This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

In Commodities Funds, Short Was Best This Week

A major appeal of the NCAA March Madness tournament is the near-certainty of some huge upsets. The fund world may have taken inspiration from that: A big investment upset -- in commodities -- made selection of a fund sector of the week for the period ended March 20 a slam dunk.

After sprinting to historic highs, commodity prices imploded as the truncated week drew to a close. Both gold and petroleum ascended to inflation-adjusted record altitudes before going into free fall.

Gold rocketed above $1,000 an ounce before plunging Wednesday, and ended the week struggling to keep its head above the $900 level. Similarly, crude oil topped $110 a barrel and then skidded sharply to fluctuate around the $100 level.

Analysts speculated that problems resulting from the credit crunch forced hedge funds to liquidate commodities contracts in order to raise capital. In addition, a strengthening of the dollar toward the end of the week diminished the appeal of tangible holdings such as commodities.

Because most other major commodities followed similar patterns, albeit with less dramatic moves than gold and oil, commodity-related funds were selected for highlighting in the accompanying tables.

Candidates for the lists included the usual suspects of precious metals, energy and natural resources funds. In addition, open-end, closed-end and exchange traded funds with commodity futures contracts and related investments were also considered.

The winners list includes only four funds with "inverse" investment strategies, three in the energy sector and one in precious metals.

The MACROshares Oil Down Tradeable Shares ETF (DCR) is designed to track the settlement price of the NYMEX Division Light Sweet Crude Oil Futures Contract of the designated maturity. The fund tracks the downward movement of an appropriate index or a benchmark price and, therefore, moves opposite the price of petroleum.

Another member of the quarter of positive commodity-related performers, the ProShares Ultra Short Oil & Gas ETF (DUG) is leveraged, as well as designed to perform inversely to energy prices.

Best-Performing Commodity-Related Funds
Ranked by Returns for the Week Ended March 20

Name & Ticker TSC Ratings
Grade
Fund Type
1-Wk.
Total Return
MACROshares Oil Down Tradeable Shares (DCR) E- ETF 27.223%
ProFunds Short Precious Metals Inv (SPPIX) U Open End 18.677%
ProShares Ultra Short Oil & Gas (DUG) E- ETF 10.338%
ProFunds Short Oil & Gas Inv (SNPIX) U Open End 5.668%
iPath DJ-AIG Livestock Total Ret'n Sub-Idx (COW) U ETF -0.827%
PowerShares WilderHill Progressive Energy (PUW) C- ETF -3.297%
ING Risk Managed Natural Resources Fund (IRR) C Closed End -4.096%
Rydex Ser -Mngd Futures Strgy A (RYMTX) U Open End -4.127%
First Trust Energy Income & Growth Fund (FEN) C Closed End -5.106%
iShares DJ U.S. Energy Sector Idx Fund (IYE) B+ ETF -5.897%
Source: Bloomberg

The opposite extreme of the commodities-related funds array is dominated by seven precious-metals vehicles. Three -- the least damaged of the 10 laggards -- are specifically gold funds. But sharing the stage are two silver funds that placed among the four worst performers in the sector for the week.

The broad nature of the commodity collapse is witnessed by the inclusion of two agricultural commodities funds amongst the bottom 10 performers in that category, with a general commodity fund, the leveraged Direxion Commodity Bull 2X Fund (DXCLX) rounding out the trailing 10 funds.

Worst-Performing Commodity-Related Funds
Ranked by Returns for the Week Ended March 20

Name & Ticker TSC Ratings
Grade
Fund Type
1-Wk.
Total Return
ProFunds-Precious Metals Ultra Inv (PMPIX) C- Open End -23.943%
PowerShares DB Silver Fund (DBS) A+ ETF -18.77%
Direxion Commodity Bull 2X Fd (DXCLX) C- Open End -18.543%
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) B- ETF -18.156%
RVS Precious Metals & Min Fund A (INPMX) C- Open End -15.484%
iPath DJ-AIG Grains Total Ret'n Sub-Idx ETN (JJG) U ETF -15.367%
iPath DJ AIG Agric. Total Ret'n Sub-Idx ETN (JJA) U ETF -15.143%
Midas Fund (MIDSX) B Open End -15.049%
OCM Gold Fund (OCMGX) C+ Open End -14.848%
Fidelity Select Gold (FSAGX) B Open End -14.809%
Source: Bloomberg

Richard Widows is a senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,854.98 +76.83 0.43%
S&P 500 2,075.92 +14.69 0.71%
NASDAQ 4,776.3570 +27.9610 0.59%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs