First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) did not just have a great day. The solar leader managed to have massive upside guidance due to a large project and this was on top of new efficiencies being announced earlier in the day. 24/7 Wall St. wanted to see just how this impacted the clean tech and solar exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with large First Solar positions.
As First Solar surged so much in one day, we cannot help but assume that many investors and traders are going to be looking for which ETFs and other pools of investments that they may have missed. Some will look for short sales and some will look for buying opportunities. That being said, First Solar shares lifted just about anything and everything tied to solar and alternative energy in the realm of ETFs and related shares.
First Solar shares closed up 45% at $39.35 and the stock hit a new 52-week high of $41.00 on Tuesday. The trading volume of 39.7 million shares had to be aided by short sellers covering their bad bets and grabbing their throats. That 39 million shares is a near-term record in trading volume. With that much trading volume in one day, you can imagine that the solar bulls and the solar bears are going to be out fighting for blood for the rest of this week.
We have identified the top alternative energy and solar ETFs for investors. So that you would not get tricked into reading a name alone, we also included a brief description to show which are solar-only and which ones include foreign issues.
Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (NYSEMKT: GEX) run by Van Eck aims to track the overall performance of a global universe of listed companies engaged in the alternative energy industry. It has only $50 million in assets and First Solar has only 3.34% of the assets and is ranked as the number 12 position. It is still the largest solar stock in the ETF and the ETF has many solar players behind it. This has very thin volume and is up 3.3% on the day, and we would point out that many stocks are NOT US-listed shares.
Guggenheim Solar (NYSEMKT: TAN) is a pure-play ETF for solar run by Guggenheim and it has many non-US listed stocks. First Solar is the largest weighting here with 14.5% of the fund’s $57 million in assets under management. With a weighting this high, which likely going to be understated if prices remain static, the ETF was up 15% at $18.15 right before the closing bell.
The iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index (NASDAQ: ICLN) under BlackRock has only about $27 million in assets and is thinly traded. First Solar ranks as number-9 in the portfolio with a 4.88% weight in the fund. This iShares ETF has many foreign issues as well and was up 5.7% at $7.74 late in the day on thin volume.
Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSEMKT: KWT) is also run by Van Eck but just tracks solar stocks and has thin trading volume with only about $11 million in assets. First Solar leads this ETF with a 9.6% weighting. That alone helped it trade up 12.5% to $40.54 on the day.
There is also the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (NYSEMKT: PBW) which was up 4.5% at $4.44 late in the day, but this is under Invesco PowerShares. The ETF is composed of companies that focus on greener and generally renewable sources of energy and technologies facilitating cleaner energy. First Solar is ranked all the way down at #17 in weightings at only 2.63% but the ETF aims to keep exposure of these global players at 3% or so max. At least it traded 800,000 shares or so shortly before the close.
First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index (NASDAQ: QCLN) has thin trading volume with only about $25 million in assets under the fund but shares were up 4% at $11.26 right before the closing bell. First Solar ranks only as #7 in weighting with 4.13% of the total fund, but it is the largest solar stock in the fund.