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Executive Summary

Focus on Fundamentals

By Roger S. Conrad on Apr. 13, 2018

From potential trade wars to a possible hot war in the Middle East, the stock market has encountered numerous headline risks since early February. Meanwhile, the US economy continues to grow at a solid clip and inflation remains in check—sure-fire fuel for a bull market.

Investors should continue to focus on fundamentals, especially the health of the companies represented in their portfolios.

Our proprietary Quality Grades rate the more than 200 essential-service companies covered in our Utility Report Card from A (best) to F (worst). We break down the criteria that factor into our grading system and highlight several names on our watch list for potential inclusion in our model portfolios.

In recent months, we’ve taken advantage of temporary selloffs in names with high-quality franchises and encouraging growth prospects. Recent portfolio additions Comcast Corp (NSDQ: CMCSA) and Edison International (NYSE: EIX) still offer good value for savvy investors, while recent weakness in Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) strikes us as unwarranted and overdone.

Although the Utility Report Cardcontains fewer Sell-rated stocks after the recent pullback in the utility sector, investors should continue to steer clear of the names on our Endangered Dividends List.

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