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Executive Summary

Strong 2018 Earnings Bode Well for 2019

By Roger S. Conrad on Mar. 10, 2019

There are only a few weeks left in first quarter 2019. And still a handful of Utility Report Card coverage universe companies haven’t reported calendar fourth quarter numbers and guidance.

Unfortunately, tardy filings are par for the course this time of year, when most companies make full-on annual reports rather than quarterly updates. But there’s already been plenty revealed that has critical implications for investors during the rest of 2019.

This month’s Report Card has the particulars for almost all of the companies that didn’t report in time for the February issue. Putting together everything we’ve learned so far, the most important takeaway is, to a company, our Portfolio recommendations didn’t disappoint.

In fact, Aggressive Holding Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (NYSE: HASI) justified our faith holding onto it over the past year by returning to dividend growth. That news pushed its shares to a new all-time high this month. And as the “Portfolio Holdings Trading Above Target” table in the Portfolio Article shows, it’s hardly alone in making a run.

The big question with high-flying stocks is where to draw the line with potential entry points. I follow the rule that if a company rates A under my Quality Grade system, I’ll pay up to the point where dividend yield plus growth is at least 10 percent. I’ll demand a higher return for B rated companies and so on. If the return is less, I wait for a better price.

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