A commodity is a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other goods of the same type. Traditional examples of commodities include grains, gold, beef, oil, and natural gas.
For investors, commodities can be an important way to diversify their portfolio beyond traditional securities. Because the prices of commodities tend to move in opposition to stocks, some investors also rely on commodities during periods of market volatility.
In the past, commodities trading required significant amounts of time, money, and expertise, and was primarily limited to professional traders. Today, there are more options for participating in the commodity markets.