As the U.S. stimulus package starts hitting Main Street and the global economic recovery starts to unfold, basic materials and the exchange traded funds (ETFs) that track them may be even more exciting than the newest iPhone.

Basic materials include such things as chemical products, forestry products and the mining and refining of metals.  They are also the providers of the raw building blocks of construction and infrastructure.  When you sit and back and assess the health of the global economy over the next few years, it lies in infrastructure and public works, states Andrew Leckey for The Chicago Tribune.  Stimulus packages in China as well as here in the United States have massive amounts of money allocated to these two areas.

Basic materials can be a great way to access the overall global economic recovery, especially for investors who may not want the volatility of a single-country emerging market fund.  To grab exposure to basic materials, take a look at the following ETFs:

  • SPDR Select Sector Fund- Basic Industries (XLB): up 14.4% year-to-date

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Basic Materials (IYM): up 18.6% year-to-date

  • iShares S&P Global Materials Sector Index Fund (MXI): up 20.5% year-to-date.

For more stories on basic materials, visit our basic materials category.

Kevin Grewal contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.