The battle over water could be a boon to exchange traded fund (ETF) investors, but let’s hope no one loses their nose over it. Ouch!
Water’s future could offer opportunities for investors who think of it as a commodity, benefiting companies involved in the sale, purification, distribution and infrastructure of the element.
The Chicago Tribune reports that T. Boone Pickens, corporate bigshot and oil tycoon, has been buying up water rights in the Texas panhandle based on the belief that water is going to become scarce and salable. The logic is that climate change, shrinking lakes and rivers, mixed with population growth will transform water into a commodity.
New York’s tap water supply is already threatening to become a victim of climate change.
As the supply of the commodity tightens, governments and companies all over the world are finding ways to deal with the issue, which has increased the number of ways to invest in water-related companies.
Most water ETFs have been fairly flat over the last year, partially because it’s not a commodity people pay much attention to. It’s hard to get much attention when you’re not going for $150 a barrel. But water is drying up in certain areas, and the price is going higher.
What is considered a water company is not as purely focused as many people think, since it could include related things like technology that goes into the water supply.
Water ETFs include:
- The $2.4 billion PowerShares Water Resources Fund (PHO), which tracks the Palisades water index of companies in water treatment, water utilities and pipe and pump manufacturing. It is up 1 percent over the past 12 months, but down 6.6% year-to-date.
- The $386 million Claymore S&P Global Water (CGW), which tracks the S&P global water index of water utilities, infrastructure and equipment. It is down 7 percent over the past year and down 12.2% year-to-date.
- The $34 million First Trust ISE Water (FIW), which tracks the ISE water index of companies that derive a substantial portion of revenue from the water and wastewater industries. It is up 2 percent over 12 months and down 5.6% year-to-date.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.