According to the Barron’s Online, despite a slide in oil prices to levels not seen in nearly 2 years, the demand and govt incentives for sun- and ethanol-fueled power remain strong. Two stocks that could benefit are solar giant SunPower (SPWR) and ethanol producer VeraSun (VSE). With oil prices down, SunPower shares have fallen 8.5% from their 52w high, while VeraSun shares are down roughly 42% since going public last June. But each firm boasts bright long-term earnings growth prospects and solid mgmt in an era of increased state and federal support for energy alternatives. "For the first time in ‘06 you saw a number of solar and wind turbine co’s pushing into profitability," says Philip Deutch, who runs a private-equity fund whose investments include renewable energy technology. "Some ethanol co’s were profitable, too."
“Inside Scoop” section reports that Columbia Wanger Asset Mgmt, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America, took advantage of the Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) stock pullback to emerge as the teen retailer's top shareholder. Columbia reported it increased its holdings in Abercrombie to 5.94m shares (a 6.73% stake) from about 5.23m shares (a 5.3% stake) at the end of the 3Q.