According to Governor Romney, extreme environmentalism in the current White House has obstructed high paying jobs in the oil and gas sector. Indeed, "Drill Baby Drill" is more than a Republican mantra; Romney believes that abundant natural gas in North America is an avenue for reducing unemployment, lowering fuel costs and lessening dependence on foreign fossil fuels.
President Obama counters that the United States must pursue alternative, renewable sources of energy. The president maintains that forward-thinking government initiatives will create green jobs for the future, establish energy independence as well as preserve the environment.
Not surprisingly, Americans are torn. We don't want to pay $4.00 for a gallon of unleaded, especially when the government siphons off 65 cents. At the same time, the country isn't convinced that government spending of close to $50,000 on every General Motors Chevrolet Volt is a sensible path either.
Perhaps ironically, there is a middle ground… natural gas exploration and production. Neither Romney nor Obama may be comfortable with it, but both will find themselves supporting its expansion over the next four years.
First of all, the U.S. is already the largest producer of natural gas. In fact, we'd be the largest exporter as well… were it not for regulations designed to keep natural gas prices from rising stateside. Secondly, natural gas is the cleanest burning fuel in existence, where its production and use may be less harmful to the environment than hybrid or electric technologies. Third, even the most ardent advocate of alternative energy recognizes the importance of transitional renewables like natural gas.
In brief, the Fed may have launched QE3 for a temporary jolt to the U.S. economy's heart. However, after the election, cooler heads will have to come to a quick decision on a more permanent fiscal policy to help the economy.
If you're Team Obama, you certainly recognize the power of green-lighting a natural gas pipeline or the electricity generated by telling a narrative about an intelligent transition from oil to natural gas to natural gas/solar/electric. If you're Team Romney, your success story centers on "Jobs Baby Jobs," as millions of direct and indirect jobs would result from a total embrace of the locally produced commodity.
The First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index ETF (NYSEARCA:FCG) holds 31 of some of the world's most successful players in the space, including Encana (NYSE:ECA), Anadarko (NYSE:APC) and Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG). And while this exchange-traded fund has suffered mightily in the global growth slowdown, worldwide monetary stimulus has been particularly kind to FCG in the past. After 2010's installation of QE2, in fact, FCG went on a 50% 6-month run (10/10-4/11).
I might be inclined to overweight "nat gas production" via FCG in aggressive client portfolios. Not only do I believe the commodity itself will get a boost from central-bank reflation policies, but whatever the make-up of Congress in 2013, the legislative branch should be able to agree on one of the country's clearest competitive advantages.
That said, Middle East crises and Eurozone flare-ups could keep cyclical investments on edge. And for that reason, one should not expect to buy-n-hold the First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (FCG). Look for a buying opportunity near the 50-day moving average and employ a protective stop order when you make your purchase.
Disclosure: ETF Expert is a web log ("blog") that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Gary Gordon, MS, CFP is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. Gary Gordon, Pacific Park Financial, Inc., and/or its clients may hold positions in the ETFs, mutual funds, and/or any investment asset mentioned above. The commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered herein are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. At times, issuers of exchange-traded products compensate Pacific Park Financial, Inc. or its subsidiaries for advertising at the ETF Expert web site. ETF Expert content is created independently of any advertising relationships.