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5 Top Metal ETFs to Watch

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Precious and base metals proved to be popular themes for ETF sponsors over the past year. While some companies took to launching products which tapped into previously unexplored corners of the metals industry, others offered up new ways to gain exposure to old favorites.

Here are some of the most interesting precious- and base metal-related products which were introduced in 2010.

ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (PALL) and ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (PPLT)

Palladium saw some of the strongest performance across the broad commodity spectrum in 2010 and ETF Securities, a relative newcomer to the U.S. ETF industry, enjoyed a lot of success last year with the launch of PALL and PPLT.

Designed to track physical stockpiles of palladium and platinum respectively, these two products benefited as investors sought out precious metals that would benefit as the global markets continued along the road to recovery.

Although they are still just under a year old, the two funds have generated impressive followings, boasting over $700 million in assets each.

On top of increasing the number of options investors can use when looking for physical precious metal exposure, PALL and PPLT also pose as suitable proxies for those seeking exposure to the automobile industry. Platinum and palladium are used extensively in the production of catalytic converters and have managed to power higher as the industry continued to heal.

ETFS Physical Precious Metals Basket Shares (GLTR)

Following the successful launches of PALL and PPLT, it wasn't until October that ETF Securities resurfaced with its next new product, GLTR. Whereas in the past, companies such as PowerShares had attempted to capture the strength of multiple precious metals under one roof by utilizing futures contracts, GLTR is the first fund to combine exposure to gold, silver, platinum and palladium from a physical perspective.

>> Cramer: Commodity Rally Won't Stop

This investing strategy allows investors to take a broad based approach to precious metals and benefit as general demand for these commodities increases.

Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX)

Copper has long been an attractive metal for investors looking for a way to capture economic growth. Used extensively in construction and infrastructure, this red metal tends to perform best in times of market optimism. Thanks to the advent of exchange traded products, investors have been introduced to a number of options which can be used to access the copper industry.

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