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  • Roger S. Conrad

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.

Articles

Renewable-Focused Utilities: Joining Energy’s March Higher

By Roger S. Conrad on May. 9, 2024
There are no energy stocks in the S&P 500’s top 10. The biggest utility, NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), is only #56. And even all utilities and oil and gas stocks together are just 6 percent of the stock market’s premier blue chip index. That’s historic underweighting. But since oil prices bottomed in spring 2020, the S&P Energy Index has beaten the technology-stock laden S&P 500 by nearly 160 percentage points.

Southern Company: Poised for Post-Vogtle Growth

By Roger S. Conrad on May. 9, 2024
In late April, Georgia Power’s unit 4 of the Vogtle nuclear plant entered full commercial service—joining Unit 3, which has been operating smoothly since last July. And with customer rates to pay for the facility fully in place, the book is now finally closed on a construction project that began in August 2008 and ultimately cost $30 billion, versus initial estimates of $14 billion. During Southern’s Q1 earnings and guidance call earlier this month, CEO Chris Womack stated unequivocally his view that the US “is going to need more nuclear.” But he also said “we’re going to celebrate what we’ve done at Vogtle for a very long time before we give any consideration” to launching another project.

AT&T Inc: “Showing” In the US Telecom A Winner for Investors

By Roger S. Conrad on May. 9, 2024
When a stock sells for just 7.7 times expected next 12 months earnings, it’s clearly unloved by investors. And that’s clearly the case for America’s number 3 telecom AT&T Inc (NYSE: T), after returning less than 3 percent a year over the past decade. There are numerous reasons for AT&T’s underperformance. But the biggest was US government rejection of its proposed merger with T-Mobile US (NSDQ: TMUS), which led to a disastrous, debt-expanding foray into the entertainment business. And the company has dealt with the fallout ever since, including a first-ever -46.6 percent dividend cut as part of the Warner Brothers (NSDQ: WBD) spinoff in April 2022.

Strong Q1 Results Portend Solid Returns

By Roger S. Conrad on May. 9, 2024
Roughly 3 in 4 Utility Report Card companies have released their calendar Q1 results and updated guidance. Most of the rest should do so in the next week to 10 days. This issue’s company-by-company URC comments highlight what investors need to know about the results so far. That includes the 29 portfolio utilities issuing their numbers. And I’ll have my thoughts on the rest in next’s month’s issue, or beforehand for portfolio recommendations if action is needed.

Uniti Group Buckles, UGI Corp Off the List

By Roger S. Conrad on May. 9, 2024
Debt remains the number one threat to essential service dividends. The latest to fall victim: Telecom infrastructure company Uniti Group (NSDQ: UNIT). This month Uniti announced it will merge with privately held Windstream Holdings, its former parent and still largest customer by far. Management says the union will create the “premier insurgent fiber provider.” But this is really a cost-cutting and debt reduction deal: The companies target $100 million in operating expense cuts and “$20 to $30 million” in capital spending “synergies.”

Best Renewable Energy Stocks to Bet on an Emerging Recovery

By Roger S. Conrad on May. 9, 2024
For the first time ever, solar energy accounted for “more than half” of US electricity generation additions in 2023: That’s from a report released this week by Wood MacKenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Total installed capacity was also a record at 32.4 gigawatts. That was up 51 percent from 2022 levels and 37 percent above 2021, the previous record year for solar installation. And utility-scale dominated at 69 percent of the total.

CMS Energy: Executing Growth at a Good Price

By Roger S. Conrad on May. 9, 2024
Utility strong is what you get with Conservative Holding CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS). The stock’s 10-year compound annual return is a solid 10.5 percent. And it’s 15.4 percent for the last 21 years—which began with a management switch and refocus on boosting efficiency, cutting debt and staying on the same page with Michigan regulators. That’s been the formula for success ever since. In early February, CMS released 2023 results that topped the company’s recently raised targets. Management boosted the mid-point of the 2024 earnings guidance range to $3.32 per share, affirming expected annual growth of 6 to 8 percent through 2028 “with continued confidence toward the high end of the range. The company also raised dividends by 5.7 percent, the same rate of growth as in 2023 and an increase of 90.7 percent from ten years ago.

Between AI and M&A Utilities will Get Their Due

By Roger S. Conrad on Apr. 3, 2024
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.

EverSource Energy: Blown By Offshore Wind But Still on Course

By Roger S. Conrad on Apr. 3, 2024
Earlier this year, what promised to be an Atlantic Coast offshore wind boom seemed to go bust. Lead developer Orsted A/S (Denmark: ORSTED, OTC: DNNGY) ousted upper management and wrote off $6 billion in shelved US projects, citing development cost spikes and uneconomic contracts. And its 50 percent partner EverSource Energy’s (NYSE: ES) felt its pain, taking a $5.58 per share impairment charge against Q4 earnings. EverSource’s plan all along has been to sell its ownership of the offshore projects to focus on linking transmission infrastructure. The writedown reflected the diminished value of those assets. But it now appears the demise of US offshore wind was indeed greatly exaggerated.

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ABOUT ROGER CONRAD

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 b