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Feature Article

Atlantica Yield: Big Dividend and Possibly for Sale

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 10, 2023

Algonquin Power & Utilities (TSX: AQN, NYSE: AQN) will update strategy on January 12 with an “Investor Update Call.” One potential course of action: The sale of its 42.49 percent interest in Aggressive Holding Atlantica Yield (NSDQ: AY). Expectations were high when Algonquin purchased ownership in the yieldco from its initial parent, bankrupt Spanish engineering firm Abengoa SA. And while the pace of drop downs to fuel growth has been tepid, the association has been positive for both sides—Atlantica’s dividend is now 6 percent higher than in December 2015, when it suspended its payout to deal with Abengoa’s cross-defaults.

Dominion Energy: Long-Term Quality at a Discount

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 10, 2023

Investors hate uncertainty. So it’s understandable that Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) shares sold off in early November, when the company replaced its CFO and announced a “top to bottom” strategic review. CEO Bob Blue stated the company would pursue “value-maximizing” actions, including “alternatives to our current business mix and capital allocation.” Dominion shares, however, now arguably price in the opposite: A cut in 6 percent annual earnings and dividend growth guidance to low single digits or worse.

Lessons from a (Slightly) Positive Year

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 10, 2023

Exactly half of our portfolio stocks posted positive total returns in 2022 and half negative. That matches up pretty well with the mostly neutral returns posted by our Aggressive Holdings (up 3.5 percent), Conservative Holdings (up 1.3 percent) and Top 10 DRIPs (up 9.5 percent). It’s also right there with the Dow Jones Utility Average’s 2.08 percent total return for the year. But the overall numbers do mask some pretty massive divergence among individual holdings. The biggest is the 156.5 percentage point difference in performance between our best stock Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) and our worst Algonquin Power & Utilities (TSX: AQN, NYSE: AQN).

Where Dividend Risk Lies in 2023

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 10, 2023

We won’t have to wait long to hear Algonquin Power & Utilities’ (TSX: AQN, NYSE: AQN) plan for its dividend this year. The company’s Investor Call on January 12 will likely include revised guidance along with plans to corral debt and the Kentucky Power acquisition from American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP)—now blocked by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Shares are pricing in a dividend cut of at least one-third. What management decides will likely depend on how fast it wants to reduce roughly $3.4 billion in variable rate debt, and whether it walks away from Kentucky Power.

Picks and Pans for a (Likely) Challenging 2023

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 10, 2023

The Dow Jones Utility Average outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 20 percentage points in 2022. And it did so despite the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rising from barely 1.5 percent to nearly 4 percent—no doubt baffling investors who consider utilities “bond alternatives.” As my table “Best and Worst of 2022” makes clear, however, there were some pretty dramatic divergences of share price performance inside the headline numbers. That’s clear from the 206.6 percentage point difference between the top and bottom performer of my Conrad’s Utility Investor coverage universe. And even a brief glance at this month’s Utility Report Card comments shows total returns are all over the map for the rest as well.

Enel SpA: Non-Core Asset Sales Keep Growth and Dividends onTrack

By Roger S. Conrad on Dec. 12, 2022

Europe’s unfolding energy crisis, rising interest rates and a heavy debt load: That accounts for elevated investor skepticism this year that Italy-based Enel SpA (Italy: ENEL, OTC: ENLAY) can hold to guidance of 10 to 13 percent earnings growth or even its generous dividend.

Southern Company: Safe and Faster Dividend Growth Ahead

By Roger S. Conrad on Dec. 12, 2022

Being the first mover in a new technology means taking risks later adopters don’t. And Conservative Holding Southern Company (NYSE: SO) felt the pain of a $6 billion write off when its once-promising clean coal project in Mississippi failed in the previous decade.

Relatively Strong but Proceeding with Caution

By Roger S. Conrad on Dec. 12, 2022

Even if the stock and bond markets manage a year-end rally of historic proportions, 2022 will go down as one of the more challenging for investors in memory. But with basically three weeks left in the year, the Dow Jones Utility Average is still very much in the black.

No Cuts this Month but a Longer List

By Roger S. Conrad on Dec. 12, 2022

The Endangered Dividends List has two new members this month: Algonquin Power & Utilities (TSX: AQN, NYSE: AQN) and Vodafone Group (London: VOD, NYSE: VOD).

The Debt Issue: Danger and High Yield Opportunity

By Roger S. Conrad on Dec. 12, 2022

For most of the past two decades, it’s been a sellers’ market for bonds and fixed income. Large institutions like pension funds have had literally no choice but to fill the bond portion of portfolios with whatever was for sale. And even when there’s been upward pressure on rates, financially strong companies have been able to wait for what’s been an inevitable return to better conditions—and the chance to issue new bonds at lower coupon rates.



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