Financial commentator and newsletter writer Dennis Gartman recently appeared on CNBC's "Fast Money" to outline his top three trades for 2011 and while he reserves the right to change his positions at anytime this gives some insight into his current thoughts. The trades are accessible directly or indirectly with exchange-traded products. The first trade mentioned was to be long gold against the euro. The logic here is simple. Beyond the fact that Gartman sees gold continuing to move from the lower left to the upper right of the chart (this is phraseology he uses often), Europe is a mess with no visibility for normalizing anytime soon. Ireland just received a bank bailout after Greece received a bailout during the spring. Depending on whose research you read, Portugal is in trouble followed by Belgium, then Spain with the contagion perhaps going as far up the food chain as France. For years I've been writing in my commentaries for TheStreet and on my blog that the countries in "big Western Europe" are best avoided for the time being. This has been correct for a long time and, more importantly, stands to be correct for years to come. Pure access to this trade will be difficult as there is no product on U.S. markets that prices gold in euros. It would be easy to buy a gold exchange-traded fund like the ETF Securities Physical Gold Trust ( SGOL) and sell short or buy puts on the Rydex Euro Currency Trust ( FXE). But this isn't pure exposure as the gold is priced in dollars and the euro ETF is also expressed in U.S. dollars. Gartman's second trade is to go long the Australian dollar and short the euro. Anyone with access to the German market could buy the ETF Securities Long AUD Short EUR which trades lightly. If you don't have access to the German market then buying the Australian dollar on the U.S. markets is easy. One could simply buy the Rydex Australian Dollar Currency Shares ( FXA) and then go short FXE in the manner I already described. Gartman is also partial to grains, specifically soybeans and corn but he says to avoid wheat. The more popular agriculture ETPs like the PowerShares DB Agriculture Portfolio ( DBA) or the iPath DJ UBS Agriculture Subindex Total Return ETN ( JJA) have heavy weightings in wheat so accessing Gartman's strategy requires individual commodity funds. Accessing corn is easy with the Tuecrium Corn ETF ( CORN) which uses a combination of futures expirations to reduce the impact of contango.
There are no soybean funds that trade on the U.S. market, for now anyway. But there is a fund that trades in London in U.S. dollars -- the ETF Securities Soybeans ( ECYCF). It trades in London under symbol SOYB. Charles Schwab doesn't have access to this fund but customers at Fidelity can call in to trade the fund. The point here isn't necessarily to say that anyone should run out and implement someone else's ideas since if you're listening to someone else about when to buy then you need to make sure you have access to when that person decides to sell. A more useful takeaway is the extent to which exchange-traded products make executing sophisticated concepts available to individual investors in a manner that was not so just a few years ago.
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