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Commodity Surge Indicates Investor Confidence

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Investors are piling into commodities stocks, driving up the Standard & Poor’s 500 Materials Index 10%, BusinessWeek reported Thursday, Aug. 26. The magazine cited data from Bloomberg that shows stock prices in the materials index increased an average 17.4 times annual profits.

The Thomson Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index, which tracks the global commodities markets, has gained 3.6% since the end of June, BusinessWeek reported. The increase was driven by wheat, which rose 42%. Bloomberg data show copper and cotton rose 12%.

More recent reports, however, indicate investors are moving away from commodities. In fact, Bloomberg reports crude oil fell for the first time in four days, dropping 0.6% to$74.70 per barrel on Aug. 30. Meanwhile, agricultural commodities like sugar and cocoa both fell; cocoa futures fell $4, Bloomberg reports, to $2,714 per metric ton for December delivery. Sugar fell 0.8% to 19.81 cents per pound.

Still, not all commodities are dropping. Corn and coffee both rose on fears of limited supplies, according to Bloomberg. Coffee rose 1.4% and corn rose to a 14-month high of $4.415 per bushel.

The CRB Index continues to increase, closing Aug. 30 at 267.267.