NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Perhaps it took Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee's announcement Thursday to help a beleaguered utility stock head higher.
It was after the Fed chairman and the FOMC made an unprecedented decision -- to commence a new, third, open-ended round of quantitative easing and extend the period for holding down short-term interest rates between 0 and 1/4% to mid-2015 -- that things started to turn around.
After the FOMC news, shares of Exelon (EXC) finally moved higher, closing up 2% on significantly higher than normal volume.
After its merger with Constellation Energy earlier this year, EXC had evolved to a point where it could actually claim to be "numero uno" in the U.S. when it comes to being a competitive energy supplier and utility.When it comes to creating one of the cleanest, lowest-operating-cost power generators, Exelon has emerged towards the top of its peer group. It also has one of the largest retail customer bases in the U.S., serving more than 6.6 million customers. According to its eye-friendly and investor-friendly Web site, Exelon "owns approximately 35,000 megawatts of power generation, including the nation's largest nuclear fleet of more than 19,000 megawatts." Its customer-centric retail and wholesale energy business should allow the company to grow the energy products it offers customers in 46 states. In addition, the "new company" claims to be the nation's second-largest regulated distributor of electricity and gas, serving millions of customers in Maryland, Illinois and Pennsylvania. EXC said it now owns three "utilities -- BGE, ComEd and PECO -- [which] remain headquartered in Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia, respectively, and are focused on safety, customer service, reliability and continued infrastructure investment in their service areas." Have I mentioned the company pays a luscious $2.10-per-share annual dividend? With a purchase price of EXC shares at $35.50, that gives an investor a yield to price of nearly 5.92%. That's exceptionally appealing when you consider that thanks to the Fed's Thursday decision, the yield on the one-year U.S. Treasury bond is down to 1.76% and will probably fall somewhat lower in the weeks ahead.
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