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Executive Summary

Surviving the Taper Trade

By Roger S. Conrad on Dec. 3, 2013

Barring a real financial earthquake, this will be the ninth year of rising interest rates since 1992.

2013 will also be the eighth of those nine that utilities and other dividend paying stocks finished in the black. The only exception was 1994, when deregulation fears upended electricity and communications.

Utilities also rose eight years when rates fell. All their biggest declines, however, were during years of falling interest rates, particularly 2008.

Utility stock prices ultimately reflect the health of underlying companies. Stocks of financially healthy companies with growing dividends always move higher. But when an economic calamity brings interest rates lower quickly, they can drop in a hurry.

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