Our goal in this profile is to help investors wade through the many competing ETF offerings available. Using our long experience as an ETF publication, and nearly 40 years in the investment business, we can help select those ETFs that matter and may or may not be repetitive. The result is a more manageable list of issues from which to view and make selections.

With inflation pressures waxing and waning, many believe it's important to have exposure to commodity-oriented stocks and ETFs. There are many ETF choices from which to choose. We've cobbled some good choices together and where repetitive choices exist, we've paired some together  -- similarities are just too hard to ignore.

We're not ranking these ETFs favoring one over another so don't let the listing order mislead you. Although we may use some of these in ETF Digest portfolios it's not our intention to recommend one over another.

Our technical analysis methodology involves using, where possible, monthly charts with enough data to allow investors to stay on the right side of the 12 month moving averages. Further, when market prices move too far above or below this moving average investors can assume a correction in the other direction will eventually take place. In this regard caution is advised.

ProShares and Direxion Shares both offer inverse and leveraged long ETFs for those investors wishing to hedge or speculate.

MOO (Van Eck Argibusiness ETF) follow the DAXglobal Agribusiness Index which consists of companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues from the business of agriculture. The fund was launched in August 2007. The expense ratio is .59%. AUM (Assets under Management) equal $5.2 billion with average daily trading volume of 2.2M shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend $.33 making the current yield .70% and YTD return -8.16%.

Data as of August 2011

MOO Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc. (POT): 7.97%
  2. Monsanto Company (MON): 7.71%
  3. Deere & Co (DE): 7.11%
  4. Syngenta AG (SYENF): 6.38%
  5. Wilmar International Ltd (F34): 6.11%
  6. Archer-Daniels Midland Company (ADM): 5.04%
  7. BRF - Brasil Foods SA ADR (BRFS): 4.54%
  8. Mosaic Co (MOS): 4.37%
  9. Yara International ASA (YAR): 4.05%
  10. Agrium Inc (AGU): 4.03%

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XLE (SPDR Energy Select ETF) follows the Energy Select Sector Index which includes companies in oil, gas, consumable fuels and energy equipment and services. The fund was launched in December 1998. The expense ratio is .20%. AUM equal $7.5 billion and average daily trading volume is 25M shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.29 making the current yield .86% and YTD return -2.61%.

Both ProShares and Direxion shares have inverse and leveraged products available.

Data as of August 2011

XLE Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 16.61%
  2. Chevron Corp (CVX): 13.38%
  3. Schlumberger NV (SLB): 8.01%
  4. ConocoPhillips (COP): 4.71%
  5. Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY): 4.36%
  6. Halliburton Company (HAL): 3.76%
  7. Apache Corporation (APA): 3.43%
  8. Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC): 3.00%
  9. Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI): 2.79%
  10. National Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NOV): 2.71%

A popular alternative choice is IGE (iShares Natural Resource ETF) which follows the S&P North American Natural Resources Sector Index. It is paired here as an alternative owing to it similar holdings and trending characteristics. This fund was launched in October 2001. The expense ratio is .48%. AUM equal $1.8 billion and average daily trading volume is 400K shares. Over the same period the annual dividend is $.40 making the current yield 1.05% and YTD return -6.45%.

FCG (First Trust Natural Gas ETF) follows the ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index which is an equal weight index with companies that derive a substantial amount of their revenues from the exploration and production of natural gas. The fund was launched in May 2007. The expense ratio is .60%. AUM equal $450 million and average daily trading volume is 460K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was negligible and YTD return was -2.03%.

Direxion Shares have leveraged long and short issues tied to this index.

Data as of August 2011

FCG Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation A (COG): 3.86%
  2. McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR): 3.84%
  3. Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC): 3.55%
  4. ConocoPhillips (COP): 3.54%
  5. Range Resources Corporation (RRC): 3.54%
  6. QEP Resources, Inc. (QEP): 3.53%
  7. Apache Corporation (APA): 3.53%
  8. Statoil ASA ADR (STO): 3.51%
  9. Noble Energy, Inc. (NBL): 3.48%
  10. Cimarex Energy Company (XEC): 3.48%

XME (  SPDR Metals & Mining ETF) follows the S&P Metals & Mining Select Industry Index which includes the metals and mining sub-sector of the S&P TMI index. The fund was launched in June 2006. The expense ratio is .35%. AUM equal $1 billion and average daily trading volume is 5M shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.17 making the current yield .50% and YTD return -17.60%.

Data as of August 2011

XME Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Molycorp, Inc. (MCP): 3.23%
  2. Allied Nevada Gold Corp (ANV): 3.21%
  3. Carpenter Technology Corporation (CRS): 3.05%
  4. Coeur D'Alene Mines Corporation (CDE): 3.00%
  5. Cloud Peak Energy, Inc. (CLD): 2.90%
  6. Royal Gold, Inc. (RGLD): 2.90%
  7. US Gold Corporation (UXG): 2.89%
  8. Globe Specialty Metals, Inc. (GSM): 2.87%
  9. Consol Energy Inc (CNX): 2.87%
  10. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold B (FCX): 2.83%

; font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"'>An alternative choice given similar trending characteristics is SLX (Van Eck Steel ETF) which follows the NYSE Arca Steel Index featuring companies primarily involved in the production, manufacturing, fabrication and extraction of iron ore. The fund was launched in October 2006. The expense ratio is .55%. AUM equal $200 million and average daily trading volume is 90K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.98 making the current yield 1.66% and YTD return -26.40%.

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 REMX (Van Eck Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF) follows the Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals Index which consists of trading overall performance of publicly traded companies primarily engaged in activities related to mining, refining and manufacturing of rare earth/strategic metals. The fund was launched in October 2010. The expense ratio is .57%. AUM equal $321 million and average daily trading volume is 275K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was negligible and YTD return was -12.30%.

An alternative choice is LIT (Global X Lithium ETF) which follows the Solactive Global Lithium Index. It was also recently launched in July 2010. The expense ratio is .75%. AUM equal $118 million and average daily trading volume is 68K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.25 making the current yield 1.50% and YTD return -25%.

Data as of August 2011

REMX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Kenmare Resources PLC (KMR): 8.46%
  2. Iluka Resources Limited (ILU): 8.34%
  3. Molycorp, Inc. (MCP): 7.17%
  4. Lynas Corporation Ltd. (LYC): 6.65%
  5. Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc. (TC): 6.01%
  6. Titanium Metals Corporation (TIE): 5.86%
  7. Neo Material Technologies, Inc. (NEM): 5.13%
  8. RTI International Metals, Inc. (RTI): 4.83%
  9. OSAKA Titanium technologies Co., Ltd. (5726): 4.79%
  10. China Molybdenum Co., Ltd. (03993): 4.38%

HAP (Van Eck Hard Assets Producers ETF) follows the Van Eck Hard Assets Producers Index which consists of companies engaged in the discovery, production and distribution of hard assets and related products. The fund was launched in August 2008. The expense ratio is .59%. AUM equal $220 million and average daily trading volume is 48K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was indeterminable and YTD performance was -7.90%.

Data as of August 2011

HAP Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 5.18%
  2. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc. (POT): 4.71%
  3. Monsanto Company (MON): 3.83%
  4. Deere & Co (DE): 3.49%
  5. Syngenta AG (SYENF): 3.15%
  6. Chevron Corporation (CVX): 2.68%
  7. BHP Billiton Limited (BHPLF): 2.15%
  8. Archer-Daniels Midland Company (ADM): 2.07%
  9. Mosaic Co (MOS): 1.85%
  10. BP Plc (BP.): 1.79%

 

URA (Global X Uranium ETF) follows the Solactive Global Uranium Index which tracks companies in the uranium mining industry. The fund was launched in November 2010. The expense ratio is .69%. AUM equal $195 million and average daily trading volume is 355K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.39 making the current yield 3.80% and YTD return -47.60%.

Data as of August 2011

URA Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Cameco Corp (CCJ): 21.61%
  2. Uranium One, Inc. (UUU): 14.78%
  3. Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN): 8.60%
  4. Extract Resources Ltd. (EXT): 6.96%
  5. Kalahari Minerals PLC (KAH): 5.26%
  6. USEC (USU): 4.90%
  7. Denison Mines Corporation (DNN): 4.50%
  8. Uranium Energy Corporation (UEC): 4.35%
  9. Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ERA): 4.21%
  10. Uranium Resources, Inc. (URRE): 4.10%

WOOD (iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF) follows the S&P Global Timber & Forestry Index which includes companies primarily engaged in ownership, management or upstream supply chain of forests and timberlands. The fund was launched in June 2008. The expense ratio is .48%. AUM equal $180 million and average daily trading volume is 60K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.89 making the current yield 2.47% and YTD return -16.80%.

An alternative choice would be CUT (Guggenheim Timber ETF) which follows the Beacon Global Timber Index consisting of companies who own or lease forested land and harvest timber for commercial use of wood-based products including paper, packaging, lumber and pulp. The fund was launched in November 2009. The expense ratio is .65%. AUM equal $133 million and average daily trading volume is 140K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.59 making the current yield 3.50% and YTD return -15%.

Data as of August 2011

WOOD Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Rayonier, Inc. (RYN): 9.77%
  2. Plum Creek Timber Co Inc (PCL): 8.20%
  3. Weyerhaeuser Co (WY): 7.41%
  4. Oji Paper Co., Ltd. (3861): 5.17%
  5. Fibria Celulose Sa ADR (FBR): 5.05%
  6. Temple-Inland, Inc. (TIN): 5.01%
  7. MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV): 5.01%
  8. International Paper Co. (IP): 4.93%
  9. West Fraser Timber (WFT): 4.60%
  10. Svenska Cellulosa (SCA B): 4.40%

CU (First Trust Global Copper) follows the ISE Global Copper Index which is a linear weighted index following public companies in the copper mining industry based on analysis of revenue derived from the sale of copper. The fund was launched in March 2010. The expense ratio is .70%. AUM equal $106 million and average daily trading volume is 280K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.29 making the current yield .87% and YTD return -19.77%.

Data as of August 2011

CU Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Ivanhoe Mines, Ltd. (IVN): 6.23%
  2. Antofagasta PLC (ANTO): 6.01%
  3. Rio Tinto PLC ADR (RIO): 5.88%
  4. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold B (FCX): 5.86%
  5. KGHM Polska Miedz (KGH): 5.68%
  6. Southern Copper Corporation (SCCO): 5.65%
  7. Xstrata PLC (XTA): 5.51%
  8. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM): 4.84%
  9. Lundin Mining Corp (LUNMF): 4.66%
  10. Kazakhmys PLC (KAZ): 4.61%

GNR (SPDR Global Natural Resources ETF) follows the S&P Global Natural Resources Index which consists of the largest publicly traded companies, based on market capitalization in global natural resources and commodities businesses. The fund was launched September 2010. The expense ratio is .40%. AUM equal $165 million and average daily trading volume is less than 30K shares. As of early August 2011 the annual dividend was $.13 making the current yield .25% and YTD return -11%.

Data as of August 2011

GNR Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. BHP Billiton Limited (BHPLF): 4.97%
  2. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 4.90%
  3. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Inc. (POT): 4.47%
  4. Monsanto Company (MON): 3.53%
  5. Wilmar International Ltd (F34): 3.00%
  6. Mosaic Co (MOS): 2.82%
  7. Syngenta AG (SYENF): 2.79%
  8. Chevron Corp (CVX): 2.75%
  9. Gazprom O A O 144A: 2.58%
  10. Anglo American PLC (AAL): 2.53%

There's a rapidly expanding series of commodity producer ETFs, especially when inflation pressures grow. We've chosen to feature some that may be repetitive but clearly have something to offer as well. Some other Top 10 lists we've published may have similar ETFs within them and can become duplicative but we'll just have to live with this on occasion.

One thing seems clear when viewing many of these ETFs are the similar trend patterns many have presented. This is primarily due to globalization but also is the result of easy monetary conditions throughout the developed world allowing for higher levels of correlation. 

For further information about portfolio structures using this or other ETFs see www.etfdigest.com .

You may address any feedback to: feedback@etfdigest.com   

 

(Source for holding data is from ETF Database and from various sponsors.)
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

Dave Fry is founder and publisher of ETF Digest, Dave's Daily blog and the best-selling book author of Create Your Own ETF Hedge Fund, A DIY Strategy for Private Wealth Management, published by Wiley Finance in 2008. A detailed bio is here: Dave Fry.