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Business: Value Funds

21 July 2009 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

This article originally appeared in Plenty Magazine. To view that story, click here.

For many Americans, April 15th now marks a mad scramble to both file tax papers and max out a (ROTH) IRA account. One upside to that frenzy is that you can invest with your values while making money for retirement. Green funds have started taking off, typically outstripping the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index. Falling under the broad category of socially-responsible investments, such funds comprise stocks of companies involved in environmentally-sustainable products, services, and practices.

One caveat: Green funds can be volatile, dropping or gaining as much as 40 percent a month. If you want to mitigate that risk, you might choose broader-based funds, such as Sierra Club Stock Fund (SCFSX) and Claymore LGA Green (GRN), which include environmentally-questionable, but blue-chip companies such as Las Vegas Sands Casinos and Exxon Mobil, respectively. If you are interested in purer plays, however, here are the performances of 10 green and alternative energy funds:

Fund Name                                                                                          Annual Return 2007

Powershares Wilderhill Clean Energy (PBW)                                             59.46

Winslow Green Growth Fund (WGGFX)                                                        23.47

New Alternatives Fund (NALFX)                                                                    33.53

Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy (GEX)                                   48.09 *

Portfolio 21 (PORTX)                                                                                             10.41

Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund (GAAEX)                           42.68

Powershares Global Clean Energy Portfolio (PBD)                                    19.50 **

Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund (CGAEX)                                    30.07 ***

Green Century Balanced (GCBLX)                                                                     3.09

First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge U.S. Liquid (QCLN)                                54.30 ****

S&P 500                                                                                                                      5.49

Since launch dates: * 5/3/2007, **  6/13/2007, ***  5/31/2007, **** 2/8/2007

Helen Kaiao Chang is a ghostwriter, editor and journalist. She can be reached at www.ghostwriter-needed.com.

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenChang

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