Taper talk is heating up again as Federal Reserve Chairman-in-waiting Janet Yellen’s fate is debated on Capitol Hill. Rate hike speculation, however, is having much less impact on essential services stocks than it did this past spring. And one big reason is strong third quarter results.
Only three of the 28 current Conrad’s Utility Investor Portfolio recommendations have yet to report calendar third quarter earnings. That’s plenty of data to identify relevant sector trends, while we assess the health of individual companies.
Since the November issue of Conrad’s Utility Investor went to post, five more portfolio companies have reported calendar third quarter 2013 results. Here are the highlights.
Real industry trends don’t spontaneously occur. They’re forged on the ground by what companies are actually doing. And you spot them by focusing on individual companies’ results, and aggregating your findings.
Fourth quarter is usually a good time to hold utility stocks. But it’s only rarely a good time to buy, as prices often reach yearly highs.
Capital spending plus regulatory support equals rising earnings, dividends and share prices: That’s the formula for superior total returns in utility stocks. And it’s what new Conservative Income Portfolio recommendation SCANA Corp (NYSE: SCG) is locked in to deliver at least to the end of the decade.
It’s been barely two weeks since Washington avoided the first federal government default, at least since the Articles of Confederation were in force. The autumn rally in stocks, however, actually began during the heat of the crisis.
The trigger was long overdue recognition the Federal Reserve isn’t going to abandon loose money until the economy is strong enough to handle it. All the “taper” talk that clogged the airwaves for months proved to be meaningless blather.
That’s hardly the first time conventional wisdom has proven disastrously wrong for the investors who bet on it.
The silver lining is resulting volatility was a solid opportunity to buy good stocks cheap. And thanks to that, we’ve already seen sizeable gains for the Conrad’s Utility Investor Model Portfolios, though they’ve only been around three months.
AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) was the only Conrad’s Utility Investor Portfolio pick to report numbers last week. Takeaway one is quite positive: The results followed closely those of arch-rival and co-Big Two US communications company Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ).
We’ve yet to see third quarter results for most of the US communications industry. But it’s not too soon to ask what happened to the assertion the Big Two US Telecoms — AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) — would be skewered by rivals’ cut rate pricing and a cheaper iPhone.
In the October issue, I added four stocks to the Conrad’s Utility Investor model portfolios.
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Roger's current take and vital statistics on more than 200 essential-services stocks.