Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

UPDATE 3/4/2011: An up-to date article on selecting green mutual funds and ETFs can be found here. Mutual funds are often touted as an inexpensive way to achieve diversification.  With declining brokerage commissions, this is often no longer true.  If you are interested in investing in alternative energy, is a mutual fund or ETF right for you? Here are the currently available mutual funds and ETFs of which I'm aware with alternative energy type themes: Fund Name Emphasis Mgmt Style Load? Turnover Ticker Expense Ratio Guinness Atkinson...

A Better Way to Play Green Stocks?

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA My Quick Clean Energy Tracking Portfolio continues to outperform all benchmarks and expectations... is it luck, or did I stumble onto a better way to invest in green energy stocks? I continue to be stunned at how the portfolio which I intended as an easy way to duplicate green energy mutual fund performance at much lower cost continues to blow those green mutual funds out of the water.  I last published an update on this portfolio at the end of May, and was shocked to find that it had beaten the funds it was...

Choosing The Right Clean Energy Mutual Fund or ETF

Tom Konrad CFA If you want to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency with just one fund, this is what you need to know. Over the last few months, I've written an extended series of articles looking at clean energy mutual funds and clean energy exchange traded funds (ETFs).  Defining Clean Energy For my purposes, a clean energy fund is one that primarily invests in companies involved in renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation, efficient and alternative fuel vehicles, and companies that are part of the supply chain for any of the above...

Shares of Capstone Rising

Shares of Capstone Turbine Corp (CPTC) are rising sharply this morning with high volume and gapped up with a gain of over 35% this morning. There is currently no news to cause this increase today and I will be digging deeper to find out what is going on. This is good news for the stock and also the portfolio. My holdings are now up over 50% in about 10 days. If you were thinking of buying the stock now, you should wait till some news confirms this move. Update at 12:15 EST: The only news I can...

Should “Green” Funds Invest in Fossil Fuels?

Marc Gunther Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking Rolling Stone story (Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math) and 350.org’s “Do the Math” divestment campaign raise important and difficult questions about fossil fuels. One that is starting to roil the world of socially-responsibly investing is this: How should mutual funds that strive to be “green” or “sustainable” or “socially responsible” deal with the fossil fuel companies in their portfolios? Should they divest, as McKibben argues? That was the topic of a column I wrote last week for the Guardian Sustainable Business, which generated some noteworthy responses. It’s part of the British newspaper...

Shares in Altair Nanotechnologies Purchased

I purchased shares in Altair Nanomaterials (ALTI) this morning for both my personal portfolio and also the mutual fund. ALTI is a holding company that specializes in nanomaterials and also contains a life sciences division. The materials company has research in high performance batteries, fuel cells, and photovoltaics. Altair announced earnings today and the stock is up on the morning trading. Revenue Increases 68 Percent for Third Quarter and 230 Percent for Nine-Month Period "An increase in revenue of 230 percent for the first three quarters of 2005 is representative of the significant progress Altair has...

Alternative Energy Mutual Funds Outpace ETFs

By Harris Roen Investors love Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). They trade like stocks, and are an easy way to diversify within a certain sector. Over the past year, though, alternative energy investors would have been much better off putting their money in regular mutual funds. The results are detailed in the April edition of the Alternative Energy Mutual Funds & Exchange Traded Fund report. Performance for alternative energy mutual funds were very good for the past 12 months, averaging 11.7% for the eleven funds covered by the Roen Financial Report. In fact, eight...

Fuel Cell Companies Purchased for Portfolio

I placed several trades for the mutual fund this afternoon to start building a position in some of the fuel cell companies. This sub-sector has been under pressure the last couple of months but seems to be building a nice base of support at the current levels. I feel this entire sub-sector is ready for a nice up move and the stocks have been behaving nicely the last week or so. The one stock I seriously considered not adding was Quantum. The stock has been in a steady decline and there is no sign that it’s going to slow...

Can Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs Continue to Beat the Market?

By Harris Roen Alternative Energy Mutual Fund Returns Alternative energy mutual funds have proven to be an excellent investment over the past year or more, but those gains have flattened out as of late. MFs are up 33% on average with even the lowest returning fund, Gabelli SRI Green AAA (SRIGX), up 15% for the year. The alternative energy sector is by far beating the overall market. For comparison, as of April 21 the tech heavy NASDAQ was up around 27% for 12 months, the S&P 500 by 20%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average...

In Clean Energy, Active Management Pays

Alternative Energy and Climate Change Mutual Funds, Part V Tom Konrad, CFA Actively managed clean energy funds have been producing better returns than index funds, despite much higher expenses. I've long been critical of the costs of Alternative Energy mutual funds, but I now regret that stance.  Past Performance of Mutual Funds When I recently surveyed the performance of Alternative Energy mutual funds, I found the results were pretty good, at least in comparison to the oldest sector index fund, the Powershares Clean Energy Index (PBW).  See the following chart below, which shows...

What’s Next For The US Natural Gas Fund (UNG)?

Charles Morand Natural gas is the one commodity that has mostly resisted the rally ushered in some three months ago by a growing consensus that the worse may be over for the economy. A number of reasons have been put forward to explain this, including record storage levels and a growing supply base being unlocked through shale gas production in North America.   Yet natural gas' future looks bright: (a) it burns a lot cleaner than coal, making it a superior alternative to meet base- and peakload power requirements in a carbon-constrained world; (b) it...

Sharp Drops for Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs

By Harris Roen Alternative Energy Mutual Funds Down for the Quarter, Mixed for the Year Alternative energy mutual funds have turned sharply lower over the past three months. Of the 14 MFs that the Roen Financial Report tracks, all but one are down for the quarter. Five are posting double-digit declines. On average, the drop in MFs are similar to that of the S&P 500 and Down Jones Industrial Average, which fell 7.44% and 9.6% respectively. The only MF showing a gain… ETFs are Widely Lower Green ETFs are showing poor returns on both a...

The Bull Market For Alternative Energy Funds Continues

By Harris Roen Robust Alternative Energy Mutual Fund Returns Alternative energy mutual funds remain a strong investment sector, showing extremely robust returns in June. On average, MFs gained 28.1% for the year, and every fund posted double digit returns. Also without exception, all funds are up for the past three months. More importantly, long-term returns for alternative energy mutual funds have greatly improved in the past year. In June 2013, the average three-year return was 3.0%, with three out of 10 funds showing losses. Green ETFs Increase Gains Green ETFs have significantly...

Shares in Capstone Purchased

This morning I purchased shares of Capstone Turbine Corp (CPTC) in both my personal portfolio and the mutual fund. I have been waiting for the stock to show some strength after its recent declines. The stock appears to have some nice support at the $2.25 level as a bottom. They will be announcing quarterly earnings on November 10th. Capstone Turbine developments and manufactures microturbine generators. The company’s microturbines can also be used as generators for hybrid electric vehicle applications. It also offers Model C60 integrated combined heat and power systems (CHP). A one third stake have been purchased...

Alternative Energy Funds In The Lead

By Harris Roen Alternative energy MFs and ETFs posted record gains in the past 12 months. Guggenheim Solar (TAN) and Market Vectors Solar Energy (KWT) are the top two performers out of more than 1,500 ETFs. Firsthand Alternative Energy (ALTEX) and Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy (GAAEX) are in the top ten for over 28,000 mutual funds. Mutual Funds Returns overall have been spectacular for alternative energy MFs. Even the lowest performer is up 27% in the past 12 months. The best performers are those strongly invested in solar, specifically ALTEX and GAAEX,...

Alternative Energy and Climate Change Mutual Funds, Part II

Tom Konrad CFA Choosing the best green energy mutual fund. In part I of this series, I looked at the costs and expenses of eight Climate Change and Alternative Energy focused Mutual Funds.  I concluded that four out of the eight, the Firsthand Alternative Energy Fund (ALTEX), the Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund (GAAEX), the Winslow Green Growth Fund (WGGFX), and the New Alternatives Fund (NALFX) each cost roughly 1.5% more in terms of expenses and trading costs per year than the typical Climate Change or Alternative Energy focused Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), with the other four...