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George Fisher

 
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  • Avista: Fully Valued Utility With Adequate Income And Acquisition Potential
    Mon, Aug. 18 GDFZY, AVA 6 Comments

    Summary

    • Current stock valuations leave some room for multiple expansions, but management’s ROIC performance should not be valued at a premium.
    • Avista’s renewable generating assets may be attractive to others.
    • Total returns have been closer to the S&P 500 than the outperformance of the Multi-utility segment.
  • Exelon: Buy The Dip
    Mon, Aug. 18 SO, EXC 17 Comments

    Summary

    • Natural gas pricing will rise in the Northeast.
    • Power demand and pricing is recovering in PJM territories.
    • While the merchant power investment story is being diluted by regulated asset acquisitions, 50% of future earnings will be tied to commodity pricing, which looks promising.
  • Southern Company - Still A Buy, But Currently Fully Valued
    Thu, Aug. 7 SO 8 Comments

    Summary

    • Reduction in Cap Ex budgets will improve the current negative Free Cash Flow Minus Dividends spread.
    • Southern Company’s stock price is fairly valued.
    • Dividend should continue to grow at a 4% annual rate.
  • Utilities And Rising Interest Rates: Fact Or Fiction?
    Mon, Jul. 14 AEP, D, DUK 16 Comments

    Summary

    • History points to rising interest rate cycles of 2004 to 2007, 1993 to 2000, and 1986 to 1989.
    • At the top of the cycle, the yield curve flattens.
    • Utilities continued to provide positive total returns from the beginning of tightening to the end of tightening. Shareholder problems lie in the down cycle, not the up cycle.
  • How Much Money Are You Planning To Lose In Your Bond Portfolio?
    Thu, Jul. 10 AGG, BOND, BND 57 Comments

    Summary

    • Goldman Sachs moves up the date for interest rate hikes, and pegs a 2018 Fed Fund rate at 4.0%.
    • Review past yield curves for a possible glimpse into the future.
    • It is easy to determine interest rate risk for individual bond fund portfolio designs.
  • CLP Holdings: 4.1% Yield Limits Potential Downside
    Mon, Jul. 7 CLPHY 2 Comments

    Summary

    • A turn in Australia’s energy markets is needed to get back on track for even modest dividend growth.
    • CLPHY 10-yr total returns have equaled S&P 500 with a beta of just 0.20. Same return, substantially less volatility.
    • Current share valuations are in line with both CLPHY’s 5-yr average and its US counterparts.
  • Electricity Transmission Assets: No Longer A Crown Jewel?
    Tue, Jun. 24 AEP, DUK, EIX 8 Comments

    Summary

    • FERC is lowering the allowed base ROE for transmission investments.
    • The ROE incentive for transmission investments over state-regulated assets will evaporate for most utilities.
    • The Midwest ISO could experience the highest reduction in profitability based on a 14.5% reduction in allowed ROE.
  • PPL: A Utility Completing Its Evolution
    Mon, Jun. 23 PPL 8 Comments

    Summary

    • PPL is jettisoning its merchant power business by merging with selected assets of Riverstone to form Talen Energy.
    • It seems odd timing, as PJM merchant power pricing seems to finally be improving.
    • Dividend growth going forward will probably remain sub-par.
  • Chicago Bridge And Iron - Speculative Buy
    Fri, Jun. 20 CBI 31 Comments

    Summary

    • CBI has a long history of creating shareholder value, based on its cyclicality. In addition, CBI has a long history of successful acquisitions and integrations.
    • Management needs to reply to the accusations – and the sooner the better. But shareholders should not hold their breath waiting.
    • Even with the current price weakness, CBI is “fairly valued”, and a “speculative buy” until the dust settles.
  • FirstEnergy: Turnaround In Store For Patient Shareholders
    Tue, Jun. 17 EXC, FE 11 Comments

    Summary

    • 2014 should be a trough year for FirstEnergy.
    • After a dividend cut in January, weaker players have been shaken out with trading volume since the announcement about equal to shares outstanding.
    • FirstEnergy is eerily similar to Exelon, but share prices have not mirrored Exelon's 36% total return y-t-d.
  • Consolidated Water: Not Very Compelling Valuation
       • Tue, Jun. 10 ARTNA, AWK, AWR 14 Comments

    Summary

    • While desal is an intriguing industry with growth prospects, Consolidated Water has not been best in class.
    • Operating Cash Flow and Return on Invested Capital has been in a downward spiral for several years.
    • Mexican desal project could be substantial, but will take years to bring on line, after finding a financial sugar daddy.
  • American States Water: Higher Political Risk Makes Watching From The Sidelines Prudent
       • Wed, May. 28 AWK, CTWS, CWT 25 Comments

    Summary

    • With a severe drought in California, the political risks for American State Water increases.
    • American States Water has outperformed the S&P 500, but not so much its peers.
    • Better investment opportunities and lower risk may lie in water utilities serving the Northeast, Southeast, and Eastern Midwest.
  • Utility Firms That Are 'Good In Bed'
    Tue, May. 20 EXC, ITC, NFG 9 Comments

    Summary

    • Look for specific events to positively impact stock valuations over time.
    • Review reasons for lower ROIC leading to lower earnings.
    • “Cause and Effect” is alive and well in utility investment stories, ranging from higher FERC regulated assets to a turn in electricity pricing.
  • Gabelli Pressures National Fuel Gas To Realize Shareholder Value
    Mon, May. 12 NFG 7 Comments

    Summary

    • National Fuel Gas is 33% undervalued, according to Mario Gabelli. Gabelli is beginning to flex his muscles with a 9.1% share of outstanding stock.
    • National Fuel Gas is diversified with gas utility, midstream and E&P assets. It holds the largest acreage in the Marcellus with 800,000 acres. These are mainly fee based, not leases.
    • National Fuel Gas raised earnings guidance to $3.40 - $3.55 a share for FY 2014.
  • UGI Corp.: A Gas Utility That Dividend Growth Investors Can Love
    Mon, May. 12 APU, UGI 15 Comments

    Summary

    • UGI has raised its dividend annually for the past 27 years and has a 130 year history of dividend payouts.
    • UGI has $9.10 per share of interest in AmeriGas Propane LP and is the GP with profitable IDRs.
    • Heating fuel conversion within hook-up range of current pipelines could grow customer base by 41% over time.
  • ITC Holdings Is A Core Utility Asset, Especially For Dividend Growth Investors
    Mon, May. 5 AEP, CNL, ETR 3 Comments

    Summary

    • ITC has offered long-term annual total returns of 11.1% vs. 7.7% for regulated utilities.
    • FERC-Allowed ROE for ITC is between 21% and 38% higher than recent average State-PUC awards.
    • ITC is laser-focused on expanding its Transmission Rate Base between now and 2018.
  • Is Comment Crowdsourcing Correct On Exelon?
    Fri, Apr. 25 EXC 48 Comments

    Summary

    • EXC has been a much maligned stock suggestion.
    • Investors who purchased between July 2005 and December 2011 are still underwater on a total return basis while most all other investors should have a positive total return.
    • Share prices are up 33% since January 2014.
  • Public Service Enterprise: Buy For Transmission Growth
    Tue, Mar. 18 PEG 6 Comments

    Summary

    • 68% of CapEx to be Invested in superior ROE transmission growth.
    • Well-managed balance sheet.
    • Transmission growth will Drive ROIC, EPS and dividend higher.
  • Staples: 'Just Walk Away, Rene'
    Thu, Mar. 13 SPLS 22 Comments

    Summary

    • The long-term looks problematic for Staples.
    • Remedial actions of store closings, layoffs, and pressure for lower vendor costs are indicative of decline in its business model.
    • The best time to invest in the retail sector is when SSS and new stores are growing, not contracting.
  • Southern Company: Investors Sigh Of Relief
    Mon, Mar. 10 SO 35 Comments

    Summary

    • Federal loans tip the balance towards Southern Company investors.
    • Current yield and compelling valuations make Southern Company a core utility holding.
    • Loan guarantees lower Southern Company's risk profile.
  • Exelon: 'Keep On Walkin,' Don't Look Back'
    Tue, Feb. 25 EXC 34 Comments
  • BGC Partners: Buying Cash, Stock, And Growing Commercial Real Estate Exposure
    Sun, Feb. 16 BGCP 12 Comments
  • Piedmont Natural Gas: Safe Small Cap Utility For The Next Market Meltdown
       • Wed, Feb. 12 PNY 36 Comments
  • A Few Reliable High Dividend Utilities
    Tue, Feb. 11 CPK, ETR, GAS 4 Comments
  • Is Niska Gas Storage Worth The Risk Of A 9.1% Yield?
    Mon, Feb. 3 PAA, NKA 4 Comments
  • Utilities For Dividend Growth Investors, Part 2: ITC Holdings
    Mon, Feb. 3 ITC 12 Comments
  • Electricity Spike In Northeast Exposes Investment Opportunities
    Thu, Jan. 30 EXC, NFG, SE 7 Comments
  • Utilities For Dividend Growth Investors, Part 1: Consolidated Edison
    Wed, Jan. 29 NOBL, SDY, VIG 15 Comments
  • American Electric Power: Potentially Better Opportunities Elsewhere
    Fri, Jan. 24 XLU, IDU, ITC 11 Comments
  • Spectra Energy: Gas Utility With Plenty Of Catalysts
    Wed, Jan. 22 DPM, PSX, SEP 33 Comments
  • National Fuel Gas: Getting The Gas Utility For Free
    Fri, Jan. 17 CHK, COG, KMP 5 Comments
  • Deep Freeze Causes Forced Power Generation Outages - Preview OF Future Problems?
    Fri, Jan. 10 KMP, EXC, D 28 Comments