Wood stocks that are a cut above

These leading wood stocks and specialized ETFs allow investors to access the US lumber and timber industries.

By MoneyShow.com May 1, 2012 1:18PM

Image: Couple on vacation (© Caroline Schiff/Photodisc Red/Getty Images)By Joel Anderson, Equities.com


You may have missed it, but last Friday was Arbor Day, the day on which people are meant to gather to care for and celebrate trees. 


The holiday dates back to April 10, 1872, when an estimated one million trees were planted. And what better way to celebrate the day than to explore those companies that make their money from trees?


Granted, most of these companies either profit from cutting down trees or making things out of dead trees, which would, in fact, make them wildly inappropriate for this day, but let's not split hairs!


Lumber stocks

Lumber is not the industry that it used to be. There was once a time when lumberjacks with hand tools clear cut the majority of American forests, providing the lumber for a growing nation to continue expanding.


Today, better forestry and a desire to preserve natural resources for future generations have fundamentally changed the approach to logging undertaken by American timber companies. That does not mean, though, that America suddenly lost its demand for lumber. As such, debates over safe forestry practices and sustainability have become a major part of the industry.


There remain a number of companies that are primarily dedicated to harvesting timber for commercial uses. 


The Weyerhaeuser Company (WY) operates out of Los Angeles, Calif., and has a market cap of over $11 billion. Formerly the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, Weyerhaeuser was founded in 1900 by Frederick Weyerhaeuser and 15 partners, and today, it operates on four continents.


Here is a recent daily chart:


chart 
Click to enlarge


Today, it’s primarily a pulp and paper company, but it remains the second-largest owner of timberland in America behind Plum Creek Timber Co. (PCL), which is also the largest private landowner in the country. Other major timber companies include the Potlatch Corporation (PCH) and Rayonier (RYN).


If you're looking to invest in the lumber industry without getting to specific, though, there are at least two major ETFs to that effect. The iShares S&P Global Timber & Forestry Index Fund (WOOD) and the Guggenheim Timber Index (CUT).


Read more from Joel Anderson at Equities.com.

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