The next bull market is here. It's not in stocks. It's not in bonds. It's in commodities -and some smart investors will be riding that bull to record returns in the next decade.
Before Jim Rogers hit the road to write his bestselling books Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist, he was one of the world's most successful investors. He cofounded the Quantum Fund and made so much money that he never needed to work again. Yet despite his success, Rogers has never written a book of practical investment advice-until now.
In Hot Commodities, Rogers offers the lowdown on the most lucrative markets for today and tomorrow. In 1998, gliding under the radar, a bull market in commodities began. Rogers thinks it's going to continue for at least fifteen years-and he's put his money where his mouth is: In 1998, he started his own commodities index fund. It's up 165% since then, with more than $200 million invested, and it's the single-best performing index fund in the world in any asset class. Less risky than stocks and less sluggish than bonds,, commodities are where the money is-and will be in the years ahead. Rogers's strategies are simple and straightforward. You can start small-a few thousand dollars will suffice. It's all about putting your money into stuff you understand, the basic materials of everyday life, like coal, sugar, cotton, corn, or crude oil. Once you recognize the cyclical and historical trading patterns outlined here, you'll be on your way.
In language that is both colorful and accessible, but Rogers explains why the world of commodity investing can be one of the simplest of all-and how commodities are the bases by which investors can value companies, markets, and whole economies. To be a truly great investor is to know something about commodities.
For small investors and high rollers alike, Hot Commodities is as good as gold . . . or lead, or aluminum, which are some of the commodities Rogers says could be as rewarding for investors.
The founder of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI) has written a book to remind the world that there are investment opportunities beyond stocks and bonds. All too often, commodities are referred to as either a cautionary tale of people losing their shirt or else as a joke (pork bellies, anyone?). They are indeed big business, however, with a larger volume of sales than the stock exchanges, but they still remain relatively unknown. This book seeks to remedy that by providing necessary information to get investors started, which ranges from what commodities are to margin requirements and futures contracts. Needless to say, the RICI is touted as a smart way to invest, but there is plenty of advice for those who want to go it alone. There is also a section on China as the world's largest market, as well as chapters covering individual commodities including gold, oil, and sugar. Overall, a readable book that seeks to demystify an often overlooked investing option. Purchase where there is interest.-Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. of Ohio Libs., Oxford Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 25, 2007
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Excerpt from Hot Commodities by Jim Rogers
The Next New Thing Is--Things
A new bull market is under way, and it is in commodities--the "raw materials," "natural resources," "hard assets," and "real things" that are the essentials of not just your life but the lives of everyone in the world. Every time you walk into the supermarket or the mall, you're surrounded by commodities that are traded around the world. When you get into your car or truck, you are surrounded by other widely traded commodities. Without the commodities "futures markets" to set and regulate prices, the things we all need in life would be scarce and often too expensive. These essentials include oil, natural gas, wheat, corn, cotton, soybeans, aluminum, copper, silver, gold, cattle, hogs, pork bellies, sugar, coffee, cocoa, rice, wool, rubber, lumber, and the 80 or so other things listed in the traders' bible, the Commodity Research Bureau (CRB) Yearbook.
Commodities are so pervasive that, in my view, you really cannot be a successful investor in stocks, bonds, or currencies without understanding them. You must understand commodities even if you only invest in stocks and bonds. Commodities belong in every truly diversified portfolio. Investing in commodities can be a hedge against a bear market in stocks, rampant inflation, even a major downturn in the economy. Commodities are not the "risky business" they have been made out to be. In fact, I believe that investing in commodities will represent an enormous opportunity for the next decade or so.
For most investors, commodities trading is a land of mystery full of legendary dragons. Intelligent, well-informed people who can recite P/ E ratios of large caps and small caps, who study the balance sheets of high techs and biotechs, semiconductors, and small banks in the South, self-proclaimed "savvy investors" who follow bond prices and yields more closely than the baseball box scores and who might even have an eye on the dollar versus the euro, the yen, and the Swiss franc, know nothing about commodities. And if they do know something, it's typically second- or third-hand information, usually mistaken, and, more often than not, involves a cautionary tale about "a brother- in-law who lost his shirt in soybeans." Like Americans who never travel to foreign countries for fear of being humiliated or cheated because they don't know the local language and customs, investors who shy away from commodities are missing out on an incredible opportunity.
You cannot ignore an entire sector of the marketplace--not if you really want to be considered an "intelligent investor." If a friend of yours who was heavily invested in the stock market went through the 1990s without even considering buying a technology stock, and ignored what was happening in the world of Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon, eBay, and even IBM, surely you would find such behavior strange. Yet that is precisely what most investors have done with respect to commodities.
One reason that companies and stocks did so well in the 1980s and 1990s was that raw materials were in a bear market: Cheap commodity prices removed the cost and margin pressures from companies that depend on natural resources to do business. Investors who figured out that the commodity bear market was ending in the late 1990s realized that the stock bull market would be ending, too. The CNBC anchors were still giggling with glee, still advising to buy more dot-com shares, while the smart investors were exiting the market and moving to commodities. They could see that the costs of doing business would soon start eating away at profits--and that stock prices would soon follow.
It is hardly the bush leagues. In fact, natural resources are the largest nonfinancial market on the planet. The annual production of just 35 of the most active commodities traded every day in New York, Chicago, Kansas City, London, Paris, and Tokyo is worth $2.2 trillion. The volume of dollars traded on the commodities exchanges is several times that of the common stocks traded on all U.S. stock exchanges. (Commodities dealings for many times more than that amount take place outside the commodities exchanges.) And wherever there is a market, there are opportunities to make money. I know--the business pages of your newspaper, the financial magazines, and CNBC devote most of their time and space to stocks. According to the media and other stock-market "experts," the equities bull is forever hiding just around that next corner on Wall Street. But millions of investors who listened to the experts back in 1998-2001 about "the New Economy" got hammered in the stock market and are still trying to get back to even. The smart investor looks for opportunities to acquire value on the cheap, with one eye out for a dynamic change in the offing that might make that investment even more valuable.