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.
The flow of mergers of entire utility companies has dried up, relative to the heady pace of a few years ago. But management teams are still finding plenty of assets to buy and sell.
The strong US dollar, worries about slowing global growth and disruption from uncertain politics and trade policy: That trio of entrenched trends continues to fuel investor appetites to “buy American,” dividend-paying stocks of US-based companies that generate all or mostly all of their sales within our borders.
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