Buffett Keen on Japan

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Japan continues to be closely watched as the media and individuals around the globe struggle to sort out and gain a better understanding of the immediate and lasting impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck the nation earlier this month.

At the start of this week, famed investor, Warren Buffett weighed in on the situation. Speaking from South Korea, the Oracle of Omaha offered promising words for the nation's future. Rather than seeing the current disaster as a death knell for the nation, he insisted the subsequent drop in the Japanese stock market offered a great opportunity to gain exposure to the nation's marketplace.

This is not the first time that the head of Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) has taken on a reassuring tone during tumultuous times. Rather, this is another example of Buffett standing by one of his most memorable quips: "Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful." Living by this credo, the investor has been able to profit even in the most dire of times.

For instance, in late 2008, when the United States was in the midst of the crippling recession, the famed investor penned his now famous New York Times op-ed, "Buy American. I Am."

In the piece, Buffett touched on the same theme, insisting that although times appeared dire, the future for the nation remained bright. In the years following this article, Buffett has made a number of notable purchases including Burlington Northern Santa Fe and, more recently, Lubrizol ( LZ). These acquisitions have and will continue to help him profit as the markets power along the road to recovery.

In the near term it is likely that ETFs directly related to Japan will perform in a wildly volatile manner as the nation's revival takes hold. Therefore, despite Buffett's optimism, risk adverse investors make want to hold off on trying their luck with funds such as iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund ( EWJ) and iShares MSCI Japan Small Cap Index Fund ( SCJ).

However there are other options investors can consider when attempting gain exposure to the recovery process.

Last week, I pointed to energy options including Market Vectors Coal ETF ( KOL) and the First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas Index Fund ( FCG) as ways investors can benefit as Japan attempts to power the nation, post-crisis.

Industrial ETFs such as the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ( XLI) will provide investors to companies such as Caterpillar ( CAT), which will take part in the rebuilding process.

Steel and timber will be other closely watched market sectors to keep an eye on as well. Investors can gain access to these industries through products such as the Market Vectors Steel ETF ( SLX) and the Guggenheim Timber ETF ( CUT) respectively.

Japan has and will continue to generate headlines in the weeks ahead as the nation lays out a plan for recovery and takes initial action. Although the recent tragedy has stoked fears, as Buffett pointed out this week, it may also present a buying opportunity for brave investors.

There are a number of options to consider when seeking out the companies that will be in the spotlight as the nation works to recover. Using ETFs, it is possible to target them in a safe, well-diversified manner.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the Market Vectors Coal ETF.

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