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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Spark Energy, Otter Tail Corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Korea Electric Power and Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 02, 2016 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Spark Energy, Inc. (SPKE), Otter Tail Corporation (OTTR), Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEP) and Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais S.A., ( CIG).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Utility Stocks Still Worth Buying in September

The global market is a little choppy at the moment, thanks to a likely hike in interest rates and the uncertainty surrounding the Presidential Election in the U.S., as well as volatile oil prices and sluggish growth in China. Due to these concerns, the World Bank recently lowered its 2016 global growth forecast to 2.4% from the January projection of 2.9%.

Developing countries that export commodities are having a tough time with soft prices. Naturally, the growth prospects in developing and emerging markets are bleak. Back home, manufacturers are suffering due to a strong dollar, which is increasing the price of their products. If the dollar continues its post-Brexit bull run, export prospects of U.S. manufacturers could be significantly hampered.

Utilities have been facing their own share of problems from increasingly stringent emission regulations and rate hike speculations. In Dec 2015, the Fed increased interest rates for first time since 2006 and stated plans to further raise the same as and when conditions are suitable.

On the brighter side, the U.S. economy is seeing definite signs of improvement, which prompted Fed chair Janet Yellen to reconsider a rate hike in the near future. And, as we know, a high-rate environment typically hurts the prospects of utility companies.

By their very nature, utilities routinely seek help from capital markets for upgrades and maintenance of their infrastructure. Even though regulated utilities are known for their cash generating capacity, funds generated from their internal operations are often less than enough to execute long-term projects. This means that a rise in interest rates will increase the cost of capital for utilities.

However, turmoil in the global economy could divert investor focus toward domestically oriented utilities, which are immune to the international market volatility and impact of the strong dollar. The year-to-date return from Dow Jones Utility Average (DJU) was 15.4%, compared with the S&P 500’s 6.2%. We have considered five utilities that are likely to provide solid returns in September.

Picking the Right Stocks

Recognizing a stock with good prospects is no mean feat. But thanks to our new Style Score System, we have been able to identify a few stocks with incredible near-term growth potential.

Our research shows that stocks with a VGM score of ‘A’ or ‘B’, when combined a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy), offer the best investment opportunities for investors.

Spark Energy, Inc . (SPKE) is an independent retail energy services company. The company is involved in the retail distribution of natural gas and electricity.

This Zacks Rank #1 stock, with a VGM Score of A, registered a positive earnings surprise of 3.50% in the last reported quarter and has returned 39.9% year to date.

Otter Tail Corporation (OTTR) is involved in the electric, manufacturing and plastics business across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Panama.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock, with a VGM Score of B, reported a positive earnings surprise of 7.90% in the last reported quarter and the stock has returned 28.6% year to date.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), along with its subsidiaries, provides fixed and mobile voice-related services, IP/packet communications services, and other telecommunications-related services in Japan and other countries.

This Zacks Rank #1 stock with a VGM score of A has returned 10.8% year to date.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEP) an integrated electric utility company that generates, transmits and distributes electricity in Korea and other countries.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock with a VGM score of A has returned 22.1% year to date.

Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais S.A. , (CIG) through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution and trading of electricity in Brazil.

This Zacks Rank #2 stock with a VGM score of A has returned 78% year to date.

Where Do Zacks' Investment Ideas Come From?

You are welcome to download the full, up-to-the-minute list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buy" stocks free of charge. There is no better place to start your own stock search. Plus you can access the full list of must-avoid Zacks Rank #5 "Strong Sells" and other private research. See the stocks free >>

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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