Ebay: A Sustainable Social Distancing Stock

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Of the few survivors of the dot com bust, Ebay (EBAY) is a perennial also-ran.  It owned the market for consumer-to-consumer (C2C) transactions in 2000, but has since repeatedly lost market share.  Nevertheless, the company remains a profitable business that enables the sustainable reuse of easy to ship items while returning cash to investors. Note: My supporters on Patreon got an early look at this article.  Want to support my work and get previews of my writing?  Join them here. The Competition for Sellers In the early 2000s, Ebay lost sellers to Amazon's (AMZN) marketplace, which had the...

Patreon

Dear Loyal Readers, We are exploring different options at generating revenue particularly during the effects of the Covid-19 shutdown. I'd like to keep on maintaining this website at at least the current level of 1-3 articles a month, and to do that, I've set up a Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/tomkonrad, which will allow you to support my work for $5 or $10 a month. I'm still working out exactly what benefits to offer Patrons... I'll start with giving you a preview of articles before they are shown on the website, plus I'll respond directly questions from Patrons who sign up at the $10/month...
10 clean energy stocks for 2020- total return through March.

Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Trades

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Four weeks ago, I predicted that the 12% market correction we had seen would turn into a true bear market.  Bear markets are often defined as a decline of more than 20% for the major market indexes, but I find it more useful to focus on long term changes in investor sentiment. What I did not predict was just how severe the effect of the coronovirus shutdown would be on the economy.  I thought we would need the combined of the effect of the shutdown and investors re-assessing their risk tolerance to bring us into full...
vaccine

Amyris Launches Leading Hand Sanitizer and Receives Initial Positive Result for Vaccine Adjuvant

by Jim Lane In California comes the news that synthetic biology leader Amyris (AMRS) is stepping out to help fight COVID-19. Amyris may be more well known for its sustainable ingredients for the Health & Wellness, Clean Beauty and Flavors & Fragrances markets, but as you all know, things have changed a lot over the last few months and Amyris is now launching a hand sanitizer to help address the high demand triggered by COVID-19. Additionally, the company has completed initial testing of a leading vaccine adjuvant. Amyris is leveraging its existing capabilities to fast track the availability of a safe...
hand sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer: Salvation for Ethanol Producers?

by Jim Lane If you’ve not heard, NuGenTec is looking for Distillers to help supply Ethanol for Hand Sanitizers in California! We have two automated bottling lines waiting for ethanol to produce 8oz and 16oz gel type hand sanitizers, they write. You can learn more here. And as we reported this morning, Aemetis (AMTX) is one of those companies jumping into the market, even as transport fuel demand falls off, driving fuel ethanol prices into an all-time low range of around $0.70 per gallon. The shortage is real If you’ve been trying to buy hand-sanitizer, it’s been hard to find. Here in Digestville, we’ve...
powerbouy

Ocean Power Technologies: Alot Under the Water

by Debra Fiakas, CFA After years of promises Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT:  Nasdaq) is finally realizing revenue from its ocean wave power innovations.  Sales in the quarter ending January 2020, was $725,000  -  more than double the same quarter in the previous fiscal year.  Driving the top-line is the sale of one of the company’s signature PowerBuoy ocean wave power generation system to Enel Group (ENEL: BIT; ESOCF:  OTC), Italy’s premier energy company. Some investors might find Enel an unlikely customer for a renewable energy device like the PowerBuoy.  Designed to convert the mechanical energy in ocean waves to electrical energy, the PowerBuoy has been years under development.  Ocean Power has long touted the potential in...

Trump Administration Flip-Flops On Oil Refinery Waivers Again, Farm Groups Protest Again

by Jim Lane In Washington, what must have become a weary if vigilant posse of the nation’s biofuel and farm advocates are out on the hustings again this week, over a fresh attack on the US Renewable Fuel Standard, this one led by officials in the Trump Administration, if a story reported by Bloomberg stands up against scrutiny. What has been described as a “misinformation campaign spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz” is seeking to overturn a unanimous court decision that would halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard.   The backstory In a unanimous panel, the...
returns Dec 31 2019-Feb 29 2020

Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Navigating the Storm

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA This monthly update for my Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio is in two parts.  I published my thoughts on the current market turmoil on March 2nd.  You can find them here.  I'm not even going to get into the Fed slashing interest rates like they were a furniture warehouse going out of business on March 3rd except to say that apparently they are more afraid of the effects of covid-19 on the economy than they are of appearing to panic. You can see overall performance for January and February in the following chart.  Not that...

Correction, or Bear Market?

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA On February 21st, I was helping an investment advisor I consult with pick stocks for a new client's portfolio.  He lamented that there were not enough stocks at good valuations. This is one of the hardest parts of being an investment advisor: a client expects the advisor to build a portfolio of stocks which should do well, but sometimes, especially in late stage bull markets, most stocks are overvalued.  I reminded him, "The Constitution does not guarantee anyone the right to good stock picks."  He agreed, but he still had to tell his client that...
TERP BEP price spread

Why is Terraform Power Trading at a Premium to the Brookfield Renewable Merger Value?

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA A reader asked: Read your recent article on Pattern Energy (PEGI). Great summary and thoughts. Would like to ask your view on TERP potential takeover by BEP (via shares swap) and whether you reckon the recent run-up on TERP is too excessive? It's a good question, and one that Robbert Manders on Seeking Alpha did a thorough analysis of here.  For the details of the merger, I refer you to his work. While his analysis is careful and complete, I disagree with his conclusion.  TERP shares are not trading at a significant premium to the merger value.  The reason is...

Should Pattern Energy Shareholders Vote Against the Merger?

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA This morning, hedge fund Water Island Capital called on Pattern Energy (PEGI) Shareholders to vote against the merger with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Water Island claims the merger is undervalued compared to the recently surging prices of other Yieldcos, and that PEGI would be trading at over $30 given current valuations.  There are not a lot of other Yieldcos left, especially if we eliminate those with their own special circumstances.  These are Terraform Power (TERP) which is subject to its own buyout agreement with Brookfield Renewable Energy (BEP), and Clearway (CWEN and CWEN/A) where...
green swan

Green swan, Black swan: No matter as long as it reduces stranded spending

by Prashant Vaze, The Climate bonds Initiative In January, authors from several institutions under the aegis of BiS, published The Green Swan Central banking and financial stability in the age of climate change setting out their take on the epistemological foundations for, and obstacles against, central banks acting to mitigate climate change risk. The book’s early chapters provide a cogent and up-to-date analysis of climate change’s profound and irreversible impacts on ecosystems and society. The authors are critical of overly simplistic solutions such as relying on just carbon taxes. They also recognize the all-too-evident deficits in global policy to respond to the threat. In short, they accept the need for central banks to act. The Two Arguments  The paper makes two powerful arguments setting out the challenges central banks face using their usual mode of working. Firstly, climate change’s impact on financial systems is an unknowable unknown – a...
10 for 20 jan returns

Divestment v Coronavirus: Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2020 January Update

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA January 2020- where do I start?  A year of market-shaking news in a month. The Brink of War The month started off with a literal bang when Trump decided that a good way to distract the public from his impeachment trial would be to try to start a war with Iran by assassinating one of Iran's top military leaders, Qassem Suleimani.  A week later, the world and markets heaved a collective sigh of relief when Iran decided that their honor had been satisfied with two missile strikes on US bases.  While Trump reported no casualties, Iran's Foreign...
grid storage diagram

Energy Storage as Transmission Explained

by Blackridge Research The latest trend is that power transmission companies around the world are increasingly looking at energy storage technology to defer or replace transmission system upgrades. How this works is energy storage is placed along a transmission line and operated to inject or absorb power, mimicking transmission line flows. Going with names like “virtual transmission” in Australia and “GridBooster” in Germany, projects totaling over 3 GW of capacity are poised to increase system efficiency and reliability across the world. Storage as transmission offers an array of benefits over traditional transmission infrastructure. They are faster to deploy, have smaller footprint,...
crops

Marrone Bio Innovations: Answers for Agricultural Angst

by Debra Fiakas, CFA The world needs more food.   At least more of the food produced in the world’s fields needs to end up in the mouths of humans and their animal friends.  According to the United Nations, the world’s farmers produce enough food to feed everyone, yet over 800 million people routinely go hungry.  This is due in part to the ancient and ongoing practice of selecting plants for high yield.  The consequence is a selection of highly homogenous food crops.  There are thousands of edible plants growing on Planet Earth, but only a dozen crops account for 75% of all human calories.  Lack of...
Cayman Water

Water Stocks in the Americas

by Debra Fiakas, CFA The post “Water:  Invisible Crisis” introduced a new series on water supply in Latin America, describing the lack of access to quality water despite a bountiful supply of rainfall and snow melt.  As the series has unfolded we have learned that water supply in Latin America is largely a local government undertaking.  Investment opportunities are limited to water management companies that sign on to operate government-owned infrastructure or water treatment solution providers. Water supply to the north has inched further into the commercial realm.  A discussion of water investment would not be completed without a look at private water suppliers in the...