|Bid||52.82 x 1000|
|Ask||0.00 x 36900|
|Day's Range||52.51 - 53.25|
|52 Week Range||47.37 - 57.23|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||8.74|
|Expense Ratio (net)||0.14%|
In addition to the ~8% appreciation that we discussed in Part 1 of this series, Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) has offered three distribution payments in 2018, which brings its total returns to ~13% YTD (year-to-date). Enterprise Products Partners is trading at a yield of ~5.9%, which is ~280 basis points higher than the current US ten-year Treasury yield.
As of September 20, Reuters has compiled data from 19 analysts tracking Duke Energy (DUK) stock. Two of them have recommended a “strong buy,” and five have rated it a “buy.” One analyst has recommended a “sell.” The rest of them have recommended a “hold.”
Duke Energy (DUK) has fallen 4.1% YTD (year-to-date). However, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) has risen 1.2% YTD. The S&P 500 Index and the S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index, the broader market indexes, have risen 9.6% and 7.6% YTD, respectively. Utility stocks constitute 2.8% and 4.5% of these equity indexes, respectively.
To help investors keep up with the markets, we present our ETF Scorecard. The Scorecard takes a step back and looks at how various asset classes across the globe are performing. The weekly performance is from last Friday’s open to this week’s Thursday close.
PPL (PPL) stock has a median target price of $31.27—compared to its current market price of $29.66, which indicates an estimated upside of more than 5% for the next 12 months.
On September 19, PPL (PPL) stock had an implied volatility of 17%—marginally higher than its 15-day average. In comparison, the volatility in the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) was ~13%. The implied volatility represents investors’ nervousness. Increased volatility is usually associated with a fall in stock prices. Recently, the SPDR S&P 500’s implied volatility was 8%.
Let’s take a look at how PPL (PPL) stock is valued compared to its peers. Currently, PPL is trading at a PE multiple of 13x—compared to its five-year historical valuation of 14x. The stock looks to be trading at a discounted valuation compared to its historical average. The following chart shows PPL’s comparative stock movement along with utilities at large and broader markets.
The utilities sector—one of the most vulnerable sectors to interest rates—fell more than 2% after the benchmark Treasury yields reached a four-month high on September 19. The ten-year Treasury yield has been very strong. The ten-year Treasury yield has risen from 2.86% to 3.07% in September. Broader markets continued to climb and rose 0.1% on September 19.
Recently, PPL (PPL) stock has shown a solid uptrend. The stock gained more than 15% in the last three months. However, PPL stock fell nearly 2% on September 19 amid utilities’ (XLU) (IDU) weakness due to strength in the Treasury yields. The ten-year Treasury yield reached 3.07%, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) fell 2.2% on September 19.
Sempra Energy (SRE) has a median target price of $124.40—compared to its current market price of $118.87, which indicates an upside potential of ~5% for the next 12 months. Morgan Stanley increased Sempra Energy’s target price from $120.0 to $121.0 last week.
In this part, we’ll discuss California utilities’ total returns. Sempra Energy (SRE) returned 3%, while utilities at large (XLU) returned 2% in the past year. In comparison, PG&E (PCG) and Edison International (EIX) returned -33% and -12%, respectively, during the same period. Total returns consider the dividend payments and stock appreciation in a particular period.
Sempra Energy (SRE) stock notably outperformed its peers in California as well as utilities (XLU) at large. On September 18, Sempra Energy announced a cooperation agreement with its activist shareholders Elliott Management and Bluescape Energy Partners, which collectively own 4.9% in Sempra Energy worth $1.6 billion.
Let’s take a look at utility stocks (XLU) with attractive upside potentials for the next 12 months. PG&E (PCG) stock has a median target price of $51.9—compared to its current market price of $47.0, which indicates an upside potential of more than 10% for the next year.
NextEra Energy (NEE), the biggest component of the Utilities ETF (XLU), is trading at an EV-to-EBITDA multiple of ~16x—higher than its five-year average valuation. Duke Energy (DUK) is trading at an EV-to-EBITDA multiple of 11.0x. Southern Company (SO) stock is trading at an EV-to-EBITDA multiple of 10.8x—lower than its five-year average.
Broader utilities have risen more than 10% in the last three months. Currently, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) is trading at $54.3—almost 2% and 6% above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages. XLU’s fair premium to both of these support levels underlines the strength in XLU. These moving averages around $53.23 and $51.24 are expected to act as supports for XLU in the near future.
At large, utilities underperformed broader markets last week. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU), a representative of the S&P 500 Utilities, rose 0.4%. Broader markets continued to increase and rose more than 1% for the week ending September 14. Despite the Fed’s aggressive stance about the rate hike this year, utilities—one of the most vulnerable sectors to rate hikes—showed strong growth in the last few months due to trade war concerns.
Amid the competitive threat from cleaner solar energy, many traditional utilities companies across the U.S. are getting in on the solar boom. Recently, Morgan Stanley has upgraded the utilities sector to Outperform, arguing that stock prices aren’t keeping pace with earnings growth so far in 2018, which suggests the market participants may be subtly pricing in slowing earnings growth down the line. Interestingly, the increased solar installations are not helping the Invesco Solar ETF (NYSEArca: TAN) , the largest ETF dedicated to solar stocks.
Currently, Southern Company (SO) stock offers an upside potential of ~4.0% from its current level of ~$44.19. Analysts gave Southern Company a median target price of $45.92.
Southern Company (SO) is the highest-yielding stock among the top utilities. Currently, Southern Company is trading at a dividend yield of 5.4%, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) offers a yield of 3.3%. Southern Company increased its dividend per share 3.4% in 2018—compared to 2017.
Southern Company (SO) stock has fallen almost 10% in the last five weeks after management reported a project cost increase at Plant Vogtle. Let’s take a look at Southern Company’s valuation. Southern Company stock is trading at a trailing PE multiple of 21.6x, which is higher than its five-year historical average. In comparison, Duke Energy (DUK) is trading at a PE multiple of 21.5x, while NextEra Energy (NEE) is trading at 14x.
Southern Company (SO), one of the largest regulated utilities, continues to trade weak despite the recent strength in utilities at large. Southern Company stock has lost almost 8%, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) has risen ~4% in 2018.
U.S. stocks ended the session slightly higher Wednesday as gains in consumer-staples but weakness in the technology and internet-related sector capped more significant advances, even as Wall Street digested midday reports that the U.S. and China may enter a fresh round of trade negotiations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.1% at 25,999, the S&P 500 gained less than 0.1% at 2,889, supported by a 1.3% rise in the consumer-staples sector. However, a 0.8% decline in financials and a 0.5% slide in tech names capped the broad-market benchmark's climb. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.2% at 7,954, as declines in the shares of chip makers weighed on the tech sector. A popular gauge of chip makers, the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF , ended down 1.1%, led by declines in shares of Micron Technology Inc. . Meanwhile, shares of Apple Inc. declined 1.2%, even as the gadget maker rolled out updates to its iPhones and Apple Watches. On the trade front, the U.S. has reached out to China for follow-up talks after negotiations last month concluded without results, according to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. In the latest economic data, the wholesale cost of U.S. goods and services fell in August for the first time in a year and a half as the recent upturn in inflation appeared to ease.The U.S. economy grew at a "moderate pace" even though there were pockets of weaker activity in certain districts, according to the latest Beige Book released.
Among the largest utilities by market cap, NextEra Energy (NEE), the biggest constituent of the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU), has rallied more than 11% so far this year, outperforming utilities on the whole. NextEra Energy’s superior earnings and dividend growth are some of the factors that differentiate it from its peers. To learn how top utility stocks performed this year and how they seem positioned going forward, read How the Big Utilities Are Placed for the Future.
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) is currently trading at $54.37, almost 2% and 6% higher than its 50-day and 200-day moving averages of $53.10 and $51.26, respectively. The ETF’s fair premium to both these support levels indicates its strength. These moving averages are expected to act as supports for XLU in the near future.