NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Commodities will beat stocks for the second consecutive year in 2011, according to TheStreet readers. The outlook for commodities is bullish among the analyst community as well, as fundamentals behind commodities such as crude oil and copper are strong amid a global economic recovery. >>Commodities That Could Heat Up in 2011 Commodities outpaced stocks, bonds and the dollar to become the top-performing asset class in 2010. Emerging market demand, supply disruptions and a weaker dollar, helped commodities surge across the board, with cotton prices hitting all-time highs and silver and copper at multi-year peaks. With the U.S. economy set to grow at a faster clip in 2011, commodities could remain in heavy demand. But corporate earnings could also continue to make steady gains, making stocks a good bet as well. So we asked TheStreet readers whether they would play the economic recovery through commodities or stocks. In a
poll conducted last week, an overwhelming 73% of the readers said commodities will beat stocks in 2011.
Pessimism about stock returns could stem from the fact that key benchmark indices are already at their highest levels since before the Lehman Brothers crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have been gaining for the past six consecutive weeks. But the economy is not recovering at a fast enough pace to convince investors that there is significant upside. Despite a string of data that have shown a pickup in manufacturing activity and consumer spending, jobs have continued to disappoint. On Friday, the Labor Department said the economy added 103,000 jobs in December, missing expectations for a 150,000 net addition. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4%, partly because more people dropped out of the workforce. A more stable metric of the job market,
the employment to population ratio , continues to be well below its prerecession levels at 58.3% and has essentially been flat since the recession officially ended in June 2009.