NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Using ETFs, it is possible to alleviate some of the headaches associated with today's rocky commodities investing environment.
Up until recently, commodities stood out as a popular destination for many investors as sweeping global market strength helped propel the prices of metals, agricultural products, and energy sources along seemingly uninterrupted upward paths.
Over the past few weeks, however, commodities have stopped moving in unison, calling into question this full-steam-ahead mentality. While some resources such as corn are powering toward record highs, others such as nickel are facing substantial headwinds.
This shift has not gone unnoticed and, as the Financial Times pointed out last week, many commodities investors are adjusting their investing approaches to better deal with this type of environment. Rather than diving headfirst into commodities, many are opting for a more tactical approach to this region of the marketplace. Such a strategy better ensures that they are able to zig and zag along with the fluid commodities landscape.Investors looking to follow suit and take on a malleable approach to commodities investing may want to consider looking at managed futures exchange traded products like the Elements S&P CTI Total Return ETN (LSC) and the WisdomTree Managed Futures Strategy Fund (WDTI). Both LSC and WDTI track the performance of futures contracts that are linked to a diverse collection of commodities ranging from gold and silver to live cattle. However, unlike traditional commodities-related ETFs and ETNs, these funds are designed in a way that will allow investors to better navigate uneven scenarios. Rather than simply going universally long, LSC and WDTI use rules-based strategies to determine whether to go long or short individual index components. This way, the fund can benefit from the strength of outperformers as well as the weakness of underperformers. At this time, the exposure of these two funds is appropriately representative of the bipolar state of the commodities industry. LSC is currently flat energy, long grains and precious metals, and short industrial metals, livestock, and soft commodities such as cocoa and sugar. WDTI's split is similar.
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