March 4, 2011

There's Still Time To Buy Commodities

I want to talk a little about the macro situation in this article. More importantly I want to share my thoughts on crude oil at the moment. I also have a silver stock that looks interesting.

I won't go deep into the thesis behind the bullish case for commodities because I talked about that before. I still think it is important to be allocated in hard and soft commodities at this time. There is going to continue to be "dollar" inflation and this should allow certain assets like stocks and especially commodities to continue higher. It's essentially a Cantillion Effect. The rise in prices we have seen across the board really can't be totally explained otherwise.

Commodities Gains

Crude Oil At The Moment
Oil looks particularly bullish fundamentally and technically still. In the big scheme of things it won't be good at all if oil takes off like it did in the 70s or 2008. Some of you probably know the story from the late 70s but if you don't there was a severe oil crisis. There was also very significant inflation that was only struck down by Paul Volcker getting interest rates up to a whopping 19%. This saved the dollar but it also brought a recession.

Oil has gotten particularly volatile lately. Part of this is uncertainty about supply following the revolutions. There was a news story about what might happen if Libya and Algeria shut down supply.

Technically, there has been some congestion following the big spike day. It looks like bullish consolidation. It's starting to be confirmed as there was just a pop out of it. If we continue hitting new highs I think there may be some more explosive momentum. There definitely is more upside.

3 month chart of crude oil

As far as holding oil for any time period the best instrument is the futures themselves (CL). The US Oil Fund ETF ticker (USO) is a terrible way to play oil. It's because of the way the contracts roll. The ETF must buy oil futures contracts and sell them before expiry. As a result there is decay in the ETF. The natural gas ETF (UNG) is a good example of the dynamics of these ETFs. Natural gas has been pretty flat but the ETF has performed even worse because it bought the expensive monthly contracts and had to sell them cheaper right before expiration.

I think United States 12 Month Oil (USL) holds longer contracts than USO. USL has outperformed USO over long time frames.

Teucrium WTI Crude Oil Fund (CRUD) is also another alternative as it tries to buy contracts on three different maturities to offset decay.

Silver Mining Stocks
Here are some ideas in the mining sector. As silver continues hitting new highs I like this Canadian junior miner Aurcana Corporation (AUNFF) here. It's a smaller company and in the penny stock range. Some other larger market cap names that are worth a look include Hecla Mining (HL), Silver Standard Resources (SSRI) and Pan American Silver (PAAS).