A Chaperoned Plunge Into The Pits

At one time, playing the commodities markets was truly for the stout-hearted. Because futures contracts are bought on margin, your potential losses could far exceed your initial investment. But in recent years, brokers have made it simpler and somewhat less risky to take the plunge--through managed commodity funds. For as little as $5,000, you can buy shares in pools overseen by professional traders.

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