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Feature Article

The Big Picture From the Ground Up

By Roger S. Conrad on Aug. 10, 2020

Many analysts exclusively use big data to discover major economic and stock market trends. My problem with that is if you’re always 30,000 feet up, you’ll miss a lot of what’s happening on the ground.

Utilities and essential services companies touch literally every corner of the economy. Consequently, talking a walk through their results every quarter is a great way to discern big picture trends from the ground up.

So far this year, utility stocks have broadly lagged. The exceptions have been companies that have come to be identified with growing adoption of renewable energy.

The leading US producer of wind and solar energy NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), for example, has returned roughly 20 percent year-to-date. That compares to -2.5 percent for the Dow Jones Utility Average and 4.8 percent for the S&P 500.

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