Gold isn't the only inflation hedge

Look at antiques, art, stocks and oil as a weapon against rising prices.

By Kim Peterson Dec 8, 2009 2:20PM
Nest egg  © Stockbyte Gold/Getty Images Gold has gone crazy in recent weeks as investors look to dodge the inflation bullet. But at $1,200 an ounce, is it really the smartest play?

Bloomberg's Matthew Lyn says there are plenty of alternatives to gold that could be just as effective, perhaps even more so, as an inflationary hedge. And at the rate central banks are printing money, he writes, inflation is on the way.

In reality, gold has a mixed record. Nor should you be surprised about that. A few industrial uses, and jewelry, aside, gold is valuable only insofar as other investors think it is valuable. By itself it isn’t necessarily worth anything. Nor does it generate interest or dividends. If the price doesn’t rise, you don’t get anything.

OK, so what else should investors be eyeing? Lyn lists five possibilities:

Real estate: Property values don't always trend in line with inflation, Lyn writes.

Oil: The price of oil has surpassed $70 a barrel, even in these recessionary times. "Oil is already, in effect, an alternative to gold," Lyn writes.

Stocks: Major blue-chip companies can benefit from inflation, because they can increase their prices along with the general swell in prices. And they can cut labor costs a bit at the same time by making any wage increase just a bit less than inflation, Lyn writes.

Luxury goods: Art, antiques, vintage cars and wine "should start to soar in price as the mega-rich realize they are among the few ways to protect wealth," Lyn writes.

Private-equity funds: Leveraged buyout firms buy companies and pile on the debt. Inflation wipes out the debt, and the equity at those companies will be worth much more, Lyn writes.



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