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Inflation-Proof Vest

By Kevin Grewal, contributing analyst at

As global economies start to show signs of prosperity, the U.S. dollar remains relatively weak and our government continues to spend at record levels -- inflationary worries have become the new talk of the town.

Although price hikes have remained relatively low, stirring up an equally disturbing notion of deflation, eventually we will have to pay the price for spending our way out of the worst recession seen in the past 50 years. Inflation is inevitable, but how bad will it get and how do you protect yourself when it does occur?

The Federal Reserve has forecasted rising prices in the range of 2% to 3%, but other experts think it will be much higher and may even flirt with double digits. So what do you do when inflation hits? Some common plays include looking into precious metals and commodities. An equally important move is to have a sound exit strategy that will not only protect your investment but allow you to sleep sounder at night.

Here are a few possibly plays to deal with inflation:

Gold: The most well-known hedge against inflation. SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) has risen nearly 16% from a January low of $79.79 to close at $92.35 on June 17.

Fixed Income: The iShares Barclays TIPs Bond (TIP). This is an ETF that invests in inflation-protected securities and adjusts its coupon payments and underlying principle to compensate for inflation as measured by the consumer price index. It is up about 10% from a November low of $90.73 to close at $99.79 on June 17.

Commodities: Commodity prices generally rise when inflation is accelerating. Exposure can be gained through the iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG), up 40% after witnessing a February low of $22.10 to close at $30.95 on June 17.

Regardless of how high prices end up going, investing involves risk and having a sound exit strategy helps mitigate this risk. According to the latest data from, here are the price levels where the uptrend of the previously mentioned indices would be over: GLD at $89.79; TIP at $98.86; and GSG at $29.33. These levels change daily and updated data is free here.

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