A year-to-date gain of nearly 83% means the First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (NasdaqGS: QCLN) is one of the top-performing non-leveraged sector ETFs of 2013.
One look at QCLN’s 43 holdings explains why the ETF has been on a tear this year. Not only is the ETF an alternative energy play, it is a play on the right alternative energy stocks. Translation: Nearly a quarter of QCLN’s weight is allocated to solar stocks, an advantageous trait in a year when the two best non-leveraged ETFs are solar funds. [2013’s Top-10 ETFs]
QCLN has $84.8 million in assets under management, a number that could indicate investors have not only missed on the jaw-dropping gains offered by this ETF, but some have also missed QCLN’s utility on another front. Just a few months shy of its seventh anniversary, QCLN currently stands as a legitimate “Elon Musk ETF.” [Musk’s Legendary Status Boosts Small ETFs]
As of Nov. 1, QCLN’s largest holding was First Solar (NasdaqGM: FSLR), a nice advantage when considering the stock is up 29.2% in the past 90 days. First Solar is 8.3% of QCLN’s weight.
However, QCLN’s fifth- and sixth-largest holdings, respectively, are Musk’s Tesla (NasdaqGM: TSLA) and SolarCity (NasdaqGM: SCTY). The two stocks, both of which are up more than 394% year-to-date, combine for nearly 13% of QCLN’s weight. [Solar ETFs Soar Ahead of SolarCity Earnings]
That makes QCLN the premier option for ETF investors looking to grab a snippet of the Musk story. Few ETFs have large allocations to either Tesla or SolarCity. Few hold both stocks. The PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio (NYSEArca: PBW) does, but that ETF’s current combined allocation to those stocks is just 5%.