Assuming the economy is at a bottom right now or has just passed the bottom (a big assumption I know but I'm going with it!), what are the best investments? In other words, what is at the bottom right now? What are the lagging economic indicators, e.g. markets that tend to go down significantly after the recession starts and go up significantly after the recession ends. A well-known lagging indicator is the commercial real estate market. But commercial real estate (and residential for that matter) were overbuilt and I don't think the demand has come back yet. Still, used heavy construction equipment is interesting in that it was dirt cheap for a while there, maybe still is. Lesser known lagging indicators are the water market and anything driven by state and local government spending.
Commodities took a break with the recession, but as China comes back, demand will go back up. Copper and Iron Ore are improving dramatically right now...so what about the mining companies, eg Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton? And if they come back, will that be enough to prop the Aussie dollar back up? Nickel sucks, why is that?
China's auto sales forecasts are very high, but I don't know that American investors can benefit directly from that? More from the raw materials used to build those autos, and possibly petroleum industry.
The stock market in general appears to be a good place to be right now. Probably some fits and starts on the horizon. PE ratios were much too high in the past, no way could earnings keep up with that (unless interest rates stay extremely low), but investor exuberance may return nonetheless. I'm pretty conservative, but I've noticed that American investment psychology (in general, not on this blog) seems to be skewed to the positive over the long run. The way to take advantage of that is to be on the leading edge.