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Feature Article

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. As I’ve noted before, it’s rare when a company manages a repeat showing on the Top 10 or Bottom 10 from the previous year. ExxonMobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) was the exception for the outperformers this year, while delisted Just Energy and Altice USA (NYSE: ATUS) were once again first and second place among outperformers.

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