by Nathan Slaughter
Each year in October, I step back and take a long hard look at where I think the market will be heading for the next year. It's easy to get caught up in the trivial aspects of day-to-day market watching. But when you take a breath and really look at what's happening, I find that it gets easier to predict what's coming next... and how to profit from it.
Today I have a special treat. I'm peeling back the curtain and giving you a sneak-peek at one of my "Top 10 Stocks" for 2011. This idea is an exchange-traded fund (ETF), and I think it's the ideal way to play the trends that will unfold during the next year...
A great way to play the coming year
The bureaucrats can say all they want about benign inflation. Apparently, they haven't been to a grocery store lately.
If prices for staple products like milk, butter and cereal seem to be creeping higher, it's not just your imagination -- supermarket tabs really are going up. Back in August, egg prices climbed from $0.98 to $1.35 per dozen within a few weeks. Soon after, bacon prices hit a record $4.35 per pound, up from $3.59 a year earlier.
And prices are still rising at the wholesale level, which means more retail markups in the weeks and months ahead. According to the USDA, producers fetched higher prices for corn, soybeans, eggs, milk and apples last month.
Corn futures have spiked more than +60% since June. Wheat prices have spiked +80% so far this year. Soybeans and sugar are +25% and +55% higher, respectively.
And since beef, pork and dairy producers have to buy mountains of feed for their livestock, rising grain prices will likely spill over into the meat aisle as well (there's typically a six-month lag).
This is one industry where demand is unwavering -- people have to eat. And given the tight state of these markets, any major supply disruption could spark a food crisis like the one of 2008.
That's why I like PowerShares DB Agriculture (NYSE: DBA), which is built around an index of the most liquid and widely traded agricultural commodities (corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, coffee, etc.). If food prices continue rising, you better believe this fund will follow suit.