Thu, Feb. 12, 7:21 PM
- Stocks "take the stairs up and the elevator down," and the recent performance of the utilities sector is a prime example.
- In just two weeks, the sector's fortunes have reversed and has given up nearly all of its outperformance vs. the S&P 500; the Utilities Sector ETF set an all-time intraday high on Jan. 28, coinciding with the trough in Treasury yields; rising yields since the end of January have killed the allure of a 3% dividend yield on the Utility Sector ETF.
- Even today, as the market moved broadly higher, utilities fell; AGL Resources (NYSE:GAS) and Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU) were two of the major laggards.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, FUTY, UPW, PUI, FXU, SDP, PSCU
Fri, Jan. 30, 2:59 PM
- The broad averages are moderately in the red, and would be even more so if it wasn't for energy (XLE +1%), solidly higher as oil flies upward by nearly 8% into the close.
- ETFs: XLE, ERX, VDE, OIH, ERY, DIG, DUG, IYE, FENY, PXJ, RYE, FXN, DDG
- What's doing worse than energy this year? That would be financials, and the XLF is lower by another 0.95% in today's session. Also faring poorly are utilities (XLU -1.3%), health care (XLV -0.8%), and consumer staples (XLP -1.2%).
Sat, Jan. 17, 8:28 AM
- Up for discussion is not necessarily where oil prices are going (who knows?), but the effect of the recent plunge in price on the economy.
- Summing up the bear case is Felix Zulauf who says It'll hurt the economy dramatically thanks to lower capital spending, and he notes a lot of oilfield jobs are high-paying ones. Consumers will benefit from lower energy costs, but will save the money instead of spending it. If lower oil prices benefit consumer discretionary spending, says Marc Faber, why did 89% of S&P consumer discretionary companies (NYSEARCA:XLY) offering Q4 guidance issue negative guidance?
- Those are lagging figures, says Mario Gabelli, reminding the big collapse in prices only came around Thanksgiving and the effects are just beginning to show up in the form of lower credit card statements. "I talk to the guys who are pumping gas, and they say the consumer is buying more beer."
- Also on the bullish side is Abby Cohen, who reminds the transportation (NYSEARCA:IYT) and utility companies (NYSEARCA:XLU) are major consumers of energy, and her team at Goldman sees the oil decline as boosting S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) profits this year.
- Barron's Roundtable Part 1
Tue, Jan. 6, 12:59 PM
- While not truly bearish on the sector, Baird analysts make the case that utility stocks are fully valued after equaling or surpassing the firm's price expectations after enjoying substantial strength in 2014, and Q1 shapes up as a difficult period for utility stocks to outperform.
- Baird rates only four utility stocks as Outperform: Allete (NYSE:ALE), whose above-average EPS growth the firm believes merits a premium to the industry; CMS Energy (NYSE:CMS), with an extensive pipeline of infrastructure investments supported by a constructive regulatory environment; UIL Holdings (NYSE:UIL), a smaller utility that could have solid upside for income accounts looking for conservative stocks; and Vectren (NYSE:VVC), which sports above average growth opportunities via its very stable utility subsidiaries.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, FUTY, UPW, FXU, SDP
Dec. 26, 2014, 4:25 PM
Dec. 19, 2014, 6:23 PM
- The EPA released new rules for the disposal of coal ash in the first U.S. guidelines for dealing with the waste generated by burning coal, but the rules are not as stringent as environmentalists had wanted.
- The rules require power companies to close ponds containing ash slurry if they are structurally unsound or have contaminated groundwater and are not lined with materials that prevent leaks; some of the 150-plus coal ash disposal sites that have contaminated nearby groundwater may be forced to shut down.
- However, the rules do not classify coal ash as a hazardous waste, which would have added tougher handling requirements and higher costs; the EPA will leave it up to state regulators to ensure that companies meet the new requirements.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, FUTY, UPW, PUI, FXU, SDP, PSCU
Dec. 19, 2014, 2:19 PM
Nov. 26, 2014, 1:05 PM
- The EPA formally proposes reducing ground-level emissions limits to 65-70 ppb from their current level of 75 ppb, and says it will take comments on possibly cutting limits to 60 ppb, a standard favored by environmental and public health groups.
- The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers warns, “This regulation promises to be the most expensive in U.S. history," which it says could lead to millions of jobs lost and hundreds of billions of dollars every year in costs to U.S. businesses.
- Back in 2011, the EPA itself estimated that such a standard could cost businesses as much as $90B/year; in the new proposal, the EPA estimates costs of no more than $15B in 2025.
- ETFs: XLE, XLU, ERX, VDE, IDU, KOL, OIH, VPU, ERY, DIG, DUG, IYE, FENY, PXJ, RYU, UPW, RYE, FUTY, FXN, FXU, SDP, DDG
Nov. 24, 2014, 2:34 PM
- "While the thirst for yield is understandable, it may be leading investors to overpay and take on hidden risks," says BlackRock CIO Russ Koesterich, noting defensive sectors like utilities (NYSEARCA:XLU) and consumer staples (NYSEARCA:XLP) are priced aggressively, but carry high interest rate sensitivity. Should rates rise even modestly in 2015, these sectors (REITs too) are likely to perform poorly.
- Yield can be found elsewhere, though, he says, pointing out cyclical sectors and high yield as areas to benefit from the improving economy.
- ETFs: XLU, XLP, IDU, VPU, VDC, FXG, RYU, UPW, FUTY, RHS, FSTA, PUI, FXU, PSL, SDP, PSCC, PSCU
Nov. 13, 2014, 2:55 PM
- Chief execs of the top U.S. coal-burning utilities predict blackouts and rising power bills if they are not given more time to achieve greenhouse gas emission cuts described in the new climate agreement with China.
- A proposed timeline for cutting pollution from power plants threatens to shutter coal-fired plants before enough new generation can be built to replace lost supplies, say CEOs of Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) and American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP).
- The challenges go beyond the cost and time it would take to build new plants to replace coal units forced into retirement, Southern's Thomas Fanning and AEP's Nick Akins say; there’s not enough pipeline capacity to carry the natural gas that would be needed by all the newly built gas-fired power plants spawned by the EPA's proposals.
- Southern would have to retire more than 9K mw of coal-fueled generators and add ~5,400 mw of natural gas plants by 2020 under plans envisioned by EPA, Fanning says.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, UPW, FUTY, PUI, FXU
Nov. 12, 2014, 6:57 PM
- Utility stocks tumbled today amid Pres. Obama's plan with China to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and will renew a push by environmental activists to deny government approval of pipeline projects such as Keystone XL (NYSE:TRP) and Alberta Clipper (NYSE:ENB) that would carry Canadian oil sands crude to U.S. refineries.
- “Achieving these goals will almost certainly require changes to the implementation of the EPA power plant regulations,” Council on Foreign Relations analyst Michael Levi says, referring to draft rules issued by the EPA in June that already have sparked pushback.
- Congressional Republicans, soon to have a majority in the Senate in addition to the House, promise to do everything possible to stop Obama’s emissions targets for power plants; the administration believes GOP gains mean Obama will not get legislative help in achieving his goals but that Republicans are unlikely to be able to stop executive orders and environmental regulations.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, FXU, SDP
Nov. 12, 2014, 2:14 PM
- Utility stocks, among the year’s top performing sectors in the market, are sharply lower today - a bad sign, says Weeden & Co. head researcher Michael Purves, who believes now is the time to reduce or hedge utility holdings such as the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU -1.9%).
- Ultra-low bond yields have made utility stock payouts look good by comparison., but valuations have been moving up; Purves says the rally has put XLU’s P/E ratio for the next 12 months at 17.4x, near a 10-year high.
- Investors ought to “start to take profits, given the run was getting long in the teeth,” Purves writes.
- The top 10 XLU holdings are all lower today: DUK -2.5%, NEE -1.7%, D -1.9%, SO -1.4%, EXC -2.8%, AEP -2%, SRE -1.7%, PPL -1.8%, PCG -1%, PEG -2.8%.
- Other ETFs: IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, FXU, PUI, SDP
Oct. 9, 2014, 4:00 PM
- It's unlikely that the strong dollar will impact Q3 earnings as much as people think, Diane Garnick, CEO of global asset management firm Clear Alternatives says. But it will impact Q4 earnings. We're likely to see companies meet or exceed earnings in Q3, but give downward forecasts for Q4, she says.
- Companies with bigger international exposure, like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) will lower their estimates more. The same is true for sectors dominated by companies with global exposure like financials (NYSEARCA:XLF).
- Conversely, companies like Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) who are almost all U.S. dollar based will be less impacted by a stronger dollar. Also relevant for ETFs like XLP and XLU.
- Link: Reuters Insider
Oct. 3, 2014, 4:18 PM
Sep. 19, 2014, 2:14 PM
Sep. 18, 2014, 12:53 PM
- Banks, insurers, brokerages and anything else starved for yield continue to gain following yesterday's FOMC news. Among the gainers are Bank of America (BAC +1.9%) - which breaks above $17 for the first time since April - Citigroup (C +2.7%), Wells Fargo (WFC +1.1%), PNC (PNC +1.1%), Fifth Third (FITB +1.7%), SunTrust (STI +1.2%), Schwab (SCHW +2.3%), Prudential (PRU +2.5%), and Lincoln National (LNC +2.4%).
- The XLF +1.2%, KBE +1.5%, and KRE +2%.
- Financial sector ETFs: XLF, FAS, FAZ, UYG, KRE, VFH, KBE, IYF, IAT, SEF, IYG, FXO, KBWB, FNCL, RKH, QABA, FINU, KRU, KBWR, RWW, RYF, KRS, FINZ
- Lit up bright red is the utility sector (XLU -1%), led by Southern Company (SO -1.1%), Dominion Resources (D -1.2%), Duke Energy (DUK -1.4%), and Pinnacle West (PNW -1.9%).
- Utility ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, PUI, FXU, SDP, PSCU
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