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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 Politics of Carbon

HR 2454 is a mammoth, 1,200-page bill filled with many complex clauses and definitions. What follows is a rundown of some of the main issues, provisions and controversies.

Another Shade of Green

The final legislation coming out of the Senate will see nuclear included in the federal renewable energy mandates in some form, and possibly some new powers granted federal regulatory agencies to speed the resolution of permitting and other legal issues.

Waiting on the Numbers

Earnings are where the rubber meets the road in the stock market. In the near term, literally hundreds of factors send prices higher and lower. But business results are what ultimately determine investors’ profits. And there’s no better report card for performance than the operating and balance sheet numbers companies release each quarter.

Three Deals

These three deals aren’t the final word closing the book on today’s turbulence. In fact, the likelihood of more bad news is great, and there are certain to be more big selloffs for stocks, as we saw last week. However, they are clearly an indication that--as far as the markets are concerned at least--we’ve come a long way from the meltdown of last fall. And that’s still more confirmation that the smart play is to stick with positions in solid companies.

Exelon Corp

Carbon free and, above all, paid for, existing nuclear plants are among the most prized assets in the power business. And no US utility owns more of them than Exelon Corp (NYSE: EXC), with 17 reactors.

Energy and Credit

A growing number of companies are issuing equity at non-dilutive prices. Only a handful of companies, such as Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG), still have significant near-term refinancing needs. And, as How They Rate shows, despite the worst credit crisis in 80 years most utes’ first quarter interest expense was only slightly above last year’s.

Into the Boom

Including hydro power, renewable resources contributed just 9 percent of US power generation in 2008, only 3 percent without hydro. Getting to 20 percent by 2020 would require a Herculean effort of time and money. And that’s if overall US demand weren’t expected to grow another 10 percent by then, a forecast that assumes dramatic efficiency gains.

Nuclear Revival

Cost and time remain major deterrents to would-be builders of nuclear plants. Two things, however, have changed dramatically to make the economics actually worthwhile, at least for a handful of players.

Is Green Really Green?

Change is on the way. Hawaii is launching what it calls an “energy sovereignty plan,” under which it hopes to wean itself off at least most of its foreign oil needs. In a partnership with the US Dept of Energy, the goal is to obtain 70 percent of the state’s electricity from “clean energy” by 2030. That’s 40 percent renewable energy and 30 percent from energy efficiency measures that reduce demand.

Water Works

Without it, life stops. Yet unless you live in a particularly arid region, chances are you’re like most Americans, taking the availability of abundant, clean and cheap water for granted.

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