April Issue Highlights from SFO (Stock, Futures, & Options) Magazine

The April 2011 issue of SFO (Stock, Futures, and Options) magazine is a little short compared to previous issues, but still a great read.  One reason for the limited articles might be this month's focus: all articles are related to energy, green energy, and alternative energy.

Can Ethanol Weather the Storm?
by Timothy Hannagan, grains expert at PFGBEST

Ethanol has been produced since the 1970's.  In the early years, refining was costly, and demand simply wasn't there.  However, as crude oil prices began to move higher, the U.S. government grasped the long-term implications of money of historical proportions leaving our domestic economy and heading to foreign oil countries.  Military leaders cautioned the government on the movement of U.S. oil dollars with potential to ultimately wind around to terrorist factions.  If the U.S. could become less financially oil-dependent, it could take the excess profit out of oil and de-fund anti-U.S. groups.

Growing Green
by Matt Blackman

Recent riots in Egypt and Tunisia highlight the growing discontent with rapidly rising food prices.  As this map shows, riots have been widespread.  The major motivator, seen in Figure 1, is that food prices have more than doubled since 2002.  With each major uptick in prices, the rioting has spread.  If crisis creates opportunity as the Chinese believe, what opportunities does this rising demand for reliable food present to the proactive investor?

Hone Your Stock-Picking Skills in China
by Jim Trippon

Riding a taxi down Shanghai, I am engulfed by the sites, sounds, and smells of a once-in-a-century boom.  Legendary traffic jams bring to mind China's second year as the world's biggest automobile market, with a record-breaking 18 million cars sold last year.  Chronic air pollution hangs over the city like a veil, as the world's biggest energy consumer gasps for a breath of air and a glimpse of sunlight.

Trade the Gas of the Future
by Quint Tatro

I know some gas men growing up and vividly recall a few mentioning to me as a child how compressed natural gas would be the wave of the future.   This was the mid-1980's, when the technology was being used in various foreign cars.  Fast forward 20 years and a not-so-soft spoken Texan by the name of T. Boone Pickens was on a national campaign to promote compressed natural gas.  After hearing T. Boone's new campaign, I immediately started an Internet search to learn what had transpired with the technology over the last 20 years.

The Sun is Rising on Solar Stocks
by N. Duru Ahanotu

The solar industry represents an electric convergence of technology, advanced research, energy, environment, credit markets, speculation, and politics.  This volatile mix represents the opportunity and challenge in trading solar stocks.

Wading Through the ETF Jungle
by Rachel Koning Beals

Analysts are expecting brighter times for solar shares and the broader alternative energy category.  This includes the green exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that offer individual investors perhaps their best exposure to this space, with many of these funds now old enough to offer a three to five year snapshot of their performance.

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