Tags: investors | utility | stocks | dividend

WSJ: Investors Flock to Utility Stocks

By    |   Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:19 AM

Dividend stocks are outperforming again, after lagging in the second half of last year amid concern about rising interest rates.

The S&P 500 Utilities Index has generated a total return of 5.6 percent so far this year, compared to a 0.5 percent negative return for the entire Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

One of the most attractive elements of utility stocks is their dividend. The yield for dividend stocks as a whole stands at 3.9 percent, compared with 2 percent for the S&P 500, according to FactSet.

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Defensive stocks like utilities tend to fare better in times of financial turmoil, so the stock market's volatility so far this year has lifted utilities, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"People are going to be looking at utilities more seriously this year in part because the stock market in general might be a little bit rockier," John Carey, a portfolio manager at Pioneer Investments, tells the paper.

Investors also are enthusiastic about utilities' financial outlooks, according to The Journal. The jump in U.S. output of natural gas, which is used to generate electricity, has lowered the fuel's price for utilities.

But InvestorPlace contributor Daniel Putnam doesn't expect the utility stocks rally to last.

Utilities have a price-earnings (P/E) ratio, based on forward earnings estimates, of 15.1, compared with a 10-year year average of 14 and the S&P 500's current P/E ratio of 14.6, according to FactSet, he writes.

"That's a steep price to pay for below-average growth and prices that have been propelled by trends that may not last much longer."

Editor’s Note: 250% Gains Bagged Using Secret Calendar (See Video)

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Dividend stocks are outperforming again, after lagging in the second half of last year amid concern about rising interest rates.
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2014-19-18
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:19 AM
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