by Alex Rosen
The VanEck Natural Resources ETF (NYSEARCA:HAP) tracks the VanEck Natural Resources Index. The fund invests in companies involved in the production and distribution of commodities and commodity related products and services in the following sectors: Agriculture, Alternatives (Water & Alternative Energy), Base and Industrial Metals, Energy, Forest Products, and Precious Metals.
The fund is registered in the Cayman Islands, so it is able to avoid K-1 filings. It is the first commodity fund to include alternatives. The index as well as the fund are rebalanced quarterly
Proprietary ETF Grades
Segment: New Growth
Sub-Segment: Commodity Stocks
- Risk (vs. S&P 500): High
Proprietary Technical Ratings
Short-Term (next 3 months): B
Long-Term (next 12 months): B
(guide – A=Strong Buy, B=Buy, C=Hold, D=Sell, F=Strong Sell)
HAP holds a large basket of 431 holdings spread out across six different sectors. The weight of each sector is determined by global consumption. Geographically the fund covers the entire globe with holdings in every continent except Antarctica. The largest holdings are in the U.S. (52%), Canada (11%) and the UK (7.5%).
HAP’s focuses on global hard commodities including things like timber, metal, oil, and water. All are finite resources and all are tangible goods. The companies it invests in are some of the largest and most well known in the world. By weighting holdings based on global consumption, HAP ensures that it is holding high demand equities.
As the population increases, naturally the global demand for resources increases. The two go hand in hand. That isn’t rocket science. More people equals more mouths to feed, more cellphones to make, more energy to consume, more patients in need of pharmaceuticals.
By investing in companies that focus on the extraction and production of those resources, HAP has found a market that will continue to expand.
Because the fund is so diverse, it makes it difficult to really drill down on one particular sector or region. As a result, it’s very difficult to capture dramatic upswings in any given sector. A sudden surge in the price of gold will only have a slight effect on the overall fund price.
The upside of that though is it cuts both ways. A sudden drop in one sector won’t dramatically affect the price either.
Under normal conditions the demand for hard commodities will continue to grow. When something like a global pandemic occurs, it will have a deleterious effect on consumption, but as we are seeing now, the after effect is essentially the rising tide theory. The demand for all hard commodities has increased steadily since March of 2020, with some obviously doing better than others.
As mentioned above, resources are finite. They are also fickle. Today’s skyrocketing demand for oil and rare earth metals could become a complete bust tomorrow. A global fund is subject to global shocks, and HAP is truly a global fund.
ETF Quality Opinion
We like funds that are transparent and uncomplicated. Funds that choose holdings based on 76 metrics inputted into an algorithm tend to make understanding them more complicated. Furthermore, funds that invest in physical assets or at least companies that deal in physical assets tend to hold their ground better and make for less complicated investing.
HAP is a plain vanilla fund that invests in hard assets.
ETF Investment Opinion
One thing is certain, as the population continues to expand, the demand for resources, oil, timber, gold, energy, etc., will continue to increase. The companies that extract them or produce them are well positioned to reap the benefits of this continued expansion. As a result we rate HAP a Hold with the understanding that if economic conditions continue to hold steady, that may move towards a buy in the next 12 months or so.
Editor’s Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.