August was a down month for utilities and other essential services companies—likewise the broad stock market. That continues a trend beginning in late April, when fears first stirred of an end to Federal Reserve easing.
Since then, the Fed has not changed policy. But the markets have acted as though much higher interest rates are a done deal. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury Note yield has nearly doubled. And expectations are we’ll see it at 4 to 5 percent, as the precursor to a dramatic, across the board rise in rates.
Big picture themes always grab investing headlines. Success, however, flows from knowing what’s up with individual companies.
Regulated water utilities, for example, are on their face the very simplest and uniform of businesses. Yet so far in 2013, returns from the 10 companies I track in the Utility Report Card have ranged from a 26 percent gain to barely breaking even.
There weren't any big surprises in our Focus List earnings reports this quarter, which is the way we like it. But there are a lot of bargains in all three portfolios that you can move into now. The story of essential service stocks is just beginning.
Utility stocks might be due for a pullback, but the risks that rising interest rates pose to the sector are overblown.
Nothing destroys shareholder value like a dividend cut. Not only do you lose a portion of your monthly income, but a falling share price can also saddle you with significant capital losses. These are the dividend-paying stocks that are most dangerous to your wealth.
Stepped up targeting of dividend-paying stocks, runaway momentum widening the gap between loved and unloved stocks, and shifting odds of recovery in essential service company investment: These three trends have increasingly shaped returns since spring. And odds are good they’ll continue to the rest of the year.
Roger's favorite utilities for investors seeking superior price appreciation by taking calculated risks.
Harness the tried and true wealth-building power of rising dividends.
Nothing compounds wealth like reinvesting a rising stream of dividends.
Warning: Falling Dividends.
Roger's current take and vital statistics on more than 200 essential-services stocks.