It can be difficult to evaluate the current economic standing in the United States, as sensationalist reporting often creates a distorted view of the nation's finances. Despite this, it appears as though the U.S. economy is finally embarking on an upward curve, with property prices soaring by 7.4% and unemployment remaining at 7.8% throughout December 2012.

The signing of the fiscal cliff deal seems to have played a pivotal role in reinforcing the nation's tentative growth, which was reflected by a surge in investor confidence at the turn of the year. In total, investors in U.S.-based funds committed $7.53 billion into stock mutual funds, and this represented the highest volume of capital since 2001. All things considered, the fiscal portents for 2013 appear to be far brighter than they were just six months ago.

SEE: Investing 101

Investing in 2013: Where to Commit Your Capital
While the U.S. is experiencing a sustained growth period, however, the global economy remains mired in instability and uncertainty. Take the ongoing fiscal crisis in the eurozone, for example, which despite showing signs of stabilizing remains a viable threat to long-term economic prosperity. This volatility provides an interesting challenge to investors in 2013, who must navigate both the economic tumult and financial market intricacies if their portfolios are to deliver returns.

The first thing to remember is that this uncertainty can be positive for some investors, especially those looking to trade in equities and shares. As a basic principle, macroeconomic instability is known to trigger diminishing stock prices, which subsequently offer tremendous value as long-term investment vehicles. As long as the eurozone crisis continues to rage, investors with a long-term outlook can purchase plummeting, blue chip shares that will regain their value while the global economy recovers throughout 2013 and beyond.

Another key investment trend in 2013 involves the substantial growth of emerging Asian economies presenting new and exciting opportunities for profitability. Nations such as China and Japan provide a relevant case in point, as, despite mixed economic portents, their markets have benefited from record low valuations. In addition, both nations boast high rates of productivity and burgeoning stability, which again make them ideal for investors who are seeking long-term gains.

SEE: How To Use Crowdfunding To Start Your Business

Investing in Precious Metal and Property: The Importance of Tangible Assets
Another investment option compatible with economic turbulence is gold, as its inherent value provides security during times of austerity. It is therefore expected to enjoy a prosperous 2013, on the back of a 12-year upward price trend that has seen its value soar from $250 to $1,700 per troy ounce. While analysts are predicting that the value of gold will peak during the next 12 months and then begin to fall in line with an improving global economy, this market currently presents a sound and profitable investment option.

While silver is still referred to as the poor man's gold within investment circles, there is a definite sense that this is set to change in 2013. Although critics often deride a material that has been used primarily as an industrial metal during the last decade, it is hard to ignore the fact that it has experienced a 600% price rise since 2003, while also beginning to earn a greater reputation as a precious metal and source of wealth. With some forecasts suggesting that the price per troy ounce could soar to $60 by the end of 2014, the next 12 months provide an ideal opportunity to claim a faction of this thriving market.

In terms of tangible assets, property may also provide a profitable investment opportunity in 2013. Housing markets throughout the world made a sustained recovery during the last six months of 2012, with the U.S. in particular benefiting from a 7.4% increase in property prices within this period. With this growth predicted to continue for the duration of 2013, those who are interested in investing in property may need to act quickly before they are priced out of the market and activity begins to dwindle.

SEE: Commodities

The Bottom Line
This diversity of investment options and their potential reflects an improving economy, which has continued to build momentum during the last three financial quarters. With emerging economies continuing to develop alongside their more established contemporaries, there are now a wider range of markets and financial instruments that can deliver sizable, long-term returns. The key for individuals is to determine which suits them best, in terms of their disposable income levels, strategy and wider investment philosophy.

Related Articles
  1. Active Trading Fundamentals

    4 Stocks With Bullish Head and Shoulders Patterns for 2016 (PG, ETR)

    Discover analyses of the top four stocks with bullish head and shoulders patterns forming in 2016, and learn the prices at which they should be considered.
  2. Investing Basics

    How liquid are Fidelity mutual funds?

    Review the liquidity features of mutual fund shares and an overview of Fidelity mutual funds. Most investors look for convenient access to their investments.
  3. Sectors

    3 Cyclical Industries To Exploit in 2016

    Learn about the three industries at the down end of their business cycles, and discover how these industries may improve in years to come.
  4. Stock Analysis

    Glencore Vs. Noble Group

    Read about the differences between Glencore and Noble Group, two companies in the commodities business. Learn about accounting accusations facing Noble Group.
  5. Stock Analysis

    If You Had Invested Right After Berkshire Hathaway's IPO (BRK.A)

    Learn how much you would now have if you had invested right after Berkshire Hathaway's IPO, and find out the classes of shares that you could invest in.
  6. Stock Analysis

    Is Now the Right Time to Buy Coty? (COTY)

    Find out whether fragrance and color cosmetics powerhouse Coty deserves a place in your portfolio. Will recent acquisitions help turn the company around?
  7. Investing Basics

    5 Common Mistakes Young Investors Make

    Missteps are common whenever you’re learning something new. But in investing, missteps can have serious financial consequences.
  8. Investing Basics

    5 Questions First Time Investors Should Ask in 2016

    Learn five of the most important questions you need to ask if you are a new investor planning on starting an investment program in 2016.
  9. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Verizon Stock (VZ)

    Read about some of the biggest risks of investing in Verizon stock. While the company has a good dividend and value pricing, there are risks.
  10. Stock Analysis

    The Top 5 Small Cap Gold Stocks for 2016 (KGC, SBGL)

    Learn about the factors that led to gold's underperformance, factors that may lead a gold rally and five micro-cap gold stocks to consider.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is finance?

    "Finance" is a broad term that describes two related activities: the study of how money is managed and the actual process ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the 'Rule of 72'?

    The 'Rule of 72' is a simplified way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is a stock split? Why do stocks split?

    All publicly-traded companies have a set number of shares that are outstanding on the stock market. A stock split is a decision ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do I place an order to buy or sell shares?

    It is easy to get started buying and selling stocks, especially with the advancements in online trading since the turn of ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Is there a difference between financial spread betting and arbitrage? (AAPL, NFLX)

    Financial spread betting is a type of speculation that involves a highly leveraged derivative product, whereas arbitrage ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What does a high turnover ratio signify for an investment fund? (KNOW)

    If an investment fund has a high turnover ratio, it indicates it replaces most or all of its holdings over a one-year period. ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  4. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  5. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
Trading Center