Aaron Pressman of BusinessWeek noted that prices for commodities such as wheat and soybeans soared in 2007, as did shares of bioengineering giant Monsanto (NYSE:MON). Similarly, the Street.com believes agriculture-enhancing businesses will continue to deliver gluttonous profits in 2008.
One could invest directly in tractor makers like Deere (NYSE:DE) or pesticide leaders like Syngenta (NYSE:SYT). Of course, if you're an exchange-traded fund advocate like myself, you're going to look for the soybean lining... and that'd be the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSEARCA:MOO).
The Agribusiness ETF (MOO) tracks the DAXglobal Agribusiness Index -- an index that is north of 85% on the year. MOO, which has only has only been trading since September, is up roughly 40% and at a 52-week high.
What makes the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO) even more attractive is the fact that it's genuinely global in nature. It holds more than 40 companies on 13 different exchanges around the globe.
Granted, the U.S. weighting is approximately 50%. However, the 2nd biggest holding here is Komatsu (OTCPK:KMTUY), which makes mining machinery in addition to agricultural equipment. (In other words, you are getting companies that not only "till the earth" for planting food, they also unearth gold and other in-demand metals.)
The Agribusiness ETF (MOO) is diversified across chemicals, products, livestock management and biofuel/ethanol creation. MOO is expensive by ETF standards with a 0.65% annual expense ratio, but the benefits have been outweighing the costs so far.