Many investors are flocking to the traditional portfolio hedge of gold, which only makes sense in today's volatile and uncertain climate.
Shares of the benchmark SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) are up 5.6% year to date, with many analysts predicting an outbreak of "gold mania" during Donald Trump's anxiety-producing presidency.
But the Midas Metal isn't the only haven. Below, we explore two primary metals picks that not only provide ballast to your portfolio but also are poised for outsized growth in a year that promises to be challenging.
The pessimists are coming out in force, with many predicting a market crash, if not an outright bear market, in 2017. To be sure, oil prices have recently rallied, pushing up the broader markets. But economic growth in the U.S. remains tenuous, and triggers for a crash abound overseas. Our two picks can help you navigate through the rough seas we see ahead.
Silver Wheaton (SLW)
Silver often takes a back seat to gold, but it boasts advantages that the yellow metal doesn't have. As opposed to gold, silver has many industrial applications, which helps it maintain its value during crises. A slew of critical manufacturing processes couldn't function without silver.
But instead of buying silver, we recommend that you purchase Silver Wheaton stock, which confers greater leverage as well as safety. This company is an innovative play on the silver market.
Silver Wheaton isn't a silver producer; it's a "silver streaming" firm that makes an advance payment to silver miners in return for the right to buy a designated stake of their production. The company then doles out incremental delivery payments as it receives shipments of the metal.
Without exposure to the physical production aspect of the silver industry, which can be volatile and expensive, Silver Wheaton is a purer play on the movement of silver prices.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, the company is the world's largest precious metals streaming company, with a market cap of $8.6 billion. Silver Wheaton's earnings growth tends to move in tandem with silver prices, which analysts expect to soar in 2017.
The average analyst expectation is that Silver Wheaton's year-over-year earnings growth will come in at 50% next quarter. Earnings growth is pegged at 13.2% for the current fiscal year, 13.3% for next year, and 15.6% over the next five years on an annualized basis.
Aluminum smelter companies such as Alcoa have endured a rough couple of years, as economic growth sputtered around the world. But the beleaguered company is getting its mojo back, as demand from major customers such as China picks up.
Alcoa operates through five segments: Alumina, Primary Metals, Global Rolled Products, Engineered Products and Solutions, and Transport and Construction Solutions.
This Alumina segment involves the mining of bauxite, which is refined into alumina, also known as aluminum oxide, which is sold directly to external smelter customers, or to clients who process it into industrial chemical products.
Alcoa used the lean years as an opportunity to shore up its balance sheet and reduce debt. Demand for primary materials such as aluminum should get stronger this year, as the indicators in the U.S. for job creation, construction, manufacturing and consumer spending all remain positive. After a five-year slump, commodity prices are finally on the upswing again.
The average analyst expectation is that Alcoa's year-over-year earnings growth for the current fiscal year will come in at a whopping 271%. Growth is pegged at 3.8% for next year, and 10.5% over the next five years on an annualized basis.
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