Alternative Energy ETFs Mixed Ahead of Election


In his nearly four years in office, President Obama has been a strong supporter of alternative energy. Whether it has been solar, wind or related far, the Obama Administration has looked to foster job growth and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fuel sources by bolstering this country's alternative energy industry.

The results are up for debate and with less than 24 hours until Election Day, the results probably are not the issue. The issue for investors is the performance of alternative energy stocks and ETFs leading up to and immediately following the election. Simply put, some traders might be betting that alternative energy ETFs are credible Obama reelection plays.

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What happens with these funds after Tuesday will obviously be more telling, but on Monday, the price action is mixed. Shares of First Solar (NASDAQ:FLSR), the largest U.S.-based solar company, are up more than three percent today. However, the First Solar's surge is somewhat muted at the ETF level.

The Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSE:KWT), which allocates 12.5 percent of its weight to First Solar, is higher by just 0.16 percent in midday trading. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN), the larger of the two solar funds, devotes 7.7 percent of its weight to First Solar and is up about 1.1 percent. To this point in the trading day, volume is thin in both funds.

Neither KWT nor TAN have performed well since President Obama took office. Since late January 2009, TAN is off almost 79 percent while KWT is down nearly 84 percent. Both ETFs enginereed reverse splits earlier this year to artificially inflate their share prices.

Wind enegy ETFs have been another disappointment since President Obama moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The PowerShares Global Wind Energy Portfolio (NASDAQ:PWND) has lost 52 percent since late January 2009 and the fund is off 0.3 percent today.

Funds that offer a more broad approach to alternative energy are modestly higher on the day. The Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (NYSE:GEX) and the PowerShares Global Clean Energy Portfolio (NYSE:PBD) are both in the green. Both funds offer exposure to companies ranging from Cree (NASDAQ:CREE), Brazilian ethanol producer Cosan (NYSE:CZZ) and electric car maker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

The rival iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index Fund (NASDAQ:ICLN) is down fractionally today. ICLN, PBD and PWND all trade with single-digit price tags while GEX barely resides above $10.

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