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Utility Stocks

Utility stocks are the ultimate investment for risk-averse investors seeking to create passive income streams via reliable dividends. Utility stocks can be an essential component of your portfolio as they will not only keep your income steady during dangerous economic times, they are usually the first to soar out of recessionary times.

The Utility Stocks archive below includes the latest commentary and analysis on the most important developments affecting the essential services sectors, including water, communications, energy, and other key infrastructure industries. Find out which utility stocks are poised to benefit from ongoing developments in the utility sector and which to avoid.

Be sure to also check out our free report, Dividend Blacklist: 6 Utility Stocks You Should Sell Today to find out if your dividend is in danger.

The Other Shoe

My goal isn’t to beat the averages month by month, quarter by quarter or even year by year. Rather, it’s to build wealth over a period of years. And that means being willing to hold positions I’m comfortable with though tough times.

Competing Interests

This “best of times” for the renewable energy sector, of course, corresponds to a challenging period for producers of conventional energy, particularly of the oil, natural gas and coal that fuel more than three-quarters of America’s power plants and nearly 100 percent of our transportation.

Utes and the Economy

Looking ahead to 2010, steady to falling interest costs will remain a positive force for profits. So will constructive regulation, as state and federal officials continue to grant a fair return on a steady stream of investment in renewable energy and improving system efficiency.

Enel SpA

Global power giant Enel SpA (Italy: ENEL, OTC: ENLAY) has barely broken even for the four years I’ve held shares. The company, however, has doubled its revenue while extending its reach from Latin America to Russia and beyond.

Jobless Recovery

Only two industries added jobs in the second quarter of 2009. One was health care, a sector where demand for products and services usually transcends even the most dire economic circumstances. The other was a bit more surprising.

Power Outage

As the cost of fuel and purchased power declines, it reduces consumers’ bills dollar-for-dollar. That, in turn, makes it far easier for utilities to ask regulators to raise customer rates to pay for system improvements, such as new power plants, power lines and even to promote conservation. Earnings rise as these investments boost rate base, even as customers’ overall rates decline.

More Good News

I can’t help being upbeat when I look at the positive economic news starting to trickle out. The announcement that the US economy in the second quarter--as measured by gross domestic product--was shocking enough: An annualized decline of just 1 percent after drops averaging more than 6 percent the prior two quarters.

Good News

Good news for the economy is good news for utilities. Bad news will continue to trigger selloffs, and we’re just going to have to live with them. But contrary to prior cycles when what’s been good for the economy has been bad for utes, this recovery should bring a big recovery for our favorites.

A New Bull Market

The headline may prove premature. But sooner or later, the global bear market and economic slump that began in mid-2007 will end. In fact, we may well have seen the bottom in early March.

Renewables Run On

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens’ well-publicized postponement of a major wind power investment was hailed by some in the financial media as a sign of trouble for renewable energy. Fortunately, this time around reality on the ground is playing out quite differently.

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