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Utilities: Leaders and Laggards Last Week

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Utilities rose last week

So far in 2019, utilities witnessed one of the best weeks in the week ending February 22. Every Monday, Market Realist analyzes utilities. We discuss what happened in the sector the previous week and where the defensives might go in the short term.

The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU), which represents the largest utility stocks in the country, rose 2.4%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.6% last week. Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments on being patient on more rate hikes boosted utilities.

XLU % change

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Movers and shakers

NextEra Energy (NEE), the biggest utility by market cap, stock rose more than 2% and hit a new 52-week high on February 22. Southern Company (SO), the regulated utility giant, rose 3.7% last week. The utility reported its sequential and fiscal earnings on February 20. In 2018, Southern Company posted an adjusted EPS of $3.07—compared to $3.02 in 2017. Southern Company stock also hit a new 52-week high last week.

PG&E (PCG), which filed for bankruptcy late last month, continued to rise last week. The stock rose more than 20%. PG&E is scheduled to release its quarterly earnings on February 28.

FirstEnergy (FE) stock rose almost 3% last week. The company was one of the top gainers in 2018. FirstEnergy reported its fourth-quarter earnings last week. The company reported an operating EPS of $0.50, which beat the consensus estimates for the quarter—compared to its EPS of $0.58 in the fourth quarter of 2017. To learn more, read FirstEnergy’s Regulated Operations Boost Its Q4 Earnings.

PPL (PPL) and AES (AES) were among the gainers last week. They rose 3.9% and 3.6%, respectively, during the week. Currently, AES is trading close to its ten-year high.

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