Investors can get involved with this and other action taking place across the agriculture industry using
Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF
PowerShares DB Agriculture ETF
MOO, an equity ETF, can be used as a play for investors that want to gain short-term exposure to POT, its largest holding representing more than 10% of the fund's index. Shares of POT have jumped sharply in the past few days as investors expect that a rival bidder to BHP will pay more than the approximately $150 per share that the fund is currently valued at.
It is still up in the air to who will come in and outbid BHP. Firms which have been pointed to as potential bidders include: Vale,
. It is also possible that a consortium of Chinese private equity firms may express an interest in bidding for POT, but at this time, there is still no certainty on the matter.
Video: Two ETF Options for Agriculture Bulls >>
MOO provides ETF investors a great opportunity to get direct exposure to the ongoing Potash/BHP saga. However, since these sorts of takeovers can have unpredictable effects on share value, MOO may better be used by less aggressive investors as a long-term play on the agricultural sector as a whole.
Food is always in demand regardless of any slowing in economic recovery. Therefore, agriculture is often viewed as a safe-haven sector.
In addition to fertilizer-maker POT, MOO also provides investors with exposure to companies involved in agricultural production such as tractor-maker
The bulk of the fund is centered on companies from the United States with over 40% of the holdings from this country. The other 54% of the fund's assets though are allocated to companies from 14 different countries around the world, allowing it to not rely on the performance of any one region.
While MOO is effective for investors looking to invest in companies related to the agribusiness sector, another option for ag bulls is an ETF that bets on the price changes across a number of products produced by the world's farmers. In this case, DBA may be more to their liking.
DBA differs from MOO in that it allows investors to bet on futures contracts for eleven different agricultural products, such as corn, wheat, sugar, and live cattle.
Recently, as a drought in Russia has pushed up grain prices in markets worldwide, DBA has done well, charting an increase of 10% in the past three months.
The nature of the commodities tracked by this futures-based ETF has timely relevance as well. Investors interested in commodities should take a look at DBA since funds tracking industrial commodities may be weighed down in the coming months if concerns of an economic slowdown take a toll on prices of metals and materials.
This could be a long-term trend that may depress the prices of such industrial commodities into underperformance territory for some time, meaning opportunities in other commodities should be considered.
DBA and MOO represent two very different ways investors can invest in a sector that is receiving a great deal of media attention right now. Aside from any media-related boost these funds may witness in the coming days and weeks, investors can consider both DBA and MOO as long-term bets on agriculture as a safe-haven alternative to other types of equity in the case of MOO, and other types of commodities in the case of DBA.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management was longPowerShares DB Agriculture ETF.
Don Dion is president and founder of
, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.
Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.