Turn to Hard-Asset ETFs for Now

10/01/2012 7:45 am EST

Focus: ETFs

Doug Fabian

Editor, Successful ETF Investing, ETF Trader's Edge, Weekly ETF Report, and ETFU.com

Energy took a dip, but that doesn't mean that hard assets are out of favor. On the contrary, there are a number of sectors worth a look now, writes Doug Fabian of ETF Trader.

Last week, we saw a bit of a pullback in the equity markets, as well as a pullback in some commodity segments. It seems as though traders finally took a break from the QE-induced buying that’s fueled gains for the past couple of months.

The decline in stocks wasn’t significant in percentage terms, but the post-Fed lull did reveal that there are still sellers out there ready to take profits. That selling was particularly strong in the oil space last week. The swift downturn in the sector pushed our position in the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index (OIL) below our stop-loss price of $23 on September 19, and as such your OIL shares should have been sold that day.
Fortunately, our stop-loss prevented us from experiencing any losses, as oil prices fell almost 7% last week. Why did this happen? Well, some are speculating that it was a hedge fund moving to liquidate big positions. It could also have been caused by the Saudis trying to talk down the price of Brent Crude to their $100 per barrel target.

Whatever the reason(s), OIL was pushed down below our stop-loss, so you should make sure you exit this position if you haven’t done so already.
It was the opposite story last week for our positions in gold and silver, as both positions continued their winning ways. We now have unrealized gains in Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners (GDXJ) and Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL). I want you to continue holding both here, as I expect more upside to come in the metals space going forward.
I also want you to continue holding your newest position, the ELEMENTS Rogers Intl Commodity Agri ETN (RJA). This fund is pegged to the Rogers International Commodity Index Agriculture Total Return index. This index includes a basket of agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat, cotton, soybeans, coffee, cattle, sugar, cocoa, lumber, etc. The fund is basically a play on the entire agriculture sector, a sector that’s up over 8% year to date, with a big surge higher since June.
Also on my radar here is an additional agricultural commodity-oriented fund with a focus on the biggest and best agribusiness companies around, the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO). This fund has been on the march higher since June, and since has broken through technical resistance at the 50- and 200-day moving averages

In addition to its recent gains, I also like MOO because it provides exposure to the 50 best companies in the agribusiness sector. This diversification removes individual company risk, while also giving you exposure to some of the most profitable and widely held stocks in the market today, including stalwarts such as Monsanto (MON), Potash (POT), and Mosaic (MOS) to name just a few.

Last week, I told you that I think more money is headed toward hard assets, such as agricultural commodities, gold, and silver. If this thesis proves correct, MOO would be a logical choice going forward.
I don’t want to add this fund today, as stocks and commodities are selling off right now. However, when the cows do settle down and come home, it will be time to add MOO.

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