×

When the Fed hikes, these two investments could pay off

Minutes from the Fed's April policy meeting only added to the uncertainty of the timing of the next interest rate hike. The statement released immediately after April's meeting was seen as dovish, but the minutes pushed investors into thinking a June hike is possible.

But we continue to believe the Fed will take a wait and see approach, passing up the June and July meeting, setting up the markets for a once and done September rate hike in the magnitude of 25 basis points. The good news for investors is that when this hike does occur, it presents an opportunity to increase investments across two key—albeit often overlooked—asset classes.

For investors who don't yet maintain allocations to precious metals and foreign currencies, the next Fed hike could offer a window for further diversifying into these asset classes at a discount. The primary strength of precious metals in any portfolio is that they are largely non-correlated in different investing environments. By incorporating them into your investment strategy, you can reduce the overall risk of your portfolio.

Gold Silver and currency
Boris Engelberger | Getty Images

In fact, in the first quarter of 2016 while we saw losses in the equity markets, with the S&P down 3.21 percent from January 1 through March 1, there were large gains in precious metals. Over that same period, gold was up 16.67 percent. Beyond metals' lack of correlation with popular indices, they also maintain an inverse relationship with the U.S. dollar. As the dollar continues to weaken, this bodes well for investors who allocate some portion of their portfolios to metals.

With regard to specific metals opportunities, there is increased interest from investors in silver. Compared to gold, silver continues to have room to run. Thomson Reuters' World Silver Survey, released this month, indicates that silver continues to be a bargain, but not for long, estimating that it will reach $17.50 per ounce by the end of 2016.


Along the same lines as diversification, precious metals can provide a form of catastrophe insurance for investors. Gold has traditionally been seen as a safe haven during times of crisis with both institutional and individual investors moving into precious metals during times of global crisis.

On the foreign currencies side of the house, investors would be well served to consider commodity based opportunities, such as the Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Canadian dollar and Norwegian krone. While the global economy has not been attaining the growth rate central bankers originally projected, it does continue to grow and there is greater stability, particularly with regard to emerging markets which continue to benefit from the sustained low rate environment.

Elsewhere in emerging market opportunities, despite the political unrest in Brazil, investors are slowly returning to the real as a speculative option. Currencies that currently have downside beyond the U.S. dollar include the Japanese yen, wherein many moves have been overdone, and the British pound sterling which continues to face headwinds in reaction to Brexit talk.

For investors looking to take on a position in either or both foreign currencies or precious metals, I would suggest using a dollar-cost averaging strategy to accumulate a position. This takes some of the risk out of trying to time the markets with your purchase.

Precious metals and foreign currencies create a safe haven for investors. Therefore investing in these asset classes following a rate change in September or December will provide the added benefit of protecting value if and when a recession occurs.

Commentary by Chris Gaffney, president of the World Markets® division of EverBank. He joined the World Markets team in 1987. Previously, he served as vice president of the International Markets Division at Mark Twain Banks.

Disclosure:The analyst and his family own precious metals and foreign currencies, and EverBank World Markets purchases and sells precious metals and foreign currencies for clients.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.