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Obscure Commodities ETN Could Be Headed For Trouble


Add cocoa to the list of obscure commodities that have recently been tumbling and appear vulnerable to additional downside. The often overlooked iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cocoa Total Return Sub-Index ETN (NIB) is the play here.

Although NIB is up 5.4% in the past three months, a performance that has gone unnoticed because gold has captured the bulk of the commodities-related headlines, the ETN is showing signs of weakness. That shows cocoa is joining some other, glossed-over commodities as candidates for further downside. [Lumber Liquidation Could Be Bad Sign For Housing ETFs]

While NIB is trading modestly higher Thursday, the ETN has plunged nearly 7% in the past month. One problem has been strong crops from some of the world’s largest cocoa producers. “The Ivory Coast has been a surprise to traders, with high quality beans reaching port ahead of last year’s pace. Cameroon is also reported to have excellent Cocoa bean quality, which leaves Ghana as the lone West African question mark,” according to OptionsExpress.

Earlier this month, cocoa futures traded above $2,400. With the benefit of a modest Thursday gain, cocoa futures for July delivery currently reside around $2,211.

That price is close to a critical support area. “A violation of the 2195 support level may sway longs to liquidate,” said OptionsExpress.

NIB’s recent price retrenchment has taken the ETN below its 20-, 50- and 200-day moving averages. The ETN now resides 6.3% below its 200-day line, a bearish sign, and further declines could take NIB to its March low below $28.

Investors looking for a way to profit from falling cocoa futures can consider the obvious, that being Hershey (HSY). Shares of Hershey have surged almost 22% this year while NIB has fallen more than 3%. Hershey can be accessed via ETFs through the PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage Portfolio (PBJ) , among others. The stock is that ETF’s third-largest holding with a weight of 4.9%.

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cocoa Total Return Sub-Index ETN

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.