Ten Clean Energy Stocks That Outperformed in 2010

by: Tom Konrad, CFA

My 10 annual stock picks have outperformed their clean energy benchmark for the third year running.

Each year, I publish a list of 10 renewable energy, energy efficiency and cleantech stocks that I feel will outperform their peers in the coming year. In both 2008 and 2009, my picks have beaten their industry benchmark, the PowerShares Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF (NYSEARCA:PBW), the most widely held industry ETF. and the one that I recommend for making short-term bets on the clean energy industry. The 2010 list is here.

This year has been an interesting one for my picks, with one pick - C&D Technologies (CHHP.PK) - going through a bankruptcy reorganization from which it just emerged, and another pick - Portec Rail Products (PRPX) - the subject of a repeatedly delayed friendly takeover that took 10 months due to lawsuits and negotiations with antitrust authorities. The takeover was finally consummated in December.

This year I offered two alternative lists, one of a full 10 stocks, and a second that used two clean energy subsector ETFs to substitute for three of the stocks each. The First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index Fund (NASDAQ:GRID) was my stand-in for the three electric grid stocks in the portfolio, while the Powershares Global Progressive Transport (PTRP) stood in for the three transportation stocks in the portfolio. Unfortunately, PTRP also ceased trading in December; the fund sponsor closed it due to lack of investor interest (although certainly not for lack of trying to drum up interest on my part.)

Here is a chart of the two portfolios:

The inner ring is the portfolio using the two ETFs, while the outer ring represents the full portfolio.


For the year from December 27 to December 27, the portfolio using the ETFs was up 6.9%, while the 10 stock portfolio was up 2.8%. For comparison the industry benchmark PBW fell 6.6%, and the broad stock market, as represented by the Russell 2000 index was up 13.6%.

Click to enlarge
Performance chart
The individual stock performance is below:

Security (Ticker) % Change % Yield
General Cable (NYSE:BGC) 9.34%
MasTec (NYSE:MTZ) 15.95%
C&D Technologies (CHHP.PK) -83.67%
New Flyer Industries (OTC:NFYIF) 17.44% 12.08%
FristGroup PLC (FGP.L) (in US$) -6.73% 7.41%
Portec Rail Products (PRPX) 19.46% 2.35%
Waterfurnace, Inc. (OTC:WFIFF) 2.90% 3.17%
Linear Technology Corp (NASDAQ:LLTC) 13.19% 2.99%
Flir Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLIR) -7.48%
Waste Management (NYSE:WM) 8.47% 3.73%

The number for Portec assumes that the cash payment from the takeover was reinvested in the benchmark when received.

Overall, my long time favorite stock New Flyer was the biggest winner, with an almost 30% total gain, while the biggest loser was C&D Technologies. That company will probably recover a bit more now that they have a much stronger balance sheet with the bankruptcy restructuring behind them.

I'm running a little late this year putting together my 10 picks for 2011, but you should see them on AltEnergyStocks.com during the first week in January.

Disclosure: Long CHHP, NFYIF, WFIFF, LLTC.

Disclaimer: The information and trades provided here are for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of these securities. Investing involves substantial risk and you should evaluate your own risk levels before you make any investment. Past results are not an indication of future performance. Please take the time to read the full disclaimer here.