With California’s epic drought grabbing headlines across the country, it might be logical to assume that water exchange traded funds delivering banner performances in 2015.
In reality, the year-to-date performances by the four water ETFs widely diverge, indicating California’s drought has lifted some of these funds while being a non-starter for others.
The First Trust ISE Water ETF (NYSEArca: FIW) and the PowerShares Water Resources Portfolio (NYSEArca: PHO) both track U.S. companies that derive their revenue from products that conserve and purify water. What FIW and PHO do has not prevented the ETFs from falling 5.1% and 1.7%, respectively, year-to-date. [Looking at Water ETFs]
“Water-equipment suppliers, accounting for the bulk of the PowerShares and First Trust ETFs, have slumped as well. Shares of Energy Recovery (NasdaqGM: ERII) and Layne Christensen (NasdaqGM: LAYN), included in both ETFs, dropped more than 30 percent this year as lower oil prices hurt demand from energy companies,” reports David Wilson for Bloomberg.
Those stocks combine for 3.3% of the $195 million FIW’s weight and 1.4% of the $863.6 million PHO.
California’s drought struggles have prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to order a 25% reduction in water use. At a news conference earlier this week, Brown called for fines of up to $10,000 for wanton water wasters.