Friday, December 5, 2014

Profits blowing in the wind

After writing the first installment, "Death", in my Death, Destruction, Poverty and Addiction series I had intended to write 3 more installments, Destruction, Poverty and Addiction. I'll still try to get to that before the year is out. Meanwhile, today I'll share an interesting alternate investment I stumbled onto.
It all began, as the story goes, when I read an article in the LA Times about alleged pollution of a river by Duke Energy. That got me curious about how much money was to be made in energy stocks that make their profits while despoiling the environment.
So I logged onto my favorite stock analysis site, the Google finance site. It's intuitively designed and simple, only as complicated as necessary to perform the task.
I looked into Duke Energy and found that it is not doing so well. It offers a healthy dividend of almost 4 percent but has been trailing the S&P500 significantly over the last 5 years.

One of the nice things about the Google site is that below the data for the company in question it provides a list of related companies. These would also be American energy companies of similar size. I clicked through the list and this is what I found.
Scana Corporation - also trailing the S&P
Southern company - trailing even further
American Electric Power Company - trailing
PG&E - trailing very badly
Teco Energy - awful
Intergrys Energy Group - (do people get paid to come up with awful names like "Integrys"?) still trailing
Dominion Resources - still trailing, though not by much
Starting to see a pattern here? It's looking like Energy is not the place to have been investing for the last five years. In fact, I was beginning to get bored at this point. But then I saw the name of the next energy company and thought, "What the hell, give it a shot and look at one more. After all it's got a nice progressive sounding name."
NextEraEnergy - What do you know! It's pretty consistently stayed a step ahead of the S&P and offers a dividend yield of almost 3% to boot.

So, okay, what's different about Next Era Energy? I quote.
"It is the generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun. It owns and operates approximately 17% of the installed base of United States wind power production capacity and operates approximately 14% of the installed base of United States utility-scale solar power production capacity as of December 31, 2012."
uuggghhhh ... you mean there are bigger profits to be made in solar and wind power than in polluting rivers with coal waste? What's this country coming too?
Caveat - Next Era Energy is also a significant player in the nuclear power industry. So it's not all roses. But of ALL the companies listed above it is the ONLY one with a very significant stake in the renewable energy industry and it is the ONLY one that has consistently outpaced the S&P.
So, if I do end up investing money in a bunch of sin stocks maybe I can assuage some of my guilt by going into some renewable energy too.
Cheers! Thanks a lot!