VPU - Vanguard Utilities Index Fund ETF Shares

NYSEArca - NYSEArca Delayed Price. Currency in USD
155.03
+1.05 (+0.68%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
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Previous Close153.98
Open154.28
Bid154.57 x 800
Ask154.99 x 800
Day's Range154.10 - 155.09
52 Week Range124.06 - 155.09
Volume110,826
Avg. Volume138,634
Net Assets6.28B
NAV154.98
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
Yield2.66%
YTD Daily Total Return8.37%
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.22
Expense Ratio (net)0.10%
Inception Date2004-01-26
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    My specialties involve economic and market data and developments and in turn the best individual securities from the stock, bond and other markets to capitalize on those developments for safer growth and income. This is what I showcase in my Profitable Investing -- now in its thirtieth year of publication.However, I understand the needs and wants for funds including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by individual investors. It may be that portfolios are in smaller sums or are part of administered qualified retirement accounts including IRAs, 401k's, 403b's and SEP's. And many of these accounts are domiciled in the major fund companies. The Vanguard Group is one of the largest fund management companies, with over $5 trillion in assets under management (AUM). And in the U.S. market it is one of the leaders in providing individual investors a wide array of funds, including ETFs.Inside the model portfolios of Profitable Investing I have a collection of model mutual fund portfolios, including three which are specific to funds of individual fund families including Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and Vanguard. I do this to specifically guide subscribers who want or need to stay domiciled in fund families.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsAnd in all of the mutual fund portfolios, I provide an allocation to specific funds which seeks to match up to the main portfolio of individual securities in allocations and strategies. * 7 Great High-Yield Stocks With Payouts Over 5% Let me now show you how I line up the funds of Vanguard for a better portfolio. Stocks, Fixed Income & CashTo start, I have a current allocation of 56% in stocks, 44% in fixed income and included in that 44% is 11% in cash. I know that this allocation is less than many 60/40 stocks to bonds than is typical of asset allocations for many managers. But I have been a bit more conservative of late given many of the challenges to the financial markets, as well as the opportunities in the bond markets for not just income, but growth as well.I'll start with the stock allocations. My continued judgement is that the U.S. remains the prime market of the globe. Europe and Asia continue to have slower growth including some borderline recessionary conditions. And Latin America and Africa have a bevy of highly challenging problems.So, my allocations are highly focused on the U.S. markets right now. This is different from my decades of being focused more on global markets, as I was in banking and asset management. General US StocksVYM and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergThat said, the starting point for Vanguard is the Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:VYM). This is an indexed ETF which is focused on U.S.-listed stocks which pay higher average dividends, nearly all in the U.S. market. This is my more measured approach to the S&P 500 Index, as the higher weightings on dividends provides a lesser risk to downturns as well as volatility. * 7 Large-Cap Stocks to Give a Wide Berth You'll note that over the past 10 years, the Vanguard ETF has generally provided more consistent total return including dividend income. And in 2018 during the severe downturn in the S&P 500 Index, the Vanguard ETF held up much better. But for 2019, with a drive towards more aggressive stocks (particularly in the technology sector), it has lagged. But my view is that I want to achieve a lower volatility and lower risk return over time. Real EstateVNQ and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergNext in the stock allocation is real estate investment trusts (REITs). This is done with the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:VNQ). 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UtilitiesVPU and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergThen I move to another defensive source for growth and income in the U.S. market with utilities. And this is done with the Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:VPU). Like for REITs, U.S. utilities are insulated from global woes. They continue to capitalize on the growing U.S. economy, including lower inflation.The best utilities are combinations of regulated local services and unregulated wholesale businesses. The combination of dependable revenues and profit margins plus added growth and income from unregulated operations makes for a great way to generate steady-to-rising income and dividends with growth over time. * 7 Stocks to Sell Before They Roll Over The return for VPU for the trailing year is a positive 14.42%, which had been consistently outperforming the S&P 500 Index. But into this month, there has been some market activity placing bets for more growth from more aggressive market sectors at the cost of more defensive sectors such as utilities. I see this as a mistake which may well place investors at a higher level of risk -- and perhaps peril. TechnologyVGT and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergNow I come to the exciting part of the U.S. market in information technology. Technology is a big growth engine for the U.S. economy, and tech stocks reflect optimism for higher returns. I accomplish this allocation with the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:VGT).Technology is the alchemy of the market. Whether products come from silicon or the ether in the minds of app and software developers, profits can be achieved in momentous amounts. But not all of them work, and there are always new products and services. This makes for volatile markets.So, while investors need exposure, it should be done as part of a broader portfolio.The technology market has been a good one, and VGT has turned in a return over just the past five years alone of over 138% -- outpacing the S&P 500 two-to-one. But note the fourth quarter of 2018, as this charged segment comes with drops along the way. Fixed Income: Corporate BondsVCIT and Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index Total Return Source Bloomberg & BarclaysFixed income in the U.S. continues to be very good. The U.S. has very low inflation with little threat for some time to follow. This has led to lower yields and higher bond prices overall. But there are two sectors which I continue to advocate for investors in corporate bonds and municipal bonds.Corporate bonds continue to benefit from the growing economy. It's aiding credit conditions of businesses and bolstering their bond prices. And until recently, issuance has been slower -- aiding supply and demand for higher prices.My allocation to this market is in the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF (NASDAQ:VCIT). This ETF has returned 16.25% over the trailing three years. That significantly outpaces the general U.S. bond market as tracked by the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index. Fixed Income: Municipal BondsVTEB and Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index Total Return Source Bloomberg & BarclaysThen for municipal bonds, I have the Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:VTEB). Municipal bonds have been gaining like corporates on the growing economy. Tax revenues are up, aiding credit of issuers. Low inflation also aids bonds. And issuance has been muted. Many issuers have not had the need or the political will to sell more bonds. 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And I've written them all up in a simple and engaging way that are easy to understand and follow.For more information on my book, Income for Life, click here. It lays out income-producing investment strategies for all economic conditions, as well as additional income producing ideas that anyone can use successfully.Neil George was once an all-star bond trader, but now he works morning and night to steer readers away from traps -- and into safe, top-performing income investments. Neil's new income program is a cash-generating machine…one that can help you collect $208 every day the market's open. Neil does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Tech Stocks to Buy for the Rest of 2019 * 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy With Plenty of Power in the Pipeline * 5 Stocks to Buy That Are Set for Monster Growth in 2020 The post 6 Vanguard ETFs to Build a Better Portfolio appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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These regulated assets provide the utility stock with plenty of steady cash flows. The firm has been using these cash flows to fund non-regulated and tangential assets. These assets provide higher profit margins and an extra boost to its bottom line.A prime example would its recent buyout of Columbia Midstream Group. UGI already owned several FERC regulated interstate natural gas trunk lines in the region. With the addition of Columbia, the utility now gained several gathering and processing assets that feed into its pipeline system. This allows UGI to instantly see scale and additional profits.This strategy seems to be working for UGI. Last year was one of its best on record and the gains have continued this year as well. Adjusted EPS for last quarter -- after accounting for the buyout of its MLP subsidiary AmeriGas -- jumped more than 44% year-over-year.With profit gains like that, UGI should have no problems hitting its 4% annual dividend growth targets. York Water (YORW)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 1.77%If you had to guess what stock has been paying dividends the longest, names like Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) or Proctor & Gamble (NYSE:PG) may come to mind. But the title goes to a small and overlooked utility stock that may just be perfect for conservative investors. We're talking about humble York Water (NASDAQ:YORW) and its dividend streak of 203 consecutive years.York has been paying a dividend since its founding in 1816. The key comes from its operating niche. Water utilities are often monopolies in their operating regions. Moreover, they are heavily regulated. In this case, YORW provides water and treatment for 48 municipalities with York and Adams Counties in Pennsylvania. What's great about York is that it really has tried to grow massive like some water utilities. It just does what it does. Because of this, its results run like clockwork.And York has been pretty successful at winning rate increases from regulators. The latest one was approved at the start of the year. Given water's highly regulated nature, these rate increases provide just enough oomph to pay for rising costs, upgrades and boost profits. And York has handed those profits back via dividend increases. The latest one was a 4.4% jump. * 7 Stocks the Insiders Are Buying on Sale The reality is, YORW is not going to set your portfolio on fire and grow 1500%. But it what it can do is provide plenty of stability and income potential. Exactly what utility stocks should do. Consolidated Edison (ED)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 3.24%No list of stodgy utility stocks can be complete with Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED). ConEd has been providing electricity, steam and natural gas for metropolitan New York for more than 180 years. And it turns out this niche of powering New York City, Westchester and parts of New Jersey is a very good one to be in. Thanks to their growing populations, steady economies and overall top-notch fundamentals, ConEd has become a profit and dividend champion.And the growth could keep coming. That's because ConEd has started to upgrade and make its system more high-tech.For starters, that includes plenty of renewable and solar energy projects in its operating region. Con Edison is actually the second-largest solar energy producer in North America. Secondly, ConEd has begun to roll-out new smart-meters and demand-response programs. This includes across its electric and natural gas operations. Here, consumers are rewarded for using less power at peak times. But for ConEd, this can be huge cost savings.Already, the utility has been struggling to meet the needs of New Yorker's when it comes to gas demand. It's simply having to buy more gas from third party players to meet the demand. Those costs are hurting its bottom line. With demand response, ED should be able to save a few dollars and reduce its outlays for gas. Even better is that regulators have allowed the utility to pass on the smart-meter costs to consumers. For ED stock, it's a win-win.It's a big win for investors as well and should help keep the dividends flowing at ED for years to come. NextEra Energy (NEE)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 2.22%Speaking of renewable energy, no utility stock is better at it than NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE). That's because like previously mentioned UGI, NEE has managed to use the utility holding company model perfectly.To start with, NextEra owns plenty of regulated utility assets in the sunbelt. These more than 4.6 million customers provide plenty of stable cash flows into its coffers and used those cash flows to build-out its non-regulated assets. More specially, NextEra has become the largest producer of solar and wind power in the United States. The best part is that renewable energy has finally hit parity with traditional fossil fuels in many cases. And given the lower costs to maintain a solar or wind farm, margins are getting quite juicy at NEE.NextEra is able to sell excess power produced at these solar farms to other utilities looking to meet new regulations or fill their own power needs. At this point, it's just easier for them to buy power from NEE than build a renewable energy farm on their own.For NEE this has meant plenty of profit growth over the years. Since 2003, EPS has managed to grow at a CAGR of nearly 8% per year. For a utility stock, that's a very strong rate of growth. And NextEra hasn't been shy about handing out excess cash to investors. Dividends have grown by over 9% in that time. * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy With its business model continuing to see benefits, NextEra represents one of the best utility stocks out there for investors. Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 2.73%As the saying goes, there's safety in numbers. To that end, a broader strategy may be best. Which is why investors may want to go with an ETF that covers the utility stocks. Surely, you could go with the previously mentioned XLU -- and it's a fine choice. But the Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEArca:VPU) might be a better pick.The reason comes down to coverage. The XLU holds just 28 utility stocks. VPU, however, offers broader coverage given its inclusion of large-, mid- and small-cap firms. That wide-sweeping approach bumps its total number of holdings to 69 different utilities. This includes all of them on this list. Better still is that VPU also beats the SPDR on expenses -- 0.10% vs. 0.13% -- and in terms of current dividend yield.Those slight differences in holdings, yield, and expenses have made VPU the better fund for the long haul. Over the last decade, the Vanguard ETF has managed to return about 12.46% annually. That's just over a half a percent more per year than the SPDR. Investing is a game of inches and that slight difference compounded over time really adds up. And yet, asset and trading volumes for the VPU are equally as swift.As a result, VPU should get the nod from investors looking for a broader approach to utility stocks. Given the market's rising volatility, they may just want to do that.At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not hold a position in any stock mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 8 Dividend Stocks to Buy for a Recession * 10 Companies Making Their CEOs Rich * The 7 Best S&P 500 Stocks of 2019 So Far The post 5 Utility Stocks for Conservative Investors appeared first on InvestorPlace.