NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- ETF investors have an opportunity to play the various segments of the world's energy portfolio using a diverse collection of funds, but for investors who don't have the time to research the industries involved, there's the choice of active management.
The oil industry has recently fallen out of favor in the eyes of many consumers and lawmakers as
continues to struggle to halt the flow of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from the site of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
While sentiment towards BP and those responsible for the spill is negative, from an investing standpoint, ignoring the broad energy sector is a poor choice. As nations around the world continue on the road to development, populations grow, and technology becomes a larger part of all of our everyday lives, the need to find ways to power our homes, cars and various widgets will become increasingly more essential.
ETF investors have an opportunity to play the various segments of the world's energy portfolio using a diverse collection of funds. Coal bulls can track firms like
China Shenhua Energy
Market Vectors Coal ETF
Investors looking for exposure to the oil services industry can play the
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil Equipment & Services Index Fund
SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF
. Those who think natural gas is the next big thing can look into the
First Trust Revere-ISE Natural Gas Index ETF
Finally, alternative energy options can be tracked using a slew of products including but not limited to
Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy Index ETF
PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio
Market Vectors Nuclear Energy ETF
By applying different weightings to these funds, investors can design a portfolio that reflects their views of the world's current and future energy picture.
While having the opportunity to personalize your energy exposure may be attractive to some investors, the amount of research and time needed to achieve this task may prove to be too daunting for others.
Thankfully, there exists an actively managed mutual fund which provides passive investors with a one-stop-shop approach to the broad energy spectrum.
As manager of the
Fidelity Select Energy Fund
, John Dowd (the brains behind the fund since 2006) parses through all of the information and options that exist within the energy industry to create a portfolio that reflects the best of the various sectors.
Recently, during a conference call, Dowd explained to listeners that one more important aspect to his research is his extensive travel budget. At FSENX's helm, the manager had traveled to Saudi Arabia, China, Australia and other nations in order to get a feel for what is working and what isn't in the global energy industry.
All of this fund manager's extensive research has lead to the creation of a portfolio which currently consists of 88 holdings. Positions underlying FSENX include not only top oil, coal, and gas producers like
and MEE, but also firms hailing from the nuclear, geothermal and solar energy fields.
The portfolio is weighted towards the top 10 holdings, which account for more than 45% of the fund's total index.
Since launching 1981, FSENX has managed to amass nearly $2 billion in assets as well as a three-star rating from Morningstar for its overall performance as well as its performance during the past 3-, 5-, and 10-year periods. This fund carries no load and charges investors a 0.9% expense ratio. There is a 0.75% short-term trading fee for shares held fewer than 30 days.
With BP still struggling to clean up their mess in the Gulf of Mexico, trials certainly face energy producers in the short term. However, investors shouldn't let their anger or fear get the best of them. With population and technological growth on the horizon, the longer term prospects for the global energy industry remain promising. Investors with time on their hands can try their luck constructing their own portfolio, but FSENX may prove to be a far simpler option.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management was not long any equities mentioned.
Don Dion is president and founder of
, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.
Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.