It’s been a little more than 141 years since Thomas Edison threw the first switch on his famous light bulb. What at one time were literally thousands of electric operating companies have merged into just a few dozen of consequence. And not one deal failed to create a financially stronger utility, a record no other industry can match.
In March 2008, Southern Company (NYSE: SO) became the eighth US electric company within a year to announce construction of new nuclear reactors. A dozen years later, Southern’s pair of 1.1 gigawatt capacity reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia are the only AP1000s under construction in America.
It’s no surprise that both the US and China’s political rhetoric is ratcheting up as the US approaches November elections. COVID-19 recriminations are just the latest catalyst for worsening what were already tense relations. Nonetheless, I’m staying with three Chinese essential service stocks.
In 2017, financially recovering Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE: KMI) promised investors three dividend increases. This week, for the third increase it offered up a 5 percent lift for 2020, just 20 percent of what was promised. Under normal conditions, I’d view a shortfall like this as a potential warning of underlying business weakness. In Kinder's case, here's why it's not.
With the virus still spreading and shutdowns continuing, forecasting COVID-19’s eventual damage to human health and the global economy is still a matter of conjecture, making it difficult for management teams to set guidance for the rest of 2020.
However, Q1 numbers and guidance, to be released over the next several weeks, will be absolutely critical to making good decisions, particularly where dividend safety is concerned.
It’s still early days for US COVID-19 fallout. And most electric companies have yet to issue guidance. But so far, the US power industry is showing typical resilience in tough times.
That means future selloffs in the ongoing bear market are buying opportunities for best in class electric utilities, not a reason to sell.
I typically update advice in the Conrad’s Utility Investor website tables with the regular monthly issues. For urgent advice I send Alerts. If there’s a theme to expand on, I post an Income Insights or Utility Roundup.
These “interesting times,” however, require an update for the five tables under the Portfolios tab.
Economic uncertainty resulting from COVID-19 has shifted utilities’ momentum from positive to negative. And it’s clear we know little now about the ultimate damage to human health and economic growth. But big and sudden declines like this one have historically been followed by mighty rebounds, and huge rewards for those who’ve had the cash and fortitude to buy the right stocks at the bottom.
Utility stocks have picked up in 2020 where they left off in 2019. The Dow Jones Utility Average reached an all-time high of 934 this week. So long as investors crave yield, there’s a case the sector will reach higher ground - but this story also has a less savory side.
About year ago, we pounded the table to buy selected high yield bonds. Since then, each of our recommendations has scored solid capital gains, while providing yields as high as 10 percent.
Roger's favorite utilities for investors seeking superior price appreciation by taking calculated risks.
Harness the tried and true wealth-building power of rising dividends.
Nothing compounds wealth like reinvesting a rising stream of dividends.
Warning: Falling Dividends.
Roger's current take and vital statistics on more than 200 essential-services stocks.