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Executive Summary

Conrad’s Utility Investor at 10 Years: Quality Still King

By Roger S. Conrad on Jul. 10, 2023

The Dow Jones Utility Average finished 2022 more than 20 percentage points ahead of the S&P 500. So far this year, however, utilities are lagging by roughly the same amount.

The S&P 500’s gains are thanks to the continuing surge in big technology stocks, which led by Apple Inc (NSDQ: AAPL) at 7.673 percent are a record 37 percent of the benchmark index. Meanwhile, the DJUA at -4 percent year to date is tracking weakness in dividend paying stocks—as well as sectors considered “cyclical” and vulnerable to Federal Reserve rate increases and still-elevated recession risk.

What we haven’t seen is any real business weakness for utilities. In fact, aside from a handful of competition-hit telecoms, there’s little showing up anywhere among the 174 companies tracked in the Utility Report Card, as my quarterly review of Quality Grades demonstrates.

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