Investing in 2013: Best Bets in an Uncertain Economy

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If you're planning on investing in 2013, economic uncertainty probably will be a factor in deciding where to put your money - but some sectors stand out as solid prospects regardless of the economic climate.

Here's a breakdown of the best sectors for your money in the New Year.
 

Hot Sectors for Investing in 2013

Silver: With economic uncertainty expected for the near term, gold is typically considered the best hedging choice.

But, as Money Morning Global Resources Specialist Peter Krauth pointed out in his 2013 silver price forecast, silver actually provides more potential for appreciation - and at a far better starting price.

Krauth says the white metal, currently selling for around $30 an ounce, could move to a new high of $54 an ounce in 2013 - and not just because of its hedging value.

Investment demand for silver should continue to increase, driven by the creation and expansion of several silver-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and increased minting of silver coins.
Industrial use of silver is expected to grow even faster. That's largely due to the use of silver in solar panel manufacturing, which consumed 60 million ounces in 2012.

Solar panel usage is expected to grow as a result of U.S. President Barack Obama's emphasis on alternative energy and increased demand from Japan, which has made a major shift away from nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.

Consumer staples: Even if the U.S. economy plunges back into a recession, consumer staples like food, beverages and household items will make for good defensive plays.

And if we avoid a recession, Americans will have more money available for discretionary consumer spending. That would translate to more sales of higher-end luxury goods sold by many of the same companies that carry staples.

Whatever happens with the economy, there's little downside and plenty of growth potential for consumer staples.

But be aware margins in this sector are thin, so focus on companies with good management and effective cost controls when investing in 2013.
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