By Philip van Doorn
The energy market is in continual flux — oil and natural gas prices have been rising along with demand. And over the past few weeks, stocks of alternative-energy companies have shot up dramatically.
A list of analysts’ favorite alternative-energy stocks is below.
The S&P 500 Index’s /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.90% energy sector — made up completely of companies involved with the production of fossil fuels — has been the benchmark index’s best performer this year, rising 54%, while the full index is up 20%.
The onset of colder weather in areas that rely on fossil fuels for home heating, amid a supply shortage, has helped lead to a government estimate that electricity generation from coal will in the U.S. this year, for the first time in seven years.
The stage may be set for an extended run for prices of oil, natural gas and related stocks. Here’s some recent coverage of fossil-fuel stocks:
Alternative-energy stocks — three approaches
What about alternative energy? It is a much longer-term play than the cyclical oil and gas industries.
1. Go for growth
Despite mandates for reduced carbon emissions in northern European countries, millions of homes are still heated by natural gas, and new pipelines are being built to meet demand. The capacity isn’t available for a quick switch to alternative energy.
This is why investors looking to make a lot of money with alternative-energy stocks need to be very patient. It is a multi-year, even multi-decade, play, even though there are many alternative-energy companies expected to grow their sales rapidly.
Here’s a recent list of 20 stocks of alternative-energy companies expected to increase sales the most through 2023 . The list includes solar and wind-power companies, but also companies that make electric-car batteries, such as Tesla Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +0.68% and other electric-vehicle manufacturers. It only looks out two-plus years, but rapid growth may be your best focus if you wish to hold individual stocks in an early-stage industry.
2. Exchange traded funds
The list of the fastest expected alternative-energy revenue growers was culled from the portfolios of five large alternative-energy ETFs. These might be the best way to approach new industries for most investors, because of their diversification and relatively low expenses:
iShares Global Clean Energy ETF /zigman2/quotes/205740995/composite ICLN -1.55%