Stocks sank in early trading as Russian and Ukrainian officials met to discuss a potential resolution to hostilities between them.
“Traders will be watching for any signs of resolution on the Russia crisis (negotiated peace or signs of victory for either side) or signs tensions could be worsening, raising the chances for a world war involving NATO members,” wrote Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for Leuthold Group. “As news trickles out supporting either thesis, expect daily stock market action to remain volatile.”
Today we’re turning the spotlight towards utilities – an area of the market that remains attractive, offering plenty of yield protection for investors amid geopolitical turmoil and rising interest rates. This name stands out among its utility peers and is positioned for success in 2022.
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Morningstar analysts say higher consumer spending, supply constraints, and energy prices are driving inflation should be short-lived. “If interest rates can hit a sweet spot that tames inflation without alienating income investors, utilities are well-positioned to produce another year of 7% to 9% total returns, given attractive dividend yields and infrastructure growth,” they say.
Utility giant and prospective 2022 winner Exelon (EXC) has a market cap of $52 billion and is one of the top five publicly traded utility stocks in the U.S.
EXC touches roughly 10 million customers across the U.S. through an extensive network of power plants ranging from fossil fuel facilities to hydroelectric dams. The unmatched scale of Exelon’s reach provides a solid foundation for EXC shares. In fact, shares are up more than 50% over the past twelve months to outperform the broader S&P, up 12% for the same period.
EXC boasts a healthy, 2.9% dividend yield that’s backed up by a conservative payout ratio in the 65-75% range over the past five years. The stock also garners a Buy rating from the Wall Street pros offering recommendations, along with a median 12-month price target of $46.35, which represents a 9% increase from the current price.
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