It’s been mere days since Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) announced it will buy Vodafone PLC’s (London: VOD, NYSE: VOD) 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless. And scores of articles and opinions have already been posted.
That’s understandable. At roughly $130 billion, only Vodafone’s takeover of Mannesmann and AOL’s (NYSE: AOL) purchase of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) rank larger in dollars. And both of those deals went off at the inflated valuations of the 1999-2000 generational top for technology and telecom.
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.
It’s practically an article of faith among short sellers that betting against wireline phone companies is close to a sure thing.
That’s likely to prove disastrous, however, in the case of Consolidated Communications (NSDQ: CNSL), the only company in the sector not to cut its original dividend.
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.
Telefonica’s woes can be squarely blamed on aggressive global expansion right up to the great crash of 2008. Revenue growth in Latin America has offset shrinking in Spain and elsewhere in Europe but the Continent’s credit crunch has forced the company to sell assets to reduce its debt load, even as its credit rating has been cut. But things are looking up.
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.