Thursday, September 30, 2010

Big Losses in Asia 'Green' Funds-Reuters

9/30, "Big losses at Asia Green Funds spark move to safety," Reuters

"Big losses at so-called 'green' equities funds this year are halting the proliferation of the once hot investment products in Asia and triggering a shift by investors in some centers such as Japan into safer bond options.

Green equities funds -- a big draw over the past few years on heightened concerns on energy prices and the environment -- have been clobbered as stock market volatility, economic pessimism and falling energy costs have driven investors away from the sector.

The poor performance comes as Asian governments are pumping vast amounts -- spending exceeded $39 billion in 2009, with China accounting for the bulk of that -- into renewable energy and other environment-related projects. It may mean that companies in the business will find it harder to attract new capital.

A third of the 20 worst-performing Japanese funds this year are green funds, with returns down a fifth or more for several of them, according to data from Lipper Inc. By comparison, the broad TOPIX index has lost just 8.6 percent....

  • The Deutsche Global Warming Prevention Equity Fund of Deutsche Asset Management (Japan) is down nearly 20 percent in 2010 and has seen its assets drop 36 percent this year to $292 million as of end-August, according to Lipper, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

The fund's three biggest exposures were to utility contractor Quanta Services, wind turbine components maker American Superconductor and

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas, whose shares are down 7.3 percent, 24.4 percent, and 33.7 percent, respectively, this year....

  • "If we invest in a stock or a mutual fund

it's difficult to really tell whether the money is actually used to benefit society," said Yoshida, who is also a retail investor."...

  • via Tom Nelson

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