Utilities: Leaders and Laggards Last Week



Utilities continued to beat broader markets

Trade war issues continued to weigh on broader markets last week. The S&P 500 fell 0.8%, while the utility sector rose 1.4% for the week ending May 17.

So far this year, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) has risen 13% and marginally underperformed broader markets.

XLU % change

Treasury yields continued to trend lower and closed at 2.39% last week. Treasury yields and utility stocks generally trade inversely to each other.

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Movers and shakers

PG&E (PCG) stock fell more than 8% last week. Cal Fire blamed PG&E for igniting the deadliest wildfire, “Camp Fire,” in November last year.

NextEra Energy (NEE) is the biggest utility by market cap. NextEra Energy stock rose 3.8%, while Southern Company (SO) stock rose 0.8% last week. PPL (PPL) fell 4%, while Dominion Energy (D) rose 1.4% during the week.

NRG Energy (NRG) stock fell almost 5% last week. Weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings have largely caused weakness in NRG Energy for the last few weeks. The company reported income from continuing operations of $94 million in the first quarter—a steep fall of ~60% compared to its income in the first quarter of 2018.  NRG Energy has fallen more than 20% from its 52-week high in March.


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