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投资: Clean Energy ETFs for Green Investors  

2007-06-19 00:05:33|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Clean Energy ETFs for Green Investors

Here's a look at some of the newest exchange-traded funds thatgive investors exposure to alternative energy companies

Producing electric power from the wind or sun has always seemedlike a great idea, but in reality it often turns out to beimpractical and difficult to earn a profit.


So it goes as well for investors. Short of owning your ownwindmill, there have been precious few options for those seeking tocapitalize on the current groundswell of interest inalternative-energy and environmental technologies. Dozens ofpublicly listed companies engage in all sorts of ventures fromgeothermal power plants to hydrogen fuel cells, yet buying theirshares means betting on a single company's approach.


That's highly risky, even for those with a strong understandingof the company's technology and competitive position. While thereare numerous mutual funds that are marketed as "sociallyresponsible investments," they usually don't target alternativeenergy per se and often own shares of larger companies that havenothing to do with alternative energy.

Recognizing the problem, Wall Street is moving to satisfyinvestor cravings for a way to play the alternative energy "story"with a new crop of exchange-traded funds that give investorsexposure to alternative energy companies in a straightforward,cost-effective way, yet without the risk of putting all their eggsin one basket. Several such ETFs have been launched in 2007, andmore are in development.

Futures on the Way

As of mid-2007 there are at least five ETFs heavily focused onalternative energy and a host of new indexes that let investorstrack the performance of the industry as a whole as well as ofsubsegments like energy generation or storage foreigncompanies.????

In early May, mutual fund company Van Eck Global's GlobalAlternative Energy ETF (GEX) started trading on the New York StockExchange. The fund tracks the Ardour Global Index (Extra Liquid),composed of stocks in 30 publicly traded companies engaged inalternative energy production. The New York Mercantile Exchange isplanning to list a futures contract tied to the Ardour index aswell.

Van Eck's new ETF will have to compete with the granddaddy ofalternative energy ETFs, PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy(PBW). It tracks the WilderHill Clean Energy index.The index is composed of 40 different companies involved inalternative energy production or technology, none of whichrepresents more than 4% of the total. The Clean Energy Portfoliohas a market capitalization of almost $1 billion, and the ChicagoClimate Futures Exchange plans to list futures on the index laterin 2007.

Clean Is In

PowerShares also markets another ETF based on a WilderHillindex, the Progressive Energy Portfolio (PUW), which includes companies whose productslessen the environmental impact of existing fuel sources andimproves the efficiency of their use. It started trading inOctober, 2006, and has a market capitalization of about $30million. PowerShares has a third alternative energy-related ETF,the Cleantech Portfolio (PZD), which tracks the Cleantech Index publishedby Cleantech Venture Network. It tracks about 50 companies,including alternative energy as well as water resources andpurification, advanced materials, and logistics and has a marketcapitalization of about $22 million.

The First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge ETF (QCLN), which started trading in February, 2007,covers five subsectors of the alternative energy industry:renewable power generation, renewable fuels, energy storage andconversion, energy intelligence, and advanced energy-relatedmaterials. It has a market capitalization of about $20 million.

Several other alternative energy indices have also beenannounced that may lead to new ETFs in the future. New York-basedinvestment bank Jefferies & Co. announced the creation of aseries of three clean technology indexes (one composite, as well asone focused on energy generation and another on energystorage).

Scully is a reporter for Standard & Poor'sEditorial Operations

 
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