This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
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!

Metal ETFs Open Window to Economic Horizon

Stocks in this article: LD JJC UBM

Whether you're an economic Pollyanna expecting a recovery this year, or an economic pessimist forecasting a decade lost to rampant inflation, realists will be watching for early signs of a recovery in the prices of industrial metals and betting accordingly.

Of the 13 exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, that track industrial or base metals, seven have posted gains this year. The iPath Dow Jones-AIG Lead Total Return Sub-Index ETN (LD) has jumped 23% this year, taking the top spot. The iPath Dow Jones AIG Copper Total Return Sub Index ETN (JJC) is second, rising 19%. Ratings scores five of the 13 funds in the "sell" range of D-plus or lower. Over the 12 months ending Feb. 27, the declines ranged from as low as 51% in ELEMENTS Linked to the Rogers International Commodity Index -- Metals Total Return (RJZ) to as much as 72% in iPath Dow Jones AIG Nickel Total Return Sub Index ETN (JJN).

The remaining eight ETFs, including the top-performing iPath Dow Jones-AIG Lead Total Return Sub-Index ETN, are unrated by our risk-adjusted performance model. To qualify for a rating, an ETF must have at least a one-year history of total return and price volatility. Only then can there be sufficient data to compute "reward" and "risk" grades to reflect a fund's performance and volatility.

As the unrated funds have inception dates in April and June 2008, by mid-July, when we review the June 2009 data, the outlook for these funds should be clearer. Until then, the interim performance shows us that lead, copper and tin funds are outperforming aluminum and nickel funds since the end of 2008.

Worst Rated Exchange Traded Funds
Fund (Ticker) Overall Grade Reward Grade Risk Grade Total Return Year-To-Date Inception
iPath Dow Jones-AIG Lead Total Return Sub-Index ETN (LD) U U U 22.94% 6/24/2008
iPath Dow Jones AIG Copper Total Return Sub Index ETN (JJC) D- D D- 19.07% 10/23/2007
E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Industrial Metals ETN (UBM) U U U 6.16% 4/1/2008
ELEMENTS Linked to the Rogers Intl Comdty Index - Metals (RJZ) D- D+ D- 5.37% 10/17/2007
iPath Dow Jones-AIG Tin Total Return Sub-Index ETN (JJT) U U U 5.04% 6/24/2008
PowerShares DB Base Metals Fund (DBB) D- D+ D- 2.10% 1/5/2007
PowerShares DB Base Metals Long ETN (BDG) U U U 1.65% 6/16/2008
PowerShares DB Base Metals Double Long ETN (BDD) U U U -0.37% 6/16/2008
PowerShares DB Base Metals Short ETN (BOS) U U U -2.50% 6/16/2008
iPath Dow Jones-AIG Industrial Metals Total Return Sub-Index ETN (JJM) E D- D- -3.02% 10/23/2007
PowerShares DB Base Metals Double Short ETN (BOM) U U U -4.81% 6/16/2008
iPath Dow Jones-AIG Aluminum Total Return Sub-Index ETN (JJU) U U U -16.21% 6/24/2008
IPATH Dow Jones AIG Nickel Total Return Sub Index ETN (JJN) E D- D- -19.04% 10/23/2007
Source: Ratings (Data as of most recent monthend).

Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.

Select the service that is right for you!

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!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • 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