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It isn't only farmers and oil and gas producers who are benefiting from the shale boom – your IRA or 401(k) are also among those benefitting from the shale revolution.

This morning, Dow Chemical reported a better-than-expected profit due to the low cost of raw materials for its plastics business. The shale boom has kept the price of NGLs (natural gas liquids) low in the United States in comparison to other countries. This has made the U.S. plastics industry more competitive than it has been in many years. NGLs such as ethane and naphtha are important raw materials for the industry.

Dow's European operations have also benefitted. American oil production from shale has contributed to the global slide in oil prices, making Dow's naphtha crackers profitable.

Similar stories abound. The shares of companies that have locations in the U.S. are benefitting from the shale boom. If you own those companies in an IRA, 401(k) or similar retirement program, you are benefitting too.

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