Five Beneficiaries of Lower Commodity Costs

These companies shouldn't feel as much of a squeeze on profits now that the prices of oil and raw materials are falling.

Government officials are considering stimulus packages as a way to put more money in consumer pockets. But if commodity prices continue their decline, consumers may not need the extra boost quite so much.

Prices of commodities, which are the raw materials that go into the goods consumers use, have fallen precipitously over the past three months. The most dramatic move has been in the price of oil, which peaked at $147 a barrel on July 11 and closed November 5 at $65.39. But other commodities, including metals, corn and some fertilizers, have also seen dramatic price declines. "Consumers are essentially getting a $200-billion to $300-billion tax cut" because of the 36% drop in gasoline prices since July, says Bill Knapp, investment strategist with MainStay Investments.

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