North Coast Solar Stocks

August 21, 2008

Solar ETFs Warm Up As Oil Prices Recover

Filed under: GEX, KWT, LDK, PBW, PUW, QCLN, SPWR, STP, TAN — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 6:28 pm

Thursday August 21, 6:28 pm ET
Trang Ho

Solar energy ETFs heated up this week as companies beat Wall Street earnings estimates, and oil prices climbed higher.

So far this week, Claymore/MAC Global Solar Index (TAN) rose 6.7% to 25.73. But it hangs 16% below its high.

Market Vectors Solar Energy (KWT) rose 7.3% to 39.31 and trades 13% below its high. They both cleared their 10-week averages for the first time in two months. They debuted in April with similar holdings and since have formed similar chart patterns. The former owns a slightly higher Relative Strength Rating of 60 vs. 54 for the latter.

Market Vectors-Global Alternative Energy (GEX) has the highest RS Rating among alternative energy ETFs. It rose 6.1% this week to 52.01 and cleared both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge U.S. (QCLN), PowerShares WilderHill Progressive Energy (PUW) and PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW) are trading far below their long-term averages and so their charts still look bearish. They’ve trended in a sideways range since the beginning of July.

Strong Global Demand

Suntech Power (STP), a major holding in all of these except the WilderHill ETF, blasted 19% in two days to 44.70 in heavy volume. The Chinese solar cell maker increased earnings 41% from the year-ago period to 41 cents a share, 28% above estimates. Sales jumped 51% to $480 million. Earnings popped 48% to 75% the three prior quarters. Sales leaped 76% to 137% over those periods.

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March 29, 2008

Clean-Energy Funds

Filed under: FSLR, GEX, PBD, PBW — Tags: , — Jason @ 12:00 pm

By ROB WHERRY
March 30, 2008

First Solar (FSLR) has been one of the hottest stocks of the past 12 months. In 2007, this solar- panel manufacturer saw a 40-fold increase in profit, and euphoric investors have celebrated by pushing it to a recent $229 a share from a 52-week low of $51.50.

It wasn’t too long ago that so-called clean-energy stocks like First Solar were considered fringe players. But as consumers and even chief executives grow tired of paying record gas and oil prices and contemplating the ramifications of global warming, there’s been a sea change in the attitude toward these alternative investments.

The exchange-traded funds industry has long seen that potential. Over the past three years, it’s launched a half-dozen funds that give shareholders exposure to solar and wind companies, energy-technology firms and infrastructure plays. For the most part, these funds have been decent investments. PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW), the grandfather of the group, returned an impressive 59% last year.

These funds have not been immune to the economic concerns weighing on the stock market, however. After its impressive gains last year, PowerShares WilderHill is down about 28% this year, while PowerShares Global Clean Energy fund (PBD) has fallen 19% and Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy (GEX) is down 21%

Nevertheless, the industry is still attracting a wide range of investors. Some, like J.D. Steinhilber, founder of Agile Investing in Nashville, have built small 3% positions to help diversify larger portfolios.

Of course, there are risks that have scared off many investors. Even though the clean-energy industry is just now coming into its own, many stock pickers have already discovered it. Despite a recent retreat in prices, some of these companies still look pricey.

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