably from general equities, so it should not come as a surprise to see some of the more severe losses that some of these assets have posted. For those looking for the next cheap buy, or commodities that have been on a tear, we outline some of the best and worst performing futures from the first quarter of this year [see also 12 High-Yielding Commodities For 2012].
2012 may have started off like a bull, but it appears that the bears are lurking in the shadows, waiting to make their move. This week has already seen a disappointing halt to the surge that general markets had enjoyed to start the new year, as drama from overseas as well as lackluster earnings have put a damper on investor confidence. But commodity investors can take advantage of this lull with a number of different products that have been profiting from these turbulent markets; namely precious metals. These elusive investments have been outperforming most assets in the trailing week, leaving many investors chomping at the bit for juicy returns [see also Three Reasons Why Gold Is Overvalued].
When it comes to investing in commodities, there are a number of factors to consider. Investors research everything from how the commodities are used down to the nuts and bolts of how specific futures trade. While there are a number of things to keep in mind when making a commodity allocation, the production side of the equation is perhaps the most important. A number of popular commodities are produced or mined in very specific areas of the world, as certain geological or climate conditions yield vastly different results [see also Top Seven Strangest Commodity Futures].
This story originally appeared on ETFdb.com. ETFs have emerged as popular tools for establishing exposure to a wide variety of asset classes, ranging from U.S. Treasuries to Vietnamese equities. But few corners of the exchange-traded product world have seen more explosive growth in recent years than precious metals, as investors have embraced these vehicles as the most efficient way to access assets that have turned in some monster performance numbers in recent years. The 21 ETFs in the Precious Metals ETFdb Category have more than $83 billion in aggregate assets, representing about 8% of the total ETP industry. That’s a massive total for an asset class that generally accounts for a relatively minor portion of long-term portfolios, reflecting the appeal of the low maintenance and low fees offered by the exchange-traded structure.
Platinum is one of the rarest metals on earth, found in even smaller quantities than silver or gold. Though it receives less attention from investors than other precious metals, platinum is an interesting option because it is used widely in a number of industrial applications; most notably, this metal is a key component of automobiles. There are a number of different options for investing in platinum, including exchange-traded futures contracts, stocks of companies engaged in the extraction and sale of the metal, and both physically-backed and futures-based exchange-traded products.