A market disconnect can be a powerful -- and profitable -- force.
Remember the gold rush of 2009?
I'm not talking about the yellow metal. After all, gold prices rose "only" about 40% in the 12 months ended in October of that year.
The real gains came from the companies that actually dug gold out of the ground. As measured by the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX), gold miners rose an astonishing 150% during the same period.
If you missed out on that move, not to worry -- it's starting to play out again, but with a different cast of characters.
First, some background...
The stock market spent most of 2008 in panic mode, spooked by emerging crises in the U.S. housing and financial markets. Fear was the order of the day. Selling was rampant.
The one investment that held up better than the broader market was gold -- not surprising, given that investors view gold as a safe haven. What didn't make sense was that shares of gold miners -- the companies that profit the most from high gold prices -- plunged in value.
In fact, between the start of 2007 until late October 2008, gold prices were up roughly 15%. By comparison, the gold miners -- as measured by the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) -- were down nearly 60%.
In other words, the shares of the producers became disconnected from the price of the underlying commodity. Simply put, many investors were selling just about any stock they owned during that time. But as the market corrected itself, the investors who were the first to notice the disparity were richly rewarded...
Is history about to repeat itself?
According to Scarcity & Real Wealth's Nathan Slaughter, it could be. Nathan has found another large disconnect in one of the market's most talked about commodities -- natural gas.
This past March, natural gas supplies in the United States grew to levels about 60% higher than average. The main culprit: An unusually warm winter across much of the country, which kept a lid on heating demand. By mid-April, natural gas prices had dropped to less than $2 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), the lowest in a decade.
But then things began to heat up.
The cheap prices sparked increased demand from utilities, which were turning to natural gas at the expense of coal as the primary source of power generation.
Meanwhile, the hottest spring on record in the continental United States turned into the third-hottest summer in recorded history. This led to a surge in gas-powered electricity demand to keep air conditioners working overtime.
Largely because of the weather-related demand increase this summer, natural gas inventories have returned to more normal levels. At the end of last month, natural gas supplies were just 9% above average, down from March's 60% deviation from the norm.
The increase in demand has pushed natural gas prices up nearly 80% from their mid-April lows -- with a chunk of those gains coming in the last few weeks.
But while natural gas has been the best-performing commodity of the last six months, natural gas producers haven't been so lucky...
As you can see from the chart, since April the price of natural gas has outpaced the shares of most natural gas companies, as measured by the ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (NYSE: FCG), which holds 30 natural gas producers and related companies. And the pace quickened following last week's forecast for colder-than-normal temperatures across much of the country.
In other words, an already sizeable disconnect between the shares of the producing companies and the price of the commodity just got bigger. Sound familiar?
What does it mean for investors? For that I'll turn to Nathan Slaughter, Chief Investment Strategist for Scarcity & Real Wealth. Less than a week after the April low in natural gas -- and long before anyone realized a price bottom had been put in place -- Nathan told his readers that the time had come to buy natural gas:
"I'm making a big bet on natural gas as the energy source of the future. Between 15% and 20% of my personal portfolio is weighted toward natural gas producers, pipeline owners, liquefied natural gas (LNG) shippers and many others."
"The best time to invest in a commodity is usually when nobody wants to touch it -- and at $2 per Mcf, that is certainly the case with natural gas."
Action to Take --> That's straight from the horse's mouth. Nathan hit the nail on the head back then, and I think StreetAuthority's resident energy expert is spot-on today when he says "With most investors asleep at the wheel, this is a great buying opportunity."
But natural gas isn't the only opportunity Nathan is finding in the commodity market right now. In fact, as soon as 2013, a major event will take place in Russia that could dry up as much as 10% of America's electricity supply. As the country scrambles to react, a small group of stocks could soar. For more information on the potential crisis, follow this link.