Zacks
0
All posts from Zacks
Zacks in Our Research. Your Success.,

What is in Store for These Utility ETFs this Earnings Season?

The utilitysector appears to be in great shape as chances of the Fed hiking rates in the nearterm have dropped significantly after the Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s dovish comments, which were further reinforced by Fed Bank of New York President William C. Dudley. Dudley said that due to the uncertain U.S. economic outlook, a cautious and gradual approach to interest-rate increases is expected (read: ETF Winners & Losers Following Yellen Comments).
 
This raised the appeal for utility stocks, which offer solid dividend payouts and excellent capital appreciation over the longer term. Further, thanks to the sector’s low correlation with the market, huge swings in the stock market don’t have any effect on utility stocks. The utility sector is thus considered a defensive play or safe haven in turbulent times.
 
Uncertainty over rate hikes, weaknesses in the global economy and mixed domestic data have benefited the sector. In fact, utility ETFs saw smooth trading with Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU),Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU), iShares Dow Jones US Utilities (IDU) and Fidelity MSCI Utilities ETF (FUTY) gaining over 10% each in the last three months (as of April 25, 2016).
 
Investors must be interested to know how the sector might be performing in the first quarter 2016 earnings season to help them make an investment decision.
 
Although utility stocks are yet to report, as per the Zacks Earnings Trend report, it is one of the few sectors that are expected to show earnings growth in the quarter. Utilities are expected to post earnings growth of 5.3% in the first quarter compared with a decline of 1.6% in fourth-quarter 2015.
 
However, just looking at the overall sector outlook is not enough.Let’s also look at how the individual stocks to which the utility ETFs have significant exposure are expected to perform. We have highlighted the earnings prediction for some of these companies below:
 
Zacks Surprise Prediction
 
Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) and an Earnings ESP of -1.74%, making a beat unlikely. Also, the earnings surprise track over the past four quarters is not good with a negative average surprise of 1.72%. Meanwhile, the company witnessed downward earnings estimate revision of 1 cent over the past 7 days for the yet-to-be-reported quarter. The stock has a VGM of ‘C’. The company will report on May 3, before market opens. DUK has a weight of 8.3%, 7.3%, 7.5% and 7.2% in XLU, VPU, IDU and FUTY, respectively.
 
NextEra Energy (NEE) is expected to release its earnings report on April 28 before market opens. It has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) but an Earnings ESP of 0.00%, again putting the odds of a beat against it. The company also saw downward earnings estimate revision of a penny over the past 7 days for the to-be-reported quarter. It delivered positive earnings surprises in three of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 4.28%. Further, the stock has a VGM score of ‘C’. NEE has 9%, 7.1%, 7.5% and 7.3% weight in XLU, VPU, IDU and FUTY, respectively.
 
Dominion Resources, Inc. (D) has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of 0.00%, making an earnings prediction difficult. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter 2016 is 96 cents, down 1 cent over the past seven days. Further, the stock has an unfavorable VGM score of D. The company is expected to report before market opens on May 4. D has a weight of 7.1%, 5.8%, 6% and 5.7% in XLU, VPU, IDU and FUTY, respectively.
 
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. https://www.zacks.com/registration/pfp/?ALERT=RPT_7BST_LP194... blog">Click to get this free report >>
 


Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
DOMINION RES VA (D): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DUKE ENERGY CP (DUK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NEXTERA ENERGY (NEE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SPDR-UTIL SELS (XLU): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-US UTIL (IDU): ETF Research Reports
 
VIPERS-UTIL (VPU): ETF Research Reports
 
FID-UTILITY (FUTY): ETF Research Reports
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research
 
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report