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Investing Specialists

Commodities: Whether, What, and How Much?

Readers weigh in on whether this asset class is 'must have' or 'must avoid.'

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Commodities investors have been on a roller coaster ride lately. After posting very strong gains for most of the year, commodity prices pulled back sharply during the past week, with oil and silver leading the way down.

Amid a herky-jerky commodity-price landscape, are Morningstar.com users viewing commodities as must-have or must-avoid investments? And among those who have embraced commodities, have they employed them as long-term portfolio components or are they using them more tactically, as a way to bet on higher overall prices or the direction of a single commodity?

To find out, I recently surveyed our users, posting a query on the Portfolio Design/Management forum on Morningstar.com's discussion boards. Perhaps not surprisingly, given that falling commodities prices dominated the headlines last week, users weighed in at a furious pace. Their posts showcased a wide range of opinions, ranging from folks who are avidly buying and selling commodities to those who are unconvinced of the long-term merits of the asset class.

Christine Benz has a position in the following securities mentioned above: RIO. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.