Utilities outperformed last week
Turkey troubles fueled a flight to safety among investors, which boosted utilities last week. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU), a representative of the S&P 500 Utilities, rose 3%, and the broader markets rose 0.7% during the week. Trade war tensions have influenced the rally in utilities in the last few months. So far this year, the broader utilities have risen ~3%, underperforming the broader markets.
Leaders and laggards
California-based PG&E Corporation (PCG) was the top gainer among top utilities last week. It rose 6% in the week ended August 17. The utility, which was hit by its part in the California wildfires, has managed to gain 1% year-to-date, underperforming its peers. But PCG stock has shown a decent uptrend since Wells Fargo upgraded it, claiming the worst is over, according to an August 6 Barron’s report.
Renewables giant NextEra Energy (NEE) rose more than 2.5%, while Duke Energy (DUK), the second-largest utility by market cap, rose ~2% last week. All work was halted last week at the Atlantic Coast pipeline where Dominion Energy (D), Duke Energy (DUK), and Southern Company (SO) are partners. It came after FERC (Federal Energy Regulation Committee) judges suspended two key permits.
The ten-year Treasury yields have largely trended lower this month, closing at 2.86% last week from ~3% levels earlier this month. Utility stocks and Treasury yields generally trade inversely.