Last week, the Dow Jones Utility Average hit a new high for 2021. But unlike most market sectors, utilities as a group still can’t seem to get over the hump of making a new all-time high. And as this issue of CUI goes to post, the DJUA is still roughly 2 percent below where it crested in mid-February 2020.
Since the July issue went to post, the Dow Jones Utility Average has generally trended higher. The result is the half-year return of less than 3 percent has grown to over 9 percent. One key reason: Solid Q2 results and strong guidance updates issued by the average’s 15 members. That includes this month’s Aggressive Focus stock AES Corp (NYSE: AES).
The Aggressive Holdings returned an average of 7.95 percent in the first half of the 2021. Conservative Holdings came in at 5.28 percent, while Top 10 DRIPs did the best at 12.34 percent. The average return for all 41 stocks across the portfolios was 8.1 percent.
Perceived value always sets the price for stocks. And anyone who’s invested a while knows that can shift on a dime, as leaders and laggards trade places. Quality doesn’t change so quickly. That’s the health and growth of companies’ underlying businesses.
We start this month’s Portfolio strategy discussion with the three cornerstones of our investment strategy: 1) Sell stocks of companies that are weakening as businesses, 2) Build a pile of cash by unloading weakening companies and also taking partial profits on favorites that have run to unsustainable valuations, 3) Build a watch list of high quality companies to buy when they hit designated entry points.
Conservative Holdings up 2.6 percent, Aggressive Holdings ahead by 12.8 percent, Top 10 DRIPS a -12 percent loss. Those are the CUI Portfolio returns for 2020. By comparison, the Dow Jones Utility Average gained 1.5 percent, also including dividends paid. And the popular Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSE: XLU) was up 0.07 percent.
We still have a few weeks left in 2020. But whatever happens, this will go down as one of the most eventful years in stock market history. There’s certainly plenty to recap already. The rapid swing from historic profit-taking opportunity in mid-February to equally compelling Dream Buy barely a month later is certainly without precedent in my career.
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