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Investing Topics: Regulated Utilities

New Year, Same Challenges

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 11, 2016
For the 39th time since 1969, the Dow Jones Utilities Average rallied in the fourth quarter. But this upside didn’t prevent the benchmark from finishing the year with a 3.1 percent loss, the index’s first negative return after a positive January since 1987. Fortunately, the primary catalyst for the loss—uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve would start raising interest rates—no longer exists. And just like the beginning of the 2004-06 tightening cycle, utility stocks have gained ground despite weakness in the broader market. But last year’s challenges remain in play for 2016. Energy prices have yet to find a bottom. Non-investment grade debt has become crushingly expensive to refinance, tightening capital markets for all but the strongest companies. Emerging markets continue to struggle. And any international currency not pegged to the US dollar find itself under pressure. The Quality Grades for the 214 essential-service companies tracked in our Utility Report Card provide insight into the spectrum of risk and help investors to avoid the riskiest names.

New Year, Time-Tested Strategy

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 11, 2016
By most measures, last year was a difficult time for income-seeking investors, as anticipation of the Federal Reserve’s first rate hike since 2006 weighed on sentiment toward dividend-paying stocks. Here’s our strategy for 2016.

Kind of a Big Deal

By Roger S. Conrad on Jan. 11, 2016
After closing a big deal, this Northeast utility has the financial wherewithal and opportunity set to drive annual dividend growth of 10 percent in coming years.

Quality on Sale

By Roger S. Conrad on Dec. 6, 2015
This electric utility hiked its quarterly dividend by 8.2 percent--and there's more upside to come.

Conference Reflections

By Roger S. Conrad on Nov. 16, 2015
We highlight some of the key investment themes that stood out after three days of presentations and talking to management teams at the Edison Electric Institute's annual financial conference.

Solar Power: Not a Death Knell for Utilities

By Roger S. Conrad on Nov. 10, 2015
After the first day of presentations and meetings at the Edison Electric Conference's 50th Annual Financial Conference, one theme stands out: increasing adoption of solar power doesn't sound the death knell for regulated electric utilities. In fact, this would-be disruptor creates a huge growth opportunity for incumbent power producers.

A Sleep-Easy Strategy in Uncertain Times

By Roger S. Conrad on Nov. 7, 2015
Having confidence in your holdings’ underlying businesses makes it easier to endure a volatile market without losing too much sleep.

Best Opportunities in a Bear Market

By Roger S. Conrad on Nov. 7, 2015
Narrowing market leadership and other technical indicators suggest the risk of US equities sliding into a bear market next year has increased. We highlight some of the best opportunities in our coverage universe so that you know where to pounce when the time comes.

Refocused on Growth

By Roger S. Conrad on Nov. 7, 2015
This company is poised for growth after divesting a money-losing business.

Four Stress Tests for Your Portfolio Holdings

By Roger S. Conrad on Oct. 12, 2015
How comfortable would you be holding your stocks in a bear market? With the bull market show its age—including consistently bad breadth—this question has taken on new urgency as the year winds down.

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ABOUT ROGER CONRAD

Roger S. Conrad needs no introduction to individual and professional investors, many of whom have profited from his decades of experience uncovering the best dividend-paying stocks for accumulating sustainable wealth. Roger b