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November 14th, 2007
Investors often look for promising future trends and investment instruments that capture these trends. Nanotechnology, robotics and commodities are likely to be some of the biggest trends of the coming decades. Commodities like oil, metals and to some extents water have already rewarded investors handsomely over the last few years. However timing your entry into these trends usually proves to be very tricky. Get in too early and you may invest in innovative companies that do not know how to turn a profit. Get in too late and you miss some of the explosive early gains. For an example of the pitfalls of attempting to capture a future trend through a single company, check out the steep 57.83% loss I incurred in Airspan Networks (AIRN) while attempting to capture the emerging WiMax trend in 2005. Thankfully I later decided to hedge by WiMax bet with an investment in competitor Alvarion (ALVR) resulting in a 83.11% return year-to-date. Given the proliferation of Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs in recent months, it may be possible to capture most current trends and future trends through ETFs, thereby allowing us to spread our bets across multiple companies.
Clean water for domestic consumption as well as industrial use is not only going to be an important trend of this decade but explosive population growth combined with higher standards of living could make it the biggest trend of this century.
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