'Go Green' if you want to get a greener and a cleaner
tomorrow, is the global mantra. This is no less pertinent for the
energy sector that utilizes mainly coal and other 'dirty'
fuels to generate electricity.
In the wake of environmental concerns, renewable sources of
energy have come into prominence. While market conditions were
not in favor of alternative sources for the last two years, 2013
has been a year of stimulation for investors in the clean
energy space. (Read:
Go Green with These 3 Clean Energy ETFs
Global warming and high carbon and greenhouse gas emission
issues have lately resulted in rising popularity of clean or
renewable energy sources, which are the world's best available
alternative to fossil fuels. Clean energy comes from natural
resources, which are continually replenished, such as sunlight,
rain, wind, etc.
High gas and oil prices have also brought the clean energy
space into spotlight. Moreover, Tesla Motors' (
) incredible surge this year has benefited some of the clean
that give a high weighting to that stock in their basket (read:
Clean Energy ETFs: The Real Bull Market?
From an investment point of view, 2013 has seen many investors
pile into the space. Despite a few hiccups, the overall trends
favor the space. Nearly, all the funds in the clean energy space
have had a great run this year.
Furthermore, many companies have actually seen pretty solid
performances to start 2013; finally beating out more traditional
energy firms in year-to-date terms.
However, investing in clean energy is quite risky and
especially so from an individual security perspective. For this
reason, a clean energy ETF approach could be the way to go, as
this still allows for a bet on clean energy but with hopefully a
more diversified and lower risk technique (read
Behind the Rebound in Energy ETFs
If investors like this idea, it should be noted that there are
a plethora of ETFs tracking this segment currently on the market,
each with their own set of pros and cons. For this article, we
have selected three of the best performing clean energy ETFs that
focus on the broad space, as any of these could be big
beneficiaries from a continued positive trend in this intriguing
corner of the stock market.
First Trust Nasdaq Clean Energy Green Energy
Launched in Feb 2007, this product follows a benchmark of
clean energy companies, providing exposure to about 36 firms in
total. It charges a reasonable 60 basis points a year in fees.
The fund has an AUM of $61.2 million and trades in an average
volume of 52,000 shares a day.
The fund holds medium-cap (50%), small-cap (35%) and micro-cap
(14%) stocks. It has a maximum exposure in North America and very
low exposure in Asia and Europe. The ETF is concentrated in its
top ten holdings as these contribute about 61% to the fund. Tesla
Motors is the top holding with about 11.4% of assets.
This ETF has a solid 52-week price performance of 54.10%.
Currently QCLN has a Zacks ETF Rank of 3 or 'Hold' with a high
risk outlook (read:
Clean Energy ETF Investing 101
Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF
Launched in May 2007, GEX tracks the Ardour Global Index,
focusing on companies that are primarily engaged in the business
of alternative energy. The fund holds about 31 stocks in its
basket, charging investors 62 basis points a year in fees for the
Apart from major holdings in the U.S., the product gives a
good international exposure to Europe and some Asian countries.
Industrials, Information Technology and Utilities take the top
three spots, adding 84% in sector holdings. Further, the fund's
top 10 holdings jointly contribute 64% to the fund. Tesla
Motors is the top holding, with more than 13.5% of asset
GEX has also had a strong 52-week price performance of 58.62%.
The product has an AUM of $80.8 million.
PowerShares Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF
Launched in Mar 2003, PBW tracks the Wilderhill Clean Energy
Index and invests almost 90% in companies related to cleaner
energy. The fund charges a hefty 70 bps in fees and holds 52
The product is tilted more towards growth stocks and is well
diversified across various sectors. Information Technology takes
the top spot with a 43% allocation followed by Industrials
(20.43%) and Materials (11%).
The top 10 holdings jointly contribute 30% towards the fund.
The ETF leads the space with an AUM of $186.2 million (see:
Behind the Surge in the Wind Power ETF
PBW has rewarded investors with its solid returns of 29.4%
over the past one year.
The Bottom Line
The alternative energy sector has been performing extremely
well, crushing the broad market in the past few months by a
pretty wide margin. By and large, most of the gains have actually
happened in the past few months. Strong data from solar companies
and bullish reports from emerging companies have carried the
sector sharply higher.
Should we or shouldn't we be optimistic about this incredible
run can now only be guessed, but a pullback from these lofty
levels-due to some short-term profit taking-seems likely. Still,
one must remember that many alternative energy ETFs have a long
way to go to get back to all-time highs, so there still could be
plenty of room to run in this intriguing, but often overlooked,
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment
Research? Today, you can download
7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days
Click to get this free report >>
MKT VEC-GLBL AE (GEX): ETF Research Reports
PWRSH-W CL EGY (PBW): ETF Research Reports
NASDAQ-CL EDG G (QCLN): ETF Research Reports
TESLA MOTORS (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks
Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for
the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report