Roger S. Conrad needs no introduction to individual and professional investors, many of whom have profited from his decades of experience uncovering the best dividend-paying stocks for accumulating sustainable wealth.
Roger built his reputation with Utility Forecaster, a publication he founded more than 20 years ago that The Hulbert Financial Digest routinely ranked as one of the best investment newsletters. He’s also a sought-after expert on master limited partnerships (MLP) and former Canadian royalty trusts.
In April 2013, Roger reunited with his long-time friend and colleague, Elliott Gue, becoming co-editor of Energy & Income Advisor, a semimonthly online newsletter that’s dedicated to uncovering the most profitable opportunities in the energy sector.
Although the masthead may have changed, readers can count on Roger to deliver the same high-quality analysis and rational assessment of the best dividend-paying utilities, MLPs and dividend-paying Canadian energy names.
Worries about rising interest rates and inflation pressures have emerged as material headwinds for dividend paying stocks. As a result, the Dow Jones Utility Average has once again failed to break above long-standing upside resistance at its February 2020 all-time high. That makes it 19 months and counting since the DJUA has reached a new peak. And it’s a stark contrast to the S&P 500, which hit one just last month.
AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) still sells for less than 8.7 times expected 2021 earnings. And PPL Corp (NYSE: PPL) yields 2.5 percentage points more than the Dow Jones Utility Average. Why the deep discounts? Because neither company’s management has come clean on how much they intend to cut dividends after completing major transactions early next year, other than to say they intend to “right size.”
According to the US Energy Information Administration’s baseline forecast, Americans will use 40 percent more electricity by 2050 than in 2010. And more than half of that will come from new wind and solar, driven by the combination of favorable government policies, continued declines in the cost curve and development of energy storage.
This summer, the Biden Administration upped the ante even more with a proposal to build 1,000 gigawatts of solar generating capacity in the US by 2035 at a projected cost of roughly $1 trillion. That follows its acceleration of permitting for US offshore wind projects as well, which the government hopes will result in 26 GW of capacity entering service by 2030.
From Winter Storm Uri to Hurricane Ida, extreme weather is the emerging big story for utilities in 2021, just as the pandemic was last year. And now as then, well-executed responses are absolutely essential.
New Orleans-based Entergy Corp (NYSE: ETR) arguably has the most on the line at this time. The Portfolio section discusses its prospects, as well as those of other storm-hit utilities.
My other big theme this month is income. Borrowing rates for Utility Report Card companies are still near multi-generation lows, which means slim pickings for fixed income. But the Feature article shows there are still big, safe yields in less obvious places.
Last week, Centerpoint Energy’s (NYSE: CNP) 7 percent preferred stock converted into 1.8349 of the company’s common shares. That was the maximum possible exchange and the best outcome for the preferred, which also paid a final dividend of 87.5 cents.
Last July, Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) announced a dramatic and somewhat painful move for shareholders: Selling oil and gas midstream assets to a unit of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK/B) for $9.7 billion including assumed debt, and cutting dividends -33 percent to reflect the resulting reduced cash flow.
Last week, the Dow Jones Utility Average hit a new high for 2021. But unlike most market sectors, utilities as a group still can’t seem to get over the hump of making a new all-time high. And as this issue of CUI goes to post, the DJUA is still roughly 2 percent below where it crested in mid-February 2020.
Roger's favorite utilities for investors seeking superior price appreciation by taking calculated risks.
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Roger's current take and vital statistics on more than 200 essential-services stocks.