The Dow Jones Utility Average has returned more than 10 percent since early December 2016, outperforming the S&P 500 by a few percentage points. It’s now reached valuations where the risk-reward balance skews to the downside. In this environment, investors should evaluate the macro forces that could bat these stocks about in coming months.
Investors have sold utility stocks en masse, using concerns that rising interest rates will erode the value of future dividends as an excuse to take profits after last year’s rally. This is the pullback we’ve been waiting for, but there could be more downside in store. We highlight two high-quality names to buy now.
Long-term supply contracts ensure that utility yieldcos should maintain their dividends even if the boom in renewable-energy installations goes bust. However, lofty valuations suggest that the market has already priced in a great deal of upside. Tread carefully.
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