iShares U.S. Utilities ETF
 (IDU)

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  • Jun. 18, 2014, 6:41 PM
    • Investors plowed $1.2B into U.S. utilities sector ETFs during the past five days, signaling skepticism that an economic recovery is strong enough to eventually lift interest rates.
    • Military conquests in Iraq by Islamic insurgents over the past week probably fueled the trend, and the Fed said today that interest rates will stay low for a considerable period even amid economic growth after it stops buying back bonds; utility stocks responded, with the S&P 500 Utilities Index jumping 2.2% in its biggest one-day gain since last September.
    • The FXG and FXU ETFs enjoyed record cash inflows June 16, according to data compiled by Bloomberg; State Street’s Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) was the best-performing sector ETF in the past week, attracting $468M.
    • ETFs: IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, PUI, FXU, SDP
    | Jun. 18, 2014, 6:41 PM
  • Jun. 3, 2014, 7:02 PM
    | Jun. 3, 2014, 7:02 PM | 7 Comments
  • Jun. 3, 2014, 12:45 PM
    | Jun. 3, 2014, 12:45 PM | 6 Comments
  • Jun. 2, 2014, 7:27 PM
    • Representatives of the coal and utility industries criticized proposed new U.S. emissions rules for power plants, but WSJ reports that some were relieved the outcome wasn't worse.
    • The industries had been hoping the EPA would apply emission reduction standards from a baseline of 2005, and they feared the EPA draft would use a more recent, and thus tougher-to-meet baseline, but the Obama administration decided on 2005 after all.
    • Coal-fired power plants won't have much difficulty meeting the EPA's mandate for a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, an industry lobbyist says, since carbon emissions from coal plants have dropped 14% since 2005 (also).
    • However, coal companies and electric plants remain concerned about an earlier deadline to reduce emissions 25% by 2020; other big consumers of power, such as steel mills, say they too could have a tough time with the new rules.
    • ETFs: XLE, XLU, TAN, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, FCG, VPU, DIG, KWT, GASL, DUG, SLX, IYE, GASX, PXJ, FENY, RYE, UPW, FUTY, RYU, FXN, FXU, DDG, SDP
    | Jun. 2, 2014, 7:27 PM | 17 Comments
  • Jun. 2, 2014, 3:31 PM
    • Walter Energy (WLT -6.3%) shares aren't helped by the coal producer's statement that new EPA proposals aimed at controlling carbon emissions from U.S. power plants should have no material impact on the company; in fact, WLT is down more than peers: CNX +1.1%, BTU +0.1%, CLD -0.3%, ACI -2.8%, ANR -4.6%.
    • Long-term losers also will include electric companies that burn lots of coal - such as American Electric Power (AEP +0.1%), Duke Energy (DUK -0.3%), Southern Co. (SO -0.3%) and NRG Energy (NRG -0.1%) - but stiff regulations have been expected for some time.
    • Likely winners include companies that pump natural gas and those that use it as their primary fuel, such as Calpine (CPN +0.3%), and companies that operate nuclear plants that generate little carbon but have been expensive to run, such as Exelon (EXC -1%), hope that their aging plants will become more competitive.
    • A reduction in coal-fired capacity would increase utilities' demand for natural gas by 3B-10B cf/day from 22B cf/day now, potential benefiting major natural gas producers like Chesapeake Energy (CHK +2.1%), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG -0.8%) and Range Resources (RRC -0.6%).
    • ETFs: XLE, XLU, TAN, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, FCG, VPU, DIG, GASL, DUG, IYE, GASX, PXJ, FENY, RYE, UPW, FUTY, RYU, FXN, FXU, DDG, SDP
    | Jun. 2, 2014, 3:31 PM | 26 Comments
  • Jun. 1, 2014, 9:04 AM
    • Utility company equities took a "what me worry" attitude this week to Barclays' downgrade of the debt of the entire electric sector thanks to long-term challenges from solar and storage. "In the 100+ year history of the electric utility industry, there has never before been a truly cost-competitive substitute available for grid power," says Barclays, but that's changing before our eyes.
    • The cost of solar + storage for residential customers is already competitive with the price of grid power in Hawaii, says Barclays, and could soon follow in California, New York, and Arizona, with many other states soon after.
    • Utility investors (at least on the credit side), says Barclays, are depending on a continuation of the "regulatory compact" - in which utilities keep the lights on in exchange for low-risk returns - to protect them from the disruptive forces at hand. It's worked in the past, but "technological change creates precisely the environment where slower-moving incumbents and their regulators can fall behind the curve, risking credit volatility."
    • Seeing "a rare opportunity," Barclays recommends credit investors underweight the electric sector against the broader U.S. Corporate index (AGG), and rotate out of paper issued by utilities in areas where solar is closer to being competitive.
    • ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, PUI, FXU, SDP, PSCU
    | Jun. 1, 2014, 9:04 AM
  • May 30, 2014, 4:32 PM
    | May 30, 2014, 4:32 PM | 4 Comments
  • May 30, 2014, 10:39 AM
    • Morgan Stanley analysts are convinced Pres. Obama's plan for cutting carbon emissions from existing power plants will call for a greater than 17% reduction when it is unveiled early next week, meaning the impact on coal demand would be “substantial” in the long term.
    • In 2009, Obama called for a 17% cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2020; if he were to stick to that target, the industry might not feel too much pain since lower coal plant output already has cut U.S. power-sector carbon emissions by ~11% since 2005.
    • NYT reported this week that Obama will use his authority to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants by up to 20%, in turn spurring the creation of a state cap-and-trade program.
    • ETFs: XLE, XLU, TAN, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, FCG, VPU, DIG, GASL, DUG, IYE, GASX, PXJ, FENY, RYE, UPW, FUTY, RYU, FXN, FXU, DDG, SDP
    | May 30, 2014, 10:39 AM | 10 Comments
  • May 28, 2014, 7:23 PM
    • Pres. Obama’s plan to combat climate change could cost the U.S. economy $50B/year and destroy more than 200K jobs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argues in a new study that comes out just days before the EPA is expected to lay out new guidelines aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions, largely by shifting the nation away from the use of coal.
    • The EPA hopes to reduce the percentage of U.S. electricity generated by coal to 14% by 2030 from 37% today, while the amount of electricity generated by natural gas would rise to 46% by 2030 from 30% now.
    • Groups supporting the new EPA goals say they will make the U.S. more energy efficient, cut household energy costs and even create thousands of new jobs; the Natural Resources Defense Council comes out with a report tomorrow making those claims.
    • ETFs: XLE, XLU, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, FCG, VPU, DIG, GASL, DUG, IYE, GASX, PXJ, FENY, RYE, UPW, FUTY, RYU, FXN, FXU, DDG, SDP
    | May 28, 2014, 7:23 PM | 62 Comments
  • May 27, 2014, 2:30 PM
    • The utility sector is among the day's best performers after the annual capacity auction at PJM Interconnection, which runs the largest U.S. power grid, forecasts payments to electricity producers will jump to $120/MW-day vs. $59.37 in the previous 12-month period and expectations of $75-$100.
    • The higher capacity price is a boon to power producers, which rely on the payments as baseline revenues; the auction results are viewed as another endorsement of natural gas.
    • The outlook is particularly favorable for Exelon (EXC +3.9%) and FirstEnergy (FE +6%), according to S&P's Aneesh Prabhu; PPL Corp. (PPL +2.9%) also benefits, especially considering that the price in its region was expected to fall.
    • The price for Public Service Electric & Gas' (PEG -0.2%) utility territory in northern New Jersey was set at $215/MW-day, down from $219 a year earlier.
    • ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, DBE, RJN, UPW, FUTY, RYU, PUI, FXU, JJE, SDP, ONG, RGRE, UBN
    | May 27, 2014, 2:30 PM | 9 Comments
  • May 27, 2014, 11:59 AM
    • The Obama administration is planning to introduce next week a new climate-change initiative that would allow states to use cap-and-trade systems, renewable energy and other measures to reduce carbon emissions by existing power plants.
    • The proposal, which would affect hundreds of power plants nationwide, is designed to allow states some flexibility in meeting benchmarks instead of placing emissions limits on individual plants.
    • The EPA is scheduled to complete the rule by June 2015 with states submitting their plans the following yea. but likely lawsuits and political opposition could easily upend that timeline.
    • ETFs: XLE, XLU, TAN, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, VPU, DIG, DUG, IYE, PXJ, RYE, FENY, UPW, FUTY, RYU, FXN, PUI, FXU, DDG, SDP, PSCU
    | May 27, 2014, 11:59 AM | 11 Comments
  • May 23, 2014, 6:35 PM
    • Regional transmission organization PJM says its recent auction to procure power supplies for 2017-18 resulted in a clearing price for resources - which includes generation, annual demand response and energy efficiency - which rose to $120/MW-day for most of its deliverability area.
    • PJM, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and D.C., says the auction continued an overall trend toward more gas-fired generation and increasing diversity of resources.
    • PPL, Exelon (EXC), American Electric Power (AEP), Duke Energy (DUK), Dominion Resources (D) and FirstEnergy (FE) are all up ~1% AH.
    • Earlier, Barclays downgraded the entire electric sector of the U.S. high-grade corporate bond market to underweight, saying it sees long-term challenges to electric utilities from solar energy which aren't yet priced in.
    • ETFs: XLU, LQD, IDU, VPU, CORP, CFT, UPW, FUTY, RYU, FXU, QLTA, SDP, IGHG, COBO, IGS, CBND, IGU, QLTB
    | May 23, 2014, 6:35 PM | 3 Comments
  • May 20, 2014, 7:15 PM
    • Environmentalists are angry at the Obama administration's scaled-back regulation meant to keep fish from being sucked into the water intakes of factories and power plants.
    • The EPA regulation issued yesterday specified a range of at least seven options facility operators can use to reduce the 2B fish, crab or shrimp that die each year in water intakes, but critics say the agency left too many decisions with state regulators and are threatening to sue to force tougher action.
    • Power companies operating large coal or nuclear plants such as Entergy (ETR), Exelon (EXC), Duke Energy (DUK) and Dominion (D) had urged the EPA to grant flexibility and time to meet the water-intake standards, and generally were satisfied with the outcome.
    • ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, PUI, FXU, SDP, PSCU, UTLT
    | May 20, 2014, 7:15 PM | 39 Comments
  • May 16, 2014, 5:03 AM
    • The White House is considering forcing power plants to cut carbon emissions by 25% over a 15-year period, Bloomberg reports.
    • The problem is that owners can only cut so much of a facility's emissions by increasing efficiency, so a lot of the reduction could have to come by "going outside the fence," such as by deepening the use of renewable energy, improving grid efficiency and encouraging customers to use less electricity.
    • Trying to compel operators to rely on such external measures could run afoul of what the government is allowed to do under the Clean Air Act.
    • ETFs: KOL, XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, PUI, UPW, FXU, SDP, PSCU, FUTY, UTLT
    • Coal Tickers: PCXCQ, BTU, WLT, CNX, ACI, ANR, JRCC, YZC, ARLP, AHGP, NRP, PVR, PVG, PVA, OXF, CLD, WLB, RNO
    • Utilities: ED, POM, PEG, FE, NST, UTL, ETR, EXC, D, NU, PCG, DUK
    | May 16, 2014, 5:03 AM | 126 Comments
  • May 14, 2014, 5:55 PM
    • Utility stocks have been the top performer in the S&P 500, up 11% YTD, but they’ve started to wane - down 2.7% so far in May - and that may not bode well for the broad market, WSJ's Steve Russolillo writes.
    • Strength in utilities suggests investors have taken a more defensive mindset in 2014 compared to last year’s big rally, and if demand for the group continues to fade and struggling momentum names fail to step up, the entire rally would seem to be in trouble.
    • Whether utilities remain on top could foreshadow how the broad market performs in the months ahead, Russolillo concludes.
    • ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, PUI, FXU, SDP, PSCU, UTLT
    | May 14, 2014, 5:55 PM | 3 Comments
  • Apr. 29, 2014, 11:48 AM
    • The U.S. Supreme Court hands the Obama administration an important environmental victory by upholding a rule that requires aging power plants to sharply reduce emissions that contribute to unhealthy air in neighboring states.
    • The 6-2 ruling breathes new life into the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which requires 28 states to reduce power-plant emissions that hurt air quality in states located downwind.
    • The regulation could affect ~1,000 power plants in the eastern half of the U.S that may have to adopt new pollution controls or reduce operations.
    • ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, PUI, FUTY, FXU, SDP, PSCU, UTLT
    | Apr. 29, 2014, 11:48 AM | 10 Comments
IDU Description
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Sector Index Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of U.S. utilities stocks, as represented by the Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Index.
See more details on sponsor's website
Sector: Utilities
Country: United States
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