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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: E.ON SE, American Water Works, NextEra Energy, Atmos Energy and Consolidated Edison

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – Dec 22, 2017 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include E.ON SE EONGY, American Water Works Company AWK, NextEra Energy NEE, Atmos Energy Corporation ATO and Consolidated Edison, Inc. ED.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

5 Utility Stocks that Outperformed the Sector in 2017

With only 10 days remaining before we ring in 2018, this is the time to look back at failed investment decisions and plan a better strategy. The year 2017 has been profitable for most investors, with major indices gaining year to date. This trend is likely to continue in 2018. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq have rallied 18.6% and 11.2%, respectively, so far this year.

The rise in the indices reflects improving economy in the United States. Per the Bureau of Economic Analysis, gross domestic product (GDP) rose 3.3% in the third quarter of 2017, up from 3.1% in the second quarter.

The decisions made by the new administration have been effective, lowering volatility in the market and paving the way for strong performance. The declining unemployment rate and low inflation rate indicate a strong economy. A recent report from the balance indicates that these factors will continue to drive the economy in 2018.

Amid the positive trends, let us focus on the domestic defensive Utility sector. All other industries depend on Utilities for the basic requirements of electricity, gas and water. The ongoing growth will result in higher demand from industrial, commercial and residential space for utility services and boost its performance.

Utility Stocks Performance YTD

Utility sector — one of the 16 Zacks sectors —yielded 6.6% year to date, underperforming the S&P 500 index’s return of 18.6%.

The capital intensive mature utility stocks have witnessed capital cost hike, thanks to rising interest rates. In addition, the weather pattern and recent hurricanes have also dented the performance of some utilities.

However, despite the negative impact, the fundamental strength of these regulated utilities helped them register a steady performance. Utility sector earnings in 2017 and 2018 are expected to improve 2.4% and 4.8%, on the back of revenue growth of 4.2% and 1.6%, respectively. Read more on weekly Zacks Earnings Trends.

Picking 5 Utilities

Picking up the right utility stocks is a lengthy process. So we have used the Zacks Stock Screener to find out stocks that have outperformed the Utility sector’s return of 7.2% and are expected to perform favorably.

We have considered only Buy–rated stocks along with market capitalization of more than $9.5 billion, as they are safe bets. Investing in these utilities not only result in stock price appreciation but a regular return through dividend.

Here are stocks that made it through the screen. All of them carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

E.ON SE is an energy service provider with operations in the following businesses: energy, chemicals, real estate, oil, telecommunications, distribution/logistics, aluminum and silicon wafers.

Shares of EONGY have gained 58.2% year to date, outperforming utility sector’s year to date return of 6.6%

Market Cap: $21.8 billion

5 yr Dividend Yield: 3.68%

Projected EPS Growth (three to five years): 13.95%

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American Water Works Company provides essential water and wastewater services to over 15 million customers in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada. The company continues to expand customer base through acquisition and organic growth.

Shares of American Water Works have gained 22.7% year to date, outperforming utility sector’s rally of 6.6%.

Market Cap: $15.87 billion

5 yr Dividend Yield: 2.34%

Projected EPS Growth (three to five years): 7.47%

NextEra Energy is a public utility holding company engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electric energy. NextEra Energy had generating capacity of around 46,500 megawatts (MW).

Shares of NextEra Energy have returned 29.5% year to date, outperforming utility rally of 6.6%.

Market Cap: $72.48 billion

5 yr Dividend Yield: 3.01%

Projected EPS Growth (three to five years): 7.45%

Atmos Energy Corporation, along with its subsidiaries, engages in the distribution, transmission and storage of natural gas in the United States. The company provides services to more than 3 million customers.

Shares of Atmos Energy have gained 16.5% year to date, outperforming utility sector’s year to date return of 6.6%.

Market Cap: $9.67 billion

5 yr Dividend Yield: 2.81%

Projected EPS Growth (three to five years): 7.00%

Consolidated Edison, Inc., along with subsidiaries, engages in regulated electric, gas, and steam delivery businesses in the United States. The company provides service to nearly 3.6 million electric customers and 1.2 million natural gas customers.

Shares of Consolidated Edison have gained 16.1% year to date, outperforming utility sector’s year to date return of 6.6%.

Market Cap: $26.52 billion

5 yr Dividend Yield: 3.98%

Projected EPS Growth (three to five years): 2.00%

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Consolidated Edison Inc (ED): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
E.ON SE (EONGY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Atmos Energy Corporation (ATO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
American Water Works (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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