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The Dow Jones Utility Average closed out Q1 barely in the black and lagging the S&P 500 by about 9.3 percentage points. The average total return for CUI portfolio stocks was a bit better at 5.8 percent. But the bottom line is this is still a stock market chasing momentum and growth stories, rather than value and dividends.
The essential services stocks that have shone the most so far in 2024 have been tightly connected to popular investment themes like nuclear power, such as our top performer Vistra Energy (NYSE: VST), or else beneficiaries of M&A. MDU Resources’ (NYSE: MDU) pending spinoff of Everus Construction Group in late 2024, for example, is exciting investors as much as last year’s of materials company Knife River (NYSE: KNF) did not—mainly because KNF has roughly doubled in value since.

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