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Feature Article

Verizon Communications: Priced for Armageddon, Positioned to Prosper

By Roger S. Conrad on Aug. 7, 2023

Rarely have shares of a high quality essential services company like Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) been treated so poorly by investors. In the July 18 Utility Roundup “Verizon and AT&T: Some Thoughts,” I highlighted two catalysts for downside this summer: Fear that Amazon.com would offer wireless service through its Prime brand and a Wall Street Journal investigative piece alleging telecoms have potential liabilities in the tens of billions of dollars from owning toxic lead-lined cable.

What You Need to Know About Utilities’ Q2 Earnings

By Roger S. Conrad on Aug. 7, 2023

When you’re a long-term investor, momentum isn’t always going to flow your way. And when it’s against you—whatever the reason—it can be intensely frustrating, no matter how much in dividends you’re collecting. The greatest danger is it’s all too easy to conflate stock market weakness with a truly unraveling business. You may bail out prematurely from a company that’s only undergoing a temporary setback. Or alternatively, you might hold onto a stock that’s only just beginning its descent, as declining sales lead to dividend cuts and worse.

Strategic Dividend Cuts That Make Sense

By Roger S. Conrad on Aug. 7, 2023

When a company cuts its dividend, its share price usually craters. The exception is if the reduction is part of a larger strategic move that makes sense. That’s the case for Aggressive Holding MDU Resources (NYSE: MDU), which reduced its quarterly dividend for payment in October by -43.8 percent to 12.5 cents per share.

Telecom Has a Future, But Not Every Company Does

By Roger S. Conrad on Aug. 7, 2023

In the 120 years plus since electricity, heating and water became essential services, not one regulated operating utility has ever gone out of business. That includes companies forced to declare bankruptcy, most recently California’s PG&E Corp (NYSE: PCG) The same can’t be said for communications. Since the Telecom Act of 1996 ended local phone monopolies, literally hundreds of companies have appeared only to vanish in a few years. And several in my Utility Report Card coverage universe are flirting with some form of debt restructuring now, including Altice USA (NYSE: ATUS), DISH Network Corp (NSDQ: DISH) and Lumen Technologies (NYSE: LUMN).

Brookfield Renewable: Building Scale Affordably for Reliable Growth

By Roger S. Conrad on Jul. 10, 2023

Not once since its November 1999 IPO has Brookfield Renewable Partners (TSX: BEP-U, NYSE: BEP) ever cut its dividend. Nor has the company missed an annual increase since 2009—when the rate was held flat following Canada’s death sentence for income trusts.

Southwest Gas Holdings: A Compelling Sum of the Parts

By Roger S. Conrad on Jul. 10, 2023

Last year, Southwest Gas Holdings (NYSE: SWX) shares soared above $90, my “consider taking profits” price listed in the “Portfolio Holdings Trading Above Target” table. We would have done better selling it all.

What’s Important About First Half Winners and Losers

By Roger S. Conrad on Jul. 10, 2023

It’s been mostly more of the same for investment markets this past month, just as has been the case for most of this year.

For Dividend Safety Watch the Debt

By Roger S. Conrad on Jul. 10, 2023

Thus far in 2023, seven Utility Report Card companies have announced lower dividends than they paid in 2022. None, however, have done so since March. And 97 have raised payouts at least once, with three-dozen more ready to follow their lead.

Picks and Pans for Second Half 2023

By Roger S. Conrad on Jul. 10, 2023

So far, 2023 has been a great year to own the biggest technology stocks—but little else. The Nasdaq 100 is up roughly 38 percent year-to-date. And the 7 stocks that dominate it have lifted the S&P 500 by 15 percent.

Hannon Armstrong: Growing Fast, Deeply Discounted

By Roger S. Conrad on Jun. 12, 2023

The last 18 months have been rough going for financial companies. And unfortunately, that’s when we re-entered Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (NYSE: HASI), a business development company specializing in renewable energy and efficiency projects. Organized as a REIT for tax reasons, Hannon has more than doubled its total assets since 2019. And management reporting year-over-year increases in Q1 of 25 percent and 15 percent in its portfolio and managed assets, respectively. Distributable net income per share stayed on track with guidance for 10 to 13 percent annual growth, fueling robust dividend increases of 5 to 8 percent.



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