March 14, 2011 / 3:21 PM / 9 years ago

Uranium shares off, solar up on Japan nuclear crisis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of uranium miners and nuclear power companies dropped, while those of solar companies rose following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that crippled a nuclear power plant.

In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, uranium miners Cameco and USEC Inc were two of the four biggest losers. Cameco slumped 15.8 percent to $31.48, and USEC fell 14.1 percent to $4.43.

Shares of utilities that use nuclear power plants also fell, with Entergy dropping 4.2 percent to $70.56, Exelon Corp falling 1.4 percent to $42.56, and Southern Co down 1.5 percent at $37.70.

General Electric, which manufactures nuclear power plant equipment, declined 2.2 percent to $19.91.

In contrast, shares of solar companies gained, as the nuclear disturbance in Japan opened the door to alternative energy sources.

“The potential for the nuclear plant meltdown in Japan may over time add more thrust for the country’s long-term diversification into solar to serve part of the country’s demand,” Credit Suisse analysts said.

Germany, which already favors clean energy, is discussing a three-month suspension of its decision to extend the life of the country’s nuclear power stations due to the crisis in Japan, according to sources.

Shares of solar companies were among the top gainers on Monday. First Solar rose 3.9 percent to $145.25, and Trina Solar jumped 7.2 percent to $25.97.

Reporting by Steve James and Lynn Adler in New York, Thyagaraju Adinarayan in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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