21 Top Commodity ETFs for 2011

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 |  Includes: ADZ, AGA, AGF, AGQ, CRBA, DAG, DBA, DBC, DBS, DJP, FUD, GCC, GSG, JJA, PAGG, RJA, SIL, SIVR, SLV, UAG, ZSL
by: Intelligent Speculator

With 2011 just starting, many of you are taking a look back at your current investments and looking for ways to improve your portfolio in order to optimize your return in 2011. Commodities have been gaining importance among asset classes in the past few years and ETFs have been a great way to gain exposure easily.

Why are commodities gaining importance?

With the emergence of countries like China and Brazil, it is becoming very difficult for these countries to keep up the growth without importing and buying huge quantities of energy sources, metals, food, etc. Oil and Gold are certainly the better known commodities and get most of the attention but if you have been tracking commodities in the past year, you know that they have not been the best performing commodities.

The other big reason of course is that investing in commodities used to be very complex and expensive but with the explosion of ETFs, buying exposure in almost any commodity is fairly easy and adds more diversification to your portfolio. Also, since very few expect demand for these commodities to diminish anytime soon, it does look like an asset class that should be added to most portfolios.

Before getting started, let’s take a look at the top commodity ETFs in 2010:

Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
AGQ ProShares Ultra Silver 555067200 158.59 174.746 0.95 175.63 0
SLV iShares Silver Trust 10822550000 30.18 79.938 0.5 80.036 0
SIVR ETFS Silver Trust 513191000 30.73 79.609 0.3 80.036 0
DBS PowerShares DB Silver Fund 207140200 54.51 78.897 0.75 79.254 0
USV E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Silver ETN 7047984 44.0499 77.335 0.4 79.896 0
GDXJ Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF 2114170000 39.89 64.343 0.59 65.63 7.34
JO iPath Dow Jones-UBS Coffee Subindex Total Return ETN 34210890 64.032 63.404 0.75 63.488 0
DGP PowerShares DB Gold Double Long ETN 536625000 42.93 58.434 0.75 59.581 0
UYM ProShares Ultra Basic Materials 368478800 50.65 57.091 0.95 53.008 0.09
JJT iPath Dow Jones-UBS Tin Subindex Total Return ETN 33478320 63.3699 56.989 0.75 58.94 0
UGL ProShares Ultra Gold 265201000 70.72 54.454 0.95 55.428 0
ERX Direxion Daily Energy Bull 3X Shares 242568500 58.45 48.57 0.95 44.28 0.35
JJP iPath Dow Jones-UBS Precious Metals Subindex Total Return ETN 28467870 81.64 40.327 0.75 39.768 0
PXE PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Portfolio 76131000 23.07 40.049 0.63 38.298 0.52
DBP PowerShares DB Precious Metals Fund 404198100 51.82 36.076 0.75 36.511 0
JJA iPath Dow Jones-UBS Agriculture Subindex Total Return ETN 142131900 63.07 35.895 0.75 36.02 0
XME SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF 1220861000 68.78 34.601 0.35 33.055 0.54
PSAU PowerShares Global Gold and Precious Metals Portfolio 67513500 50.01 34.082 0.75 35.179 1.86
DIG ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas 357318000 45.81 33.307 0.95 30.993 0.51
FUE ELEMENTS Linked to the MLCX Biofuels Index Total Return 2829600 11.79 33.294 0.75 33.137 0
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As you can see, the race wasn’t really close as silver dominated.

Futures or Physical based?

We discussed the subject very recently and while there is no easy answer that applies to all commodities, I think it’s important to consider this when selecting a commodity ETF.

Largest ETFs?

One of the easy ways to look for good ETFs is to take a look at the largest ETFs. While following the crowd is not always the best way to do things, it can give you a good idea of ETFs.. here are the commodity ETFs that have over $1 billion in assets:

Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
GLD SPDR Gold Shares $58,498,220,000.00 $138.72 27.70 0.4 28.149 0
SLV iShares Silver Trust $10,822,550,000.00 $30.18 79.94 0.5 80.036 0
GDX Market Vectors - Gold Miners ETF $7,613,213,000.00 $61.47 32.63 0.53 33.612 0.65
IAU iShares Gold Trust $5,378,605,000.00 $13.90 27.78 0.25 28.2 0
DBC PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund $5,102,261,000.00 $27.55 9.83 0.85 9.518 0
DJP iPath Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total Return ETN/United States $2,853,541,000.00 $49.12 14.22 0.75 14.06 0
UNG United States Natural Gas Fund LP $2,759,685,000.00 $5.99 (41.57) 0.6 -43.092 0
DBA PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund $2,710,931,000.00 $32.35 20.46 0.85 20.965 0
MOO Market Vectors - Agribusiness ETF $2,604,721,000.00 $53.54 22.60 0.56 21.905 0.61
OIH Oil Services Holders Trust $2,221,372,000.00 $140.53 20.20 0 19.223 1.65
GDXJ Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF $2,114,170,000.00 $39.89 64.34 0.59 65.63 7.34
USO United States Oil Fund LP $1,821,300,000.00 $39.00 (2.95) 0.45 -2.606 0
GSG iShares S&P GSCI Commodity Indexed Trust $1,797,070,000.00 $34.10 5.19 0.75 5.617 0
VDE Vanguard Energy ETF $1,539,251,000.00 $99.67 21.20 0.25 20.175 1.25
IXC iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund $1,318,275,000.00 $39.06 11.20 0.48 10.609 1.84
XME SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF $1,220,861,000.00 $68.78 34.60 0.35 33.055 0.54
SGOL ETFS Gold Trust $1,166,468,000.00 $141.39 27.70 0.39 28.113 0
IYM iShares Dow Jones US Basic Materials Sector Index Fund $1,115,424,000.00 $77.46 30.83 0.47 29.421 1.12
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Oil & Natural Gas

Both oil and natural gas have been very volatile in recent years, making it very difficult for investors. I would personally stay away from oil at the moment but here are some options if you are interested:

Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
OIH Oil Services Holders Trust $2,221,372,000.00 $140.53 20.20 0 19.223 1.65
XES SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF $455,204,000.00 $36.71 30.11 0.35 29.16 0.86
USO United States Oil Fund LP $1,821,300,000.00 $39.00 (2.95) 0.45 -2.606 0
DBO PowerShares DB Oil Fund $598,265,100.00 $28.22 0.18 0.75 0.254 0
DIG ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas $357,318,000.00 $45.81 33.31 0.95 30.993 0.51
DDG ProShares Short Oil & Gas $12,114,040.00 $40.38 (21.08) 0.95 -20.836 0
PXJ PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services Portfolio $199,744,500.00 $21.83 28.89 0.63 28.012 0.36
BNO United States Brent Oil Fund LP $12,490,000.00 $62.45 N/A N/A N/A 0
DNO United States Short Oil Fund LP $8,084,000.00 $40.42 (5.99) 0.96 -6.226 0
IEZ iShares Dow Jones US Oil Equipment & Services Index Fund $495,880,000.00 $56.35 31.56 0.47 30.651 0.5
IEO iShares Dow Jones US Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index Fund $427,795,000.00 $63.85 18.55 0.48 17.328 0.28
DTO PowerShares DB Crude Oil Double Short ETN $120,035,200.00 $53.35 (15.96) 0.75 -16.339 0
DUG ProShares UltraShort Oil & Gas $85,871,190.00 $37.42 (41.13) 0.95 -39.997 0
OLO PowerShares DB Crude Oil Long ETN $18,200,000.00 $14.00 0.16 0.75 0.274 0
SZO PowerShares DB Crude Oil Short ETN $7,975,800.00 $44.31 (5.52) 0.75 -5.913 0
UHN United States Heating Oil Fund LP $11,944,000.00 $29.86 5.65 0.69 5.65 0
USL United States 12 Month Oil Fund LP $176,710,000.00 $43.10 4.35 0.6 4.247 0
OIL iPath Goldman Sachs Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN $643,443,800.00 $25.61 (3.17) 0.75 -2.868 0
UCO ProShares Ultra DJ-UBS Crude Oil $274,265,400.00 $12.50 (5.52) 0.95 -5.146 0
SCO ProShares UltraShort DJ-UBS Crude Oil $138,312,100.00 $10.17 (22.27) 0.95 -22.611 0
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And some natural gas ones:

Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
UGA United States Gasoline Fund LP $67,369,600.00 $42.11 12.47 0.6 12.682 0
XES SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF $455,204,000.00 $36.71 30.11 0.35 29.16 0.86
DIG ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas $357,318,000.00 $45.81 33.31 0.95 30.993 0.51
DDG ProShares Short Oil & Gas $12,114,040.00 $40.38 (21.08) 0.95 -20.836 0
UNG United States Natural Gas Fund LP $2,759,685,000.00 $5.99 (41.57) 0.6 -43.092 0
FCGL Direxion Daily Natural Gas Related Bull 2X Shares $5,765,058.00 $57.65 N/A 0.95 N/A 0.09
FCGS Direxion Daily Natural Gas Related Bear 2X Shares $2,482,015.00 $24.82 N/A 0.95 N/A 0
PXJ PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services Portfolio $199,744,500.00 $21.83 28.89 0.63 28.012 0.36
IEO iShares Dow Jones US Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index Fund $427,795,000.00 $63.85 18.55 0.48 17.328 0.28
DUG ProShares UltraShort Oil & Gas $85,871,190.00 $37.42 (41.13) 0.95 -39.997 0
GAZ iPath Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN $121,572,700.00 $8.05 (43.98) 0.75 -45.13 0
MLPG UBS E-TRACS Alerian Natural Gas MLP Index ETN $11,540,000.00 $28.85 N/A 0.85 N/A 1.24
FCG First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund $398,520,100.00 $19.68 11.92 0.6 10.225 0.25
UNL United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund LP $38,467,000.00 $34.97 (36.61) 0.75 -37.265 0
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Gold?

There is a lot of speculation about gold and where it is headed in 2011 and beyond. Some expect the price to double while others still have a lot of doubt. Here are some ETFs:

Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
GLD SPDR Gold Shares $58,498,220,000.00 $138.72 27.70 0.4 28.149 0
SGOL ETFS Gold Trust $1,166,468,000.00 $141.39 27.70 0.39 28.113 0
OIL iPath Goldman Sachs Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN $643,443,800.00 $25.61 (3.17) 0.75 -2.868 0
IAU iShares Gold Trust $5,378,605,000.00 $13.90 27.78 0.25 28.2 0
GLDX Global X Gold Explorers ETF $24,700,000.00 $19.00 N/A 0.65 N/A 0
DGP PowerShares DB Gold Double Long ETN $536,625,000.00 $42.93 58.43 0.75 59.581 0
DGL PowerShares DB Gold Fund $331,058,000.00 $50.16 26.39 0.75 26.81 0
DZZ PowerShares DB Gold Double Short ETN $97,755,000.00 $7.98 (41.58) 0.75 -42.038 0
DGZ PowerShares DB Gold Short ETN $28,804,000.00 $15.16 (23.15) 0.75 -23.453 0
UGL ProShares Ultra Gold $265,201,000.00 $70.72 54.45 0.95 55.428 0
GDX Market Vectors - Gold Miners ETF $7,613,213,000.00 $61.47 32.63 0.53 33.612 0.65
PSAU PowerShares Global Gold and Precious Metals Portfolio $67,513,500.00 $50.01 34.08 0.75 35.179 1.86
SPGH UBS E-TRACS S&P 500 Gold Hedged ETN $15,024,000.00 $37.56 N/A N/A N/A 0
GLL ProShares UltraShort Gold $76,169,240.00 $27.80 (45.01) 0.95 -45.217 0
GDXJ Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF $2,114,170,000.00 $39.89 64.34 0.59 65.63 7.34
UBG E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Gold ETN $6,120,000.00 $38.25 27.59 0.3 26.359 0
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My Picks?

Personally, I prefer sticking to commodities that have the most “real” use and would go long Silver despite its incredible run in 2010. Also, going long Agriculture and broad commodity ETFs. Here are some of those I will consider:

Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
SIVR ETFS Silver Trust $513,191,000.00 $30.73 79.61 0.3 80.036 0
SLV iShares Silver Trust $10,822,550,000.00 $30.18 79.94 0.5 80.036 0
SIL Global X Silver Miners ETF $367,611,500.00 $27.13 N/A 0.65 N/A 0.89
DBS PowerShares DB Silver Fund $207,140,200.00 $54.51 78.90 0.75 79.254 0
AGQ ProShares Ultra Silver $555,067,200.00 $158.59 174.75 0.95 175.63 0
ZSL ProShares UltraShort Silver $94,565,750.00 $9.82 (78.94) 0.95 -78.891 0
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Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
FUD E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Food ETN $10,519,880.00 $29.23 29.28 0.65 29.923 0
DBA PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund $2,710,931,000.00 $32.35 20.46 0.85 20.965 0
DAG PowerShares DB Agriculture Double Long ETN $75,274,500.00 $14.07 25.58 0.75 25.116 0
AGF PowerShares DB Agriculture Long ETN $4,548,320.00 $20.96 16.32 0.75 15.661 0
AGA PowerShares DB Agriculture Double Short ETN $2,718,604.00 $18.00 (43.94) 0.75 -44.779 0
ADZ PowerShares DB Agriculture Short ETN $2,393,100.00 $23.93 (21.32) 0.75 -21.166 0
PAGG PowerShares Global Agriculture Portfolio $68,864,490.00 $32.03 20.58 0.75 20.267 0.95
CRBA Jefferies TR/J CRB Agriculture Equity Index Fund $5,321,500.00 $53.22 27.08 0.65 26.91 1.34
JJA iPath Dow Jones-UBS Agriculture Subindex Total Return ETN $142,131,900.00 $63.07 35.90 0.75 36.02 0
UAG E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Agriculture ETN $8,907,200.00 $30.40 32.10 0.65 34.556 0
RJA ELEMENTS Linked to the Rogers International Commodity Index - Agri Tot Return $520,456,000.00 $10.72 33.25 0.75 33.42 0
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Ticker Name Market Cap Price Return YTD Fees 1Y Return Dividend Yield
DBC PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund $5,102,261,000.00 $27.55 9.83 0.85 9.518 0
GSG iShares S&P GSCI Commodity Indexed Trust $1,797,070,000.00 $34.10 5.19 0.75 5.617 0
DJP iPath Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total Return ETN/United States $2,853,541,000.00 $49.12 14.22 0.75 14.06 0
GCC GreenHaven Continous Commodity Index Fund $535,437,500.00 $32.95 23.24 0.85 22.957 0
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Disclosure: No positions in these commodity ETFs