The ETF To Own When Inflation Rises

The former Federal Reserve Chair and current Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, says she's not worried about inflation. It's clearly on investors' minds, even if they're not running for the exits across the board. But worried or not, it's here. Officially, it's running at 2.6%, but that's not exactly the best measure, is it?

Out in the real world, where you and I live, eat, and buy stuff, a piece of lumber is now three times more expensive than it was two years ago. A box of cereal? Seventy-five percent more expensive than a year ago. Cars are 40% higher – and that doesn't include the costs coming down the pipeline from much higher steel prices.

That's why I'm releasing this pick today, so you can experience the right kind of inflation – to your bottom line. These shares could easily double in six to eight months, but the profits could very well be even higher.

Why I'm Loving Steel Right Now

Higher steel prices have definitely got my attention. Prices are going through the roof while we're heading toward the largest infrastructure spending initiative in decades. Steel prices have been on a breakneck run for the last six months, but the steel companies that make the stuff have almost doubled.

I can't help but want to draw a comparison to the global semiconductor shortage and its impact on the auto industry. We'd probably be in a similar situation with steel if there weren't so many companies that manufacture it. That's a good situation for investors to be in, frankly.

For steel, it's "game on," and it's not exactly the most exciting thing in the world – it doesn't do billions of calculations per second, make you feel years younger, or cure disease, but in this environment, I think every investor needs exposure, not just for the big profit potential – and it is big – but also as a hedge against inflation.

In this case, luckily, there's no need to pick from a list of steel companies. The VanEck Vectors Steel ETF (SLX) has it all in one package. SLX shares track the larger domestic and international steel manufacturers. These companies will be busy over the next two years; demand is going to be high, to put it mildly, but the supply chain that the coronavirus threw for a loop is rebuilding, too.

SLX is a fundamental bull's dream, but you know that's not necessarily why I love it.

The Steel Industry Technical Picture Looks Great Right Now

Technicals and sentiment – both factors are combining to forecast another 75% to 100% growth cycle in the second half of 2021, which is quantitative analyst-speak for "every dollar you park there could be worth two by Christmas 2021."

The big question mark, of course, is the infrastructure plan itself. As it is now, on paper, it's a lot more than just an infrastructure plan, and it's showing some signs of slowing down in Congress; the politics around it are getting heavy.

If the bill passes, great. If Republicans flex some muscle and slim the bill down to just physical infrastructure, great. If it dies on the table – which is a real, but distant possibility – not great. That said, I do think we'll get the spending, at least some of it, at which point steel is off to the races all over again.

Analyst activity around steel companies has been muted. Sure, we've seen some upgrades, but, I'll come out and say it: These people are still underestimating it on their price expectations. Unlike the high valuations assigned to Big Tech and other large-cap sectors, the steel sector's valuations remain low – freakishly low.

I'm expecting that to change as the technicals remain strong and the outlook continues to brighten. Watch for the analysts to start upgrading their price targets, which is going to turn the heat up on this sector again. That's why it makes sense to own the broader SLX ETF instead of cherry-picking companies.

Disclaimer: Any performance results described herein are not based on actual trading of securities but are instead based on a hypothetical trading account which entered and exited the suggested ...

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