Solar Stocks Are Predicting the Paris Agreement Might Not be Dead Yet
Since news broke that President Donald Trump is expected to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, shares of several solar companies have sunk.
While Trump is expected to announce a formal decision today, the six biggest losers have already shed $227 million in value between the market’s close Tuesday and the market’s open Thursday. The report led the sector at large to go in the negative, with the VanEck Vectors Solar Energy ETF falling 1.3%, which was led by a 3.84% fall in Canadian Solar (CSIQ), a 2.5% sell off in JinkoSolar (JKS), and a 2.1% drop in shares of SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG). SunPower (SPWR), First Solar (FSLR), and JA Solar (JASO) each shed 2%.
The combined market capitalizations of the six companies fell to $7.5 billion by the market’s open Thursday despite a bullish start to the week. U.S. solar companies were in a positive place after the U.S. signaled that it could levy tariff on imported solar cells, according to Reuters.
But fears about green energy’s future looked overblown by noon Thursday, with most solar stocks regaining at least part of those losses as investors swooped in on the dip. The VanEck Vectors Solar Energy ETF rose 1.1% in trading Thursday. Meanwhile, shares of coal companies, which have opposed the Paris Accord, slid, perhaps signaling that investors believe the U.S. may stay in the environmental protection agreement after all. Peabody Energy stock declined 1.5%, while shares of Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) fell 2%. Still, coal is likely in for a dimmer future whether the U.S. participates in the international climate change agreement or not: Even Gary Cohn, the Trump-appointed director of the National Economic Council, said last week that coal doesn’t make “much sense anymore.”
And investors have reason to continue believing in green energy: Several major companies are still struggling to sway Trump with less than an hour to go before he is slated to make a formal announcement about the Paris Agreement. While they aren’t expected to convince the president, it does at least suggest they have an interest in regulating climate change. Meanwhile, companies including Apple (AAPL) and Walmart (WMT) have said that they plan to stick to their carbon reduction pledges either way.
Some U.S. cities are still pledging to uphold the Paris agreement even if Trump decides to withdraw the U.S.
Investors have generally tamped down their fears about what the impact the Trump administration will have on green energy’s future. Although investors initially bet against solar stocks immediately following the election, the industry, as based on the iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index fund, has completely gained back those losses.