Q2 Performance Update: Ten Green Energy Gambles for 2009

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Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA

I never thought 2009 would be a good year for risky stocks, but my readers asked for them anyway.  So far, my risk taking readers have not been burnt too badly, and the portfolio as a whole continues to track its benchmarks.

In my first quarter update for my green energy gambles for 2009, I noted that the portfolio had lost about 10%, between the benchmark returns (-12% and -5%), but not very impressive.  Since then, the portfolio as a whole has gained a little ground, and is almost exactly midway between the benchmarks.

The following table shows stock-by-stock performance.

Ticker Price (1/9/09 close) Price (7/13/09 close)

Percent gain

BCON $0.46 $0.637 38.5%
AXPW.OB $1.20 $1.34  11.7%
VLNC $1.77 $1.51 -14.7%
CPTC.OB $0.30 $0.245 -18.3%
EPG $0.86 $0.54 -37.2%
EMKR $1.43 $1.07 -25.2%
UQM $1.72 $2.46 43.0%
CZZ $4.18 $5.00 19.6%
RZ $3.62 $2.00 -44.8%
ZOLT $7.47 $8.46 13.3%
Portfolio $1,000 $986 -1.4%


ICLN $22.05 $21.01 -4.7%
PBW $9.01 $9.15 1.6%

In January, I made two predictions about this portfolio:

  1. The portfolio as a whole would fall, unless financial market conditions improve rapidly.
  2. All of these stocks have a chance of spectacular returns.

Prediction #1 continues to be on target.  As of July 13th, the market as a whole is basically flat for the year, and the portfolio is down a smidgeon.  

Prediction #2 is harder to judge.  The best performing stocks, Beacon Power (BCON) and UQM Technologies (UQM), are up only 38.5% and 43.0%, respectively.  While these are not bad returns, after six months, my more conservative 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2009 best performers were up 73% (Algonquin Power Income Fund (AGQNF.PK), with dividends) and 60% (Cree Inc (CREE)).  

On the other hand, since that portfolio was up 27.5% overall, or 29% more than this one, the best two performers among these gambles did relatively much better than their peers.  That’s clearly small consolation if you bought this portfolio rather than the less exciting one with my more conservative picks, which outperformed in the harsh economic climate.

I continue to own small stakes in a few of these, in conjunction with covered calls.  At current prices, Raser Technologies (RZ) is my favorite, which is why it made my Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: Landfill Gas and Geothermal.  However, it’s still a risky stock, and could as easily go down as up. &nbsp

Given my bearish short term expectations, I expect the portfolio as a whole will end the year lower than it is today.  I’m still willing to buy most of these at the right price, but, for most, the right price is significantly lower than the current price.

DISCLOSURE: Tom Konrad has positions in AXPW, EMKR, RZ, and ZOLT.

DISCLAIMER: The information and trades provided here and in the comments are for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of these securities. Investing involves substantial risk and you should evaluate your own risk levels before you make any investment. Past results are not an indication of future performance. Please take the time to read the full disclaimer here.


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