Forget Oil -- Try New Energy Plays

Greg Levine

As fuel prices soar and the government debates Big Oil taxation, what's an investor to do? Turn to alternative ways to play energy, according to Kevin Landis.

The chief investment officer at Firsthand Capital Management also steers the Firsthand E-Commerce fund . Rated four stars by Morningstar, the fund has shared the tech sector's rocky start to the year -- down 17.8 percent year-to-date -- but has climbed 14.3 percent over the past five years.

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"There are always a few individual stocks that swim against the current," Landis says -- although he cautions investors to pick wisely, as the overall sector will continue to be troubled.


The portfolio manager likes Applied Materials , which "held up very well in the first quarter" -- thanks to traction in its solar-cell group.

He also likes Echelon , an "energy information company" that furnishes "smart meters" -- essential to businesses seeking energy efficiency upgrades.


The Firsthand E-Commerce fund may make investments in the securities discussed above.