As the housing construction industry builds up, lumber sector exchange traded funds are experiencing a decent growth spurt.
Investors interested in the lumber market can gain exposure through ETFs that track global timber-related companies, such as the Guggenheim Timber ETF (NYSEArca: CUT) and iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF (NYSEArca: WOOD).
Both funds include exposure to global companies that own or lease forested land and harvest the timber for commercial use and sale of wood-based products. CUT country weights include U.S. 30.6%, Brazil 16.5%, Finland 9.9%, Japan 8.9%, Canada 7.5%, Sweden 7.4% and South Africa 7.2%. WOOD country tilts include U.S. 46.7%, Canada 7.4%, Japan 9.1%, Brazil 8.3%, Finland 7.8%, U.K. 4.7% and Ireland 4.5%.
Over the past week, CUT rose 2.5% and WOOD gained 2.3%. Year-to-date, WOOD was up 5.3% and CUT was 11.8% higher.
The timber industry is gaining momentum as the housing market rebounds and homebuilders begin ramping up construction projects. According to the Commerce Department, U.S. housing starts jumped 20.2% in April month-over-month, the highest reading since November 2007, reports Tatyana Shumsky for the Wall Street Journal.
The improved housing number provides support for the timber market as home construction makes up 40% of U.S. lumber demand. Consequently, traders and analysts believe the recent surge in housing activity could extend the rise in lumber prices.
“All those [U.S. housing] projects that would’ve gotten done over the winter but got delayed will get done, in addition to everything else that’s scheduled,” Shawn Hackett, president of Hackett Financial Advisors, a commodities brokerage and investment company, said in the WSJ article.