Saturday, February 23, 2008

How investors are playing a possible return to 1970's-style stagflation

From MarketWatch:
Gold, platinum, soybeans, oil.
With few exceptions, commodities are rallying again, breaking records and keeping inflation pressures on the boil.

For investors, the resurgence in commodity prices has made for excitement and relief from an otherwise gloomy financial market. The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index, which tracks a broad range of commodities, has surged 11% year to date, pushing through new record highs. By contrast, the S&P 500 Index , measuring blue-chip stocks, is down 8% in the same period, while bond returns -- as tracked by Lehman Brothers' U.S. Aggregate bond index -- are up just 0.8%.

Traders driving up metal, grain and energy prices have pushed aside concerns about slowing growth in the world's largest developed economies -- at least for now. Prices for copper and aluminum, both used extensively in construction and manufacturing, have managed to rebound from 2008 lows despite cooling in the United States and possibly Europe....MUCH MORE