Funds bought a lot of solar stocks this past quarter

Funds bought a lot of solar stocks this past quarter

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Institutional investing spiked in five of the major solar stocks. Does that suggest a rebound for the sector?

An environmentally themed startup is looking to remote cellphone chargers as a way to interest Americans in solar power, where the rollout of new firms in the space has been rocky, to say the least. 

Depending on when you invested in the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN), one of the largest funds tracking solar power, you could have taken a pretty considerable loss. The average return over the last three years is -9%

You also could have made a fortune if you bought at the end of 2012, after which the stock went on a 123% run. 

Solar power is a highly volatile enterprise, in part because it is strongly affected by local and regional politics. For instance, solar firms are currently suing the State of Arizona over new taxes levied on the industry, and one company, Solar Reserve, is ending its relationship with Australia, blaming a "hostile" government. 

However, it seems like the price point on solar panels has improved consistently even while investor enthusiasm wavered—enough so that many are now saying they install panels for economic, rather than environmental reasons. 

Elon Musk's Solar City (SCTY) has also recently purchased a company that makes much more efficient panels, with plans to expand factory space in New York. He's naturally bullish on solar and thinks it will soon be "way cheaper" than using fossil fuels. 

With that in mind, we decided to screen publicly traded solar stocks and found that many—almost half—of the stocks tracked by the Guggenheim Solar ETF experienced spikes in institutional investing this quarter

This usually means that fund managers are bullish on the stock. Do you think they're right? Use the list below to begin your analysis and let us know what you think in the comments. 

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

 

1. First Solar, Inc. (FSLR, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Manufactures and sells solar modules using a thin-film semiconductor technology. Market cap at $6.96B, most recent closing price at $69.50.  

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 6.4M shares, which represents about 8.74% of the company's float of 73.26M shares. 

Major holder: FMR, LLC at a 7.5% stake. 

 

2. JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (JKS, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture and sale of solar power products in China and internationally. Market cap at $924.01M, most recent closing price at $30.01.  

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 4.4M shares, which represents about 22.17% of the company's float of 19.85M shares.

Major holder: Andor Capital Management LLC at a 3.24% stake.

 

3. JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (JASO, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the design, development, manufacture, and sale of photovoltaic solar cells and solar products, which convert sunlight into electricity in the People's Republic of China. Market cap at $501.41M, most recent closing price at $10.42.  

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 5.5M shares, which represents about 18.52% of the company's float of 29.69M shares. 

Major holder: Empire Capital Management at a .84% stake.

 

4. Daqo New Energy Corp. (DQ, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells polysilicon in China. Market cap at $269.9M, most recent closing price at $30.19.  

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 240.3K shares, which represents about 5.06% of the company's float of 4.75M shares. 

Major holders: Siguler Guff Advisers at a .59% stake.

 

5. Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AEIS, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Designs, manufactures, sells, and supports industrial power conversion products that transform power into various usable forms. Market cap at $791.37M, most recent closing price at $19.25.  

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 2.1M shares, which represents about 5.47% of the company's float of 38.38M shares. 

Major holders: T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. at a 7.24% stake. 

 

(List compiled by James Dennin. Monthly returns sourced from Zacks Investment Research, institutional data sourced from Fidelity. All other data sourced from Finviz.)

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