Investing in commodities is a hot topic these days. A commodity is a physical substance that investors buy or sell, usually through futures and options contracts. Foreign currencies and financial instruments (including stocks, bonds and indexes) are also traded on commodities exchanges using options and futures contracts. But for those interested in directly investing in the commodities market, there are many Internet resources to help you analyze, pick and track your investments.
BarChart.com is a futures and equities Web site for traders that offers some of its data, charting, analysis tools and commentaries for free. The home page provides an overview of the current market along with delayed futures data. Futures discussed on the site range from currencies and energy to a variety of agriculture commodities and indexes. Educational materials on futures investing are also available.
Chicago Board of Trade
The Chicago Board of Trade (which in the summer of 2007 merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) offers free quotes, charts, contract and trading information, and educational sections for variety of products. The CBOT trades agricultural commodities, interest rates, and Dow products based on various indexes and metal (gold and silver). Each product category offers recent market news and articles including numerous tutorials. And the Education area offers a wealth of classes, tutorials, webinars, a glossary and a trading simulator.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
CME products include commodities, equities, foreign exchange, interest rates, real estate and weather. For each product category, youll find recent news impacting the commodities markets, an education section, and a list of resources for traders including links to related Web sites. The Market Data area provides delayed quotes for all traded products for free, as well as charts and graphs with historical data. The Education Center offers a glossary, how-to articles and a trading simulator to help beginners learn to trade futures and options.
Inside Futures offers a wealth of tools and materials to help beginning and experienced futures traders learn the ropes. A small amount of options data can also be found on the site. The home page provides commentaries on the days commodities trends as well as charts showing the days market movers. The Charts & Quotes section offers free interactive charts with technical indicators for a variety of commodities. The Education area provides tips, articles, answers to frequently asked questions and advice on futures trading.
Kansas City Board of Trade
The Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBT) mainly sells futures and options dealing with wheat, but also sells the Value Line stock index futures contract. The home page offers market commentaries and news. You can also get real-time quotes for the Value Line futures in the Quotes & Charts section.
National Futures Association
The National Futures Association (NFA) is the self-regulatory organization for the U.S. futures industry. The association develops rules, programs and services to safeguard market integrity and protect investors. The NFA Web site is free and offers a great deal of educational materials (found in the Investor Learning Center) on futures trading as well as regulatory and compliance data. If you have a complaint, you can file it on this site.
TradingCharts.com offers free (but delayed) intraday quotes and charts for commodities traders. Data is organized by commodity type (including agricultural commodities, energy, currency and metals) then by specific commodity. You can see daily, weekly, monthly and historical prices; a current quote; recent news; and a chart for each commodity. Charts offer limited customization by timeframe and type of graph. Java-based charts are more interactive and allow you to input technical indicators, change the time period and zoom in or out. While all of the data on TradingCharts.com is free, you have to be willing to put up with the sites numerous pop-up ads.