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Indecent Exposure [to Commodities]

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Before there were alternative investments ("alts") or hedge funds, having some exposure to commodities, served as a good way to diversify a portfolio against stock market volatility. Historical correlations to the stock market are rather low, or at least sporadic, and owning commodities can also be seen as a hedge against inflation (higher costs of raw goods).

However, since the price of crude oil cratered from $150 per barrel all the way down to $40 back in 2008, the commodities asset class as a whole has been more or less shunned. Despite the price of oil having somewhat recovered -- it currently trades around $100 -- now might be a good time to un-shun.

Below is a chart reflecting the PowerShares DB Commodity Index (DBC) over the past five years, including 20-, 50- and 200-day moving averages. If moving averages aren't part of your regular analysis, just keep in mind that a shorter-term moving average crossing a longer-term moving average to the upside is a bullish signal.

You can see that recently the 20-day crossed both the 50- and 200-day, and now the 50-day has crossed the 200-day.


DBC Chart

DBC data by YCharts

Following technicals alone is sometimes sufficient for a trader, but let's look a little deeper at the fundamental argument for commodities...

An important piece of information that gets too little attention (if it gets any at all) is that, almost without exception, commodities around the globe are priced in U.S. dollars. This means that their price per unit -- in addition to supply and demand factors -- depends largely on the strength, or weakness, of the greenback. If the dollar is weaker or weakening, it takes more of them to buy the same amount of goods. That means the price, in dollars, for said goods should go up.

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