Hedge fund legend George Soros is a major financial backer of clean energy, but his Soros Fund Management firm bought shares of the country's two biggest coal producers in the second quarter, according to SEC filings
The companies are Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. Soros bought more than 1 million shares of Peabody and 553,200 shares of Arch Coal. At Tuesday's share prices, that puts the Peabody stake at more than $1.13 million, and the Arch Coal stake at $768,810.
In October, the Soros-funded Climate Policy Initiative published a report saying the world economy could save $1.8 trillion over the next 20 years by shifting from coal to clean energy.
"What a difference a few months makes, especially when those months have seen coal company stocks fall to fire sale prices," Steve Milloy a former coal industry executive who publishes JunkScience.com, writes on Breitbart.
"It’s possible that Soros is only looking for a dead cat bounce" by the stocks, Milloy says.
But, "I doubt the shrewd Soros is looking to make just a few million dollars on these investments."
Michael South, a UK-based mining and energy consultant, told FoxNews.com
that while coal prices have suffered around the world in part because of a drop in demand from China and other countries, and fracking, which produced natural gas at a cheaper price, there is still a huge need for coal, and eventually prices will go up.
“George Soros spent millions of dollars and multiple years helping to driving down price of coal,” H. Sterling Burnett, research fellow and managing editor, at the Heartland Institute, told FoxNews.com
“If he buys enough stock to have controlling interests in these coal businesses, closes them down and leaves the coal in the ground, we might accept that he is a true believer, that his investment was all about stopping climate change and saving the environment," he said.
“But my suspicion is that he helped to drive stocks down, bought as many shares as he can, and, when stocks rebound, he can sell his shares and make a huge profit.”
Elsewhere on the commodity front, with major commodities indices hitting 13-year lows, now must be time to exit the asset class with both feet running, right?
Quite the contrary, says Barron's columnist Andrew Bary. "It’s time to consider commodities," he writes.
"While the Standard & Poor’s 500, Nasdaq Composite, and other key equity indexes are near record levels, commodity stocks, including energy shares, are way below their peaks. Commodities are probably the most out-of-favor industry group in the stock market."
That's cat nip for value investors.
Indeed, "the commodities space represents great value versus the rest of the market,” Roland Morris, a commodity strategist and portfolio manager at Van Eck Global, tells Barron's.
"There has been no place to hide — gold, industrial metals, and energy have all been weak."
Gold has dropped to a five-year low, trading at $1,115.20 an ounce Tuesday afternoon, and oil has slid to a six-year low, with U.S. crude trading at $42.42 a barrel.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index stood at 2,096, 2 percent beneath its record high.
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