The S&P 500 is still holding onto about half its early 2023 gains. But like other dividend-paying stocks, utilities have gone into reverse this spring, with the Dow Jones Utility Average underwater by nearly 6 percent year-to-date. High inflation and rising interest rates are certainly playing a role in the underperformance. But a more important reason may be investors’ disappointment that last year’s Inflation Reduction Act didn’t spark a more robust industry response. In retrospect, the warning shot was the negative reaction to otherwise quite robust Q4 results and guidance from NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) back in late January. And America’s leading renewable energy generator as a result is this month’s Conservative Focus stock.
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