A Diamond In The Mutual Fund Rough

The credit crisis and ensuing collapse in equity markets hasn't been especially good for the mutual fund industry (especially of the equity type). Over the weekend, I ran a search on Morningstar's Fund Quickrank using "U.S. Stocks Funds" as a category and "Total return %: 1 Year" as a ranking field. The top-five ranked funds (as at March 20, 2009) and their performances are outlined in the table below, excluding fees. The group average, containing 9,978 funds, is -40.43%.   Fund Name Ticker 1-Yr Total Return (%) Gabelli ABC GABCX -1.52 ...

The Very Quick Guide To A Green Portfolio

Tom Konrad CFA For many, the decision to get out of fossil fuels is an easy one.  It may be because it's the right thing to do, or because we see the risks of investing in businesses built around an unsustainable economic paradigm.  This article is not about that decision; it's about what to do next. The Green Portfolio: What And Why To a lesser extent, it also depends on what we mean when we say "green."  For simplicity, this article will focus on making your portfolio Fossil Fuel Free (FFF), meaning that the portfolio should...

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...

If a Clean Energy Mutual Fund Falls in the Forest…

When I was researching my Comparison of Clean Energy Mutual Funds and Clean Energy Tracking Portfolio articles, I came across something strange: the American Trust Energy Alternatives Fund (ATEAX) did not seem to have a listing on American Trust's website.  However, finance sites were still publishing price and holdings data, and there was no recent news, so I didn't think much of it, since other funds seemed superior based on both costs and fund holdings. Last week, I noticed that the fund's price had not changed since the end of February, so I did a little digging.  Here is...

Alt Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs Shine, But Risk Remains

By Harris Roen Mutual Funds (MFs) All of the alternative energy MFs were up handsomely in the past three months. The biggest gainer was Firsthand Alternative Energy (ALTEX), up 27.3% for the quarter, which also moved ahead in its ranking. Even the lowest three-month gainer, Brown Advisory Winslow Sustainability Fund (BAWAX), was up an impressive 9.2%. One-year returns were more variable, ranging from a gain of 18.0% for AWATX, to a loss of 11.7% for ALTEX. This has much to do with the solar holdings in these funds. For example, companies in ALTEX...

The Holdings of the Powershares Global Progressive Transport Portfolio ETF (PTRP)

Tom Konrad, CFA I included the Powershares Global Progressive Transport Portfolio (PTRP) as an investment option instead of three stocks in my Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2010, as part of a simplified portfolio for small investors wanting to minimize costs by making fewer trades.  The other Exchange Traded Fund I used in this way was the First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index Fund (GRID).  I took a look at the holdings of the Smart Grid ETF here, and they are not exactly what you would expect from the name.  Since it makes sense to know...

A Clean Energy Inflection Point in 2013? The Best ETF to Play the Trend

Tom Konrad In 2007, it seemed like clean energy was finally becoming mainstream.  Both candidates for the US Presidency accepted the need to act on global warming, even if they did not agree on the degree, and clean energy stocks were rising even faster than the broad stock market. Then came the 2008 financial crisis, and many Americans discovered they had much more immediate worries than the slow but inexorable warming of the planet.  Fossil fuel interests and the politicians who benefited from their donations  played to the new mood by providing a worried populace with the excuse they wanted...

Shares of IDA Corp. Purchased

The fears of Rita have fallen away and the market is finally moving to the upside again this morning. I have been watching IdaTech (IDA) for purchase for a couple of weeks and I had previously mentioned I have been looking for a good entry point on this stock. IDAcorp is an Idaho power utility with electrical generation using Hydro, Natural Gas, and Coal. They also own IDATech which manufactures fuel cell solutions. I'm waiting on this one until the technical picture of the chart improves. I would be a buyer if we can either get...

Alternative Energy and Climate Change Mutual Funds, Part III

Tom Konrad CFA Past performance of green energy mutual funds. In part I of this series, I looked at the full costs of alternative energy and climate change mutual funds.  I concluded that they were quite expensive, ranging from over 2% per year, to almost 6%.  In a stock market that has historically produced returns of about 10.5% per year, but has been flat for the last decade, even 2.5% in expenses per year would have resuted in a substantial loss of value.  In order to make up for the drag on returns, these mutual funds will...

Shares of Mechanical Technology and Medis Technology Purchased

I purchased shares of Mechanical Technology Inc (MKTY) and Medis Technologies Ltd. (MDTL) this morning for the mutual fund and also my personal portfolio. Both of these companies are working on the miniaturization of liquid fuel cells so that they can power portable electronic equipment like cell phones and laptop computers. Both companies have also secured contracts from the military to research portable fuel cells for military applications. Both companies announced earnings recently and still show no signs of becoming profitable in the near future. However, they have both made progress on trimming their losses. I feel that...

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...

Alternative Energy Funds: 2014 Review

By Harris Roen Mutual Funds (MFs) Falling fossil fuel prices have hampered 2014 returns for alternative energy mutual funds. Returns are slightly down on average for the past three-month, with a third of funds showing losses. Monthly gains fared worse, with only 2 out of 14 funds in the black. One-year returns are flat on average, and range from a high of 8.3% for Gabelli SRI Green AAA (SRIGX), to a low of -14.3% for Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy (GAAEX)…   Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) Alternative energy ETFs had a wide range of returns for 2014,...

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% ...

Alternative Energy and Climate Change Mutual Funds, Part I

Tom Konrad CFA Understanding the costs of green energy mutual funds. It's been a bit over a year since I last looked at the mutual funds in the Clean Energy sector.  Each year, I comb through their  portfolios for new ideas on where to invest my own funds and those of my green-minded clients, with the added bonus of being able to help readers make better decisions about which fund, if any, is right for them. This year, I looked at the eight mutual funds from AltEnergyStocks' green mutual fund list.  In order of fund size,...

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...

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%...