) -- With the end of the "Cash For Clunkers" program and a slowdown in demand for automobiles, some believe the recent uptrend in base metals will be in trouble and for good reason.

The domestic auto industry accounts for nearly 40% of metal demand and even though the "cash-for-clunkers" program sparked higher auto sales, there is still a huge stockpile of unsold vehicles and other finished goods that need to find buyers before manufacturers can justify increasing production and replenishing metal inventories. Overseas, China was a huge consumer of metals as it stockpiled commodities.

Domestic auto demand should remain relatively weak as unemployment remains a problem. The Labor Department recently reported a decline in Americans filing first-time unemployment claims, though the number is still much higher than that it would be in a non-recessionary period. One cannot purchase a new vehicle without a job.

Meanwhile, China is expected to be a leader in the production and consumption of automobiles, but this isn't what drove their need for base metals. Rather it was its stimulus package, which was heavily focused on infrastructure. With the stimulus package about to tend and infrastructure work slowing, the demand for base metals most likely will taper off.

In a nutshell, it's highly unlikely that the demand for base metals can be sustained at the levels earlier in the year.

Some equities that have benefited from the uptrend in base metals are the following:

PowerShares DB Base Metals

(DBB) - Get Report

, which is up 65% from a February low of $10.95. It closed at $18.06 on Wednesday.


SPDR S&P Metals & Mining

(XME) - Get Report

closed at $47.77 on Wednesday, up 130% from a March low of $20.81.

When investing in these equities, one must keep in mind the inherent risks involved. To help mitigate these risks and preserve equity, an exit strategy is important.

According to the latest data from, an upward trend in the previously mentioned ETFs could come to an end at the following price levels: DBB at $17.36 and XME at $44.13. These price levels change on a daily basis as market forces change and updated data can be found at

-- Written By Kevin Grewal in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Kevin Grewal is an editorial director and analyst at where he focuses on mitigating risks and implementing exit strategies to preserve equity. Prior to this, he was an analyst at a small hedge fund where he constructed portfolios dealing with stock lending, exchange-traded funds and alternative investments. He is an expert at dealing with ETFs and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California along with a MBA from the California State University, Fullerton.