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Executive Summary

Stay Focused

By Roger S. Conrad on Feb. 13, 2017

The outlook for interest rates and uncertainties surrounding the Trump administration’s policies likely top most investors’ list of concerns in early 2017.

However, investors shouldn’t take their eye off their portfolio holdings’ underlying businesses and future growth prospects.

Despite the conventional wisdom that rising interest rates are bad news for utility stocks, the Dow Jones Utility Average has gained more than 20 percent since the Federal Reserve began increasing the benchmark rate in December 2015.

These returns reflect the upward drift in the broader market and delivering on guidance for earnings and dividend growth.

Strong fourth-quarter results and company-specific developments—not the latest tweet from President Donald Trump—are behind NextEra Energy Partners LP’s (NYSE: NEP) strong returns in the new year.

Meanwhile, the recent selloff in Dominion Resources’ (NYSE: D) stock reflects a combination of high expectations and an unexpected revision to the company’s 2017 guidance, not the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

Nowhere in our coverage universe are hopes higher and easier to dash than in names that traders have bid up as potential takeover targets.

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