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The Sideways Play | June 15, 2012 | 02:31 PM EDT

Commodity markets are cyclical, with different commodities trading in and out of favor based on factors ranging from natural disasters to government policies in specific countries or regions, and as the past eight months have shown, changes in price direction can be swift and powerful.

Complete exposure to commodities should include weightings to all the major subsectors: precious and industrial metals , energy , agriculture and soft goods such as cocoa and coffee.

Owning a variety of broad-based ETFs with low costs and large asset bases that derive exposure through the physical commodities, futures contracts and stocks engaged in producing the commodities is an efficient way to access the asset class.

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