Investing 101: Green Stocks Being Snapped Up By Institutional Investors

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On the topic of green investments, we took a universe of “Green” stocks – those closely exposed to alternative energy and environmental issues – and searched for those who have seen significant net buying from institutional investors over the current quarter.

Institutional investors  are also known as "big money" investors or managers. They represent big pools of money such as investment banks, pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, endowment funds, etc. When they invest in stocks, they can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars or more at one time. These transactions, called  "block trades,"  can have a significant effect on share prices.

Regular investors pay attention to what institutional investors do because it is easy enough to assume that the big money managers know what they are doing -- or at the very least know more than the average investor.

This is why these investors are also sometimes referred to as  "smart money". If institutional investors start investing in a company, regular investors can assume that some of the most talented analysts and money managers expect the company's share prices to increase over time.

Note, investors should never blindly trust analysts or institutional investors or anybody else. Use information on institutional investing with other research before making any investing decisions.

Insider buying is represented as a percentage of shares float.  Shares float  is described as the total number of shares available for trading. It is calculated by subtracting restricted shares from outstanding shares.

Our top finds are listed below. Do you think "big money” is on the right track? Use the list and data below to start your own analysis.

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Data sorted by % of institutional purchases relative to shares float.

1. Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA): Auto Manufacturers Industry. Market cap of $2.92B. Current price at $28.97. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 18.8M, equivalent to 40.46% of the company's 46.46M share float. The stock has gained 7.02% over the last year.

2. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (YGE): Semiconductor Circuits Industry. Market cap of $1.18B. Current price at $7.12. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 10.2M, equivalent to 11.41% of the company's 89.36M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.99). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 16.69% over the last week.

3. IXYS Corp. (IXYS): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $474.38M. Current price at $14.63. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.2M, equivalent to 9.01% of the company's 24.41M share float. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.55), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has had a good month, gaining 13.07%.

4. Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (CLNE): Gas Utilities Industry. Market cap of $922.34M. Current price at $15.16. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 4.1M, equivalent to 8.47% of the company's 48.39M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 27.72% (equivalent to 9.6 days of average volume). The stock has lost 24.47% over the last year.

5. Uranium Energy Corp. (UEC): Industrial Metals & Minerals Industry. Market cap of $231.47M. Current price at $3.26. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.4M, equivalent to 8.06% of the company's 66.97M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.2). The stock has lost 23.87% over the last year.

6. Westport Innovations Inc. (WPRT): Pollution & Treatment Controls Industry. Market cap of $1.14B. Current price at $25.86. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.4M, equivalent to 7.46% of the company's 32.18M share float. Exhibiting strong upside momentum--currently trading 14.63% above its SMA20, 11.73% above its SMA50, and 29.9% above its SMA200. The stock has had a good month, gaining 17.74%.

7. Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (GPRE): Specialty Chemicals Industry. Market cap of $420.90M. Current price at $11.32. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.5M, equivalent to 7.26% of the company's 20.66M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.21). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 6.35% over the last week.

8. Newpark Resources Inc. (NR): Oil & Gas Equipment & Services Industry. Market cap of $793.62M. Current price at $8.99. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 4.6M, equivalent to 5.17% of the company's 89.03M share float. The stock has gained 17.54% over the last year.

9. First Solar, Inc. (FSLR): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $10.94B. Current price at $123.96. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 3.0M, equivalent to 5.11% of the company's 58.70M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 39.34% (equivalent to 11.75 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 11.28%.

(List compiled by Becca Lipman)



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks


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