Earnings season for Q1 2013 is well on its way, with several bellwether commodity stocks already reporting better-than-expected results. Agribusiness giant Monsanto Company (MON) posted earnings that significantly beat out estimates: earnings rose 22%, while profits came in at $1.48 billion. Meanwhile, Halliburton (HAL) reported an unprofitable quarter, though the company added $1 billion to reserves tied to litigation involving the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. Barrick Gold (ABX) also beat analyst expectations, clocking in an EPS of $0.86 [for more oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Metals across the board have suffered steep losses in recent days, with gold’s alarming 9% one-day drop rattling the markets and investor confidence. And while gold remains as one of traders’ top concerns, another metal’s volatile movements has been raising some red flags. Yesterday, copper futures for April delivery tumbled 3.6% to $3.1880 a pound, marking the lowest level since October 2011. The metal has almost dropped 20% from its most recent high, so the probability of copper entering bear territory is quite likely [for more copper news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
As the main culprit responsible for the credit crisis and resulting Great Recession, the U.S. housing market has spent much of the last few years in the doldrums. The combination of shaky mortgage loans, falling home values, and rising foreclosure rates really took a toll on the overall sector. Over the last few years, housing-related stocks have seen their share prices dwindle as a lack of available credit, and general deleveraging has prevented many from home ownership. However, recent data may support a turnaround is in the works for the all-important sector.
As many individual investors have taken a cue from professional and institutional money managers, alternative investments have gone mainstream – and commodities lead the trend. Interest in this asset class has exploded as individual retail investors have discovered commodities’ vast benefits, like low correlation to equities and bonds, inflation-fighting capabilities and their ability to profit from some of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets. These benefits have made funds like the PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (DBC) popular holdings in many portfolios [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
In a low rate and relatively uncertain economic environment, dividend yields have been the saving grace of many portfolios. A steady stream of income goes a long way, especially when markets are rocky, as they have been for the latter part of this year. But one problem that many commodity investors face is combining crucial exposure to the hard assets segment while still finding palpable yields [for more commodity dividend news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Copper has been known to mankind for thousands of years, and its multiple industrial and speculative uses has solidified its place in the global economy. We have grown to depend on this reddish-brown metal in our day to day lives as it can be found in our wiring systems, plumbing, circuit boards, automobiles, as well as in telecommunications equipment [for more copper news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]. Copper’s numerous applications make the commodity a potentially lucrative play on both the manufacturing and industrial goods sectors. And for those who have a bullish outlook on copper prices and the mining industry, we outline three of the biggest gold mining and exploration companies by market cap.
Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, is one of the most famous investors in the world. So when he makes a big bet, there are plenty of individuals who are willing to follow or are at least curious as to whether or not they should do the same. Buffett’s latest bet was placed in the U.S. housing industry, a market segment that has been rattled since 2007 and is still struggling to find a foothold. The famed businessman justified his bet by stating that he has watched every asset class besides housing for the last two years and now that markets have flattened, he sees housing with room to run [see also Why Buffett is Dead Wrong on Gold].
Commodity investing has been extremely popular in recent years as investors have discovered the benefits that these investments can offer for an individual portfolio. Exposure to commodities offers benefits like low correlation, inflation hedges, and also heavy exposure to some of the world’s fastest growing markets. But there is still something of a disconnect between income investors and commodities, as these investments are typically seen as growth plays or simply left for active traders. But those who overlook commodity stocks with even mediocre yields could be missing out [see also Jim Rogers Says: Buy Commodities Now, Or You’ll Hate Yourself Later].
Over the years, value investing has emerged as one of the favorite strategies for a number of individuals and advisors. A steady stream of income that dividends provide can help protect a portfolio from market dips as well as adding an inflation hedge. The methodology has become so popular that some investors swear by it and are uneasy about making allocations to anything that lacks an important dividend yield. Many feel that value principles conflict with the commodity space; when someone thinks of commodity investing, they typically think of active trading of futures contracts or exchange traded products. But there are a number of securities that may be overlooked [see also Dividend Special: Top Companies In Every Major Commodity Sector].
Commodity investing has long been utilized by active traders but left out of the hands of more traditional investors that build long-term portfolios. But as the years have progressed, investors have seen the benefits of setting aside anywhere from 5%-10% of your assets to this crucial asset class, as it offers the potential for uncorrelated, and often times stellar, returns. A long term play in most commodity securities, however, is more of a growth play than anything else, as the investor hopes for the underlying commodity to either appreciate in value or it its overall use, leaving value investors out to dry [see also The Guide To The Biggest Companies In Every Major Commodity Sector].