As Goes January? What the Pullback in Green Mutual Funds Means

By Harris Roen Alternative energy mutual funds and ETFs have pulled back from some of the fantastic gains seen in 2013. There is a saying in the investment world that “as goes January, so goes the year.” Is it time to bail on this sector, or on stocks in general? Perhaps, but wise long-term alternative energy investors should avoid rash steps at this juncture. Alternative Energy Fund Returns Mutual Funds are down about 4% on average year-to-date, and are basically flat for the past three months. Despite this, alternative energy mutual funds are up 22.7%...

Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs Go In All Driections

By Harris Roen Alternative Energy Mutual Funds, Solid Long-Term Gains Returns for alternative energy mutual funds are virtually flat on average for the past three months, down slightly at a loss of 0.3%. The best short-term performer is Pax World Global Environmental Markets (PGRNX), up 2.1%… Over the longer term, returns for alternative energy mutual funds remain very strong. MFs are up 14.7% on average, with all companies showing double-digit gains on an annualized basis… Returns for ETFs are ranging widely Returns for ETFs are ranging widely, both in the short and long...

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...

Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs Returns Flatten

By Harris Roen Alternative Energy Mutual Fund Returns Alternative energy mutual funds have given back some of the gains they have enjoyed since the beginning of the year, though they are still up almost 20% on average. All MFs are in positive territory, with annual returns ranging from 9.8% to 40.9%. MFs are also up nicely for the week and month, but on average are down slightly in the past three months. These returns are very different than those of just five months ago, when alternative energy MFs were doing almost twice as well… ...

Is the New Smart Grid ETF GRID All That Smart?

Tom Konrad, CFA First Trust Launched a Grid Infrastructure Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on November 17th.  Although the First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index Fund (Nasdaq: GRID) is labeled a "Smart Grid" ETF to capture popular excitement around smart grid technology, it covers the whole grid infrastructure sector.  This broader focus is good for clean energy investors. I've been an advocate of investing in electric transmission and smart gird stocks since early 2007, and for almost a year now, a regular reader has been telling me to create a transmission ETF so he can buy...

Strong Returns Continue for Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs

By Harris Roen Alternative Energy Mutual Fund Returns Alternative energy mutual funds have posted extremely strong returns across the board. Gains have shown a wide breadth, with all MFs up for the last 12-month and 3-month periods. In the past year, all funds are up double digits. A new fund has been added to our tracking system, Calvert Green Bond A (CGAFX). This fund started trading in November 2013, and is the first green open end bond fund designed for retail investors. CGAFX focuses at least 80% of its assets on “…opportunities related to climate change...

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...

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...

Clean Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs

UPDATE 3/4/2011: An up-to-date article on selecting green mutual funds and ETFs can be found here. by Tom Konrad For new investors looking to green their portfolios with clean energy, the first thought is usually mutual funds.  The following three are available in North America: Mutual Funds Expenses New Alternatives Fund (NALFX) 0.95% + Sales load Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund  (GAAEX) 1.64% ...

Top Performing Clean Energy Funds in 2010

Tom Konrad CFA When Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released their clean energy league tables for 2010, the top of the list was my favorite exchange traded fund (ETF), the Powershares Cleantech Portfolio ETF (AMEX: PZD), with an annual return of 7.6%. Second place was the Winslow Green Growth (WGGFX) mutual fund (7.4% return), which is one of what I consider to be the three best clean energy mutual funds. But the one I consider to be the best, the Gabelli SRI Green Fund (SRIGX) was nowhere to be seen, despite the fact that it returned 12.1% in...

New Wind ETF FAN Cools Off Sunburned Portfolios

Update:You can find a comparison of FAN with PWND. a more recent wind ETF here. Since I last covered clean energy mutual funds and ETFs, the sector has seen the launch of two solar ETFs (KWT the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF from VanEck,  and TAN, the Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy ETF.)   Continuing in the tradition of cute ticker symbols, First Trust's new global wind energy ETF is FAN. I recommend that investors stay away from the (very expensive) green energy mutual funds, and invest either in one of the ETFs, or if they have...
Invesco Cleantech ETF

Screening For the Best Clean Energy ETF

by Vic Patel There are over a dozen major Clean Energy ETFs available to investors. But which one is the best one to put your hard earned money into? Best can mean different things to different people based on their investment preferences and risk profile. In this article, I will provide a more empirical based reason behind why I believe that PZD is the most attractive Clean Energy ETF at the moment. I have based on my analysis of 4  primary factors: liquidity, diversification, recent price action, and last but not least expense ratio. Liquidity has to be a major consideration in the...

Crude Oil & Alt Energy: The Non-Relationship That Just Won’t Go Away

Charles Morand The relationship - or lack thereof - between oil prices and the performance of alt energy stocks has been a long-time interest of mine. I discussed it last in late March when I looked at correlations between the daily returns of alt energy and fossil energy ETFs. At the time, I found that only a weak relationship existed between the two and that if someone wanted to make a thematic investment play on Peak Oil, alt energy ETFs were not an ideal way to do so.  Seeing as the popular press and countless "experts"...

Alternative Energy Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

UPDATE 3/4/2011: An up-to-date article on selecting renewable energy ETFs can be found here. For investors looking for diversified exposure to Alternative Energy, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are the best option.  I have not found any statistical evidence that actively managed alternative energy  mutual funds can beat the market (and hence justify their higher fees,) so lower expense ratios make ETFs compelling.  Since last year, the wide variety of Alternative Energy ETFs also makes it possible to even speculate on subsectors.  People who expect Solar, Wind, or even Carbon Trading  to do better than Alternative Energy...

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,...

Outstanding Annual Returns for Alternative Energy Mutual Fund, ETF Returns Mixed

By Harris Roen Mutual Funds Annual returns for alternative energy MFs are excellent, up a very respectable 23% on average. Not a single MF is trading down over the past 12 months, with even the smallest gainer up over 14%. Three month returns are more variable, but are still up 4.5% on average. Shorter term returns have all turned negative, though they are in line with recent drops in the broader market. For example, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index are down about 4% for the week, and around 3.5%...