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Executive Summary

Utilities Start Slow but the Best Will Finish Fast

By Roger S. Conrad on Mar. 8, 2021

For the 17th year since 1984, the Dow Jones Utility Average ended the month of January in the red (-1.4 percent). And utilities have dropped further, with the DJUA down slightly less than 5 percent for the first 9 weeks or so of 2021.

The good news: 10 of those years, utilities ended higher. And only in 2008, 2002, 2001 and 1994 were they meaningfully lower.

This week, the historic bull market enters its 13th year. So while there reasons for optimism such as the waning of the pandemic, we can’t rule out a real 2008-style bear market or a short, steep drop like last year.

After underperforming the past 12 months, utilities are one of the market’s least owned sectors. And despite the solid Q4 earnings and guidance I highlight in Utility Report Card, many best in class companies sell for their most discounted valuations and highest yields in years.

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