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Solar ETFs Struggle To Regain Footing

Solar ETFs Struggle To Regain Footing

Solar stocks have experienced a disappointing year, filled with volatile price swings and sub-par returns. The decline in traditional energy prices has likely played a role in suppressing the gains in this industry group as well.

Guggenheim Solar ETF

As a result of these factors, the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE: TAN) is struggling to regain positive momentum after a sharp drop in September and October that erased all of its gains in 2014. TAN tracks 30 global solar companies, including hedge fund favorites SunEdison Inc (NYSE: SUNE), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) and SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ: SCTY).

This clean energy ETF is dominated by U.S.-based holdings, with China and Hong Kong solar stocks making up a significant portion of the underlying companies as well.

Related Link: 3 Solar Stocks See Surge In Short Interest

The company sizes primarily fall into the small and mid-cap categories. This ETF currently has more than $300 million in total assets and charges an expense ratio of 0.70 percent.

So far this year, TAN is clinging to a gain of 6 percent after having risen as much as 40 percent in early March.


Despite the sharp drop earlier in the month, TAN has gained more than 12 percent in just two short weeks and may continue to attract interest if stocks continue their recent strength.

This fast-moving industry typically entices aggressive investors interested in opportunities for out-sized gains. However, the same qualities that make solar stocks rising-growth stars also introduce greater risks.

Market Vectors Solar Energy (ETF)

Another competitor in this space is the Market Vectors Solar Energy (ETF) (NYSE: KWT), which provides exposure to a slightly broader base of 34 global companies. While KWT has followed a similar price path as TAN this year, it is still trading in the red for the year and has not experienced the same bounce in recent weeks.

With several of the top holdings in both KWT and TAN set to report earnings in the near future, these ETFs have the potential to add to their gains and ultimately finish the year on a positive note.


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