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Dow Utilities Outperform S&P 500 in First Quarter


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 gained a solid 10.0% in the first quarter of 2013, but the Dow Utility Average outperformed with a gain of 12.2% as 14 of 15 components have buy ratings. In the second half of March, the S&P gained just 0.5% while utilities gained momentum and tacked on 2.7%.

On March 18, I wrote 12 Sell Downgrades Threaten Dow Transports and since then the Dow Transportation Average has moved sideways to down. Even so, transports were the best performer of the five major averages with a first quarter gain of 17.9%. Transports set an all-time intra-day high of 6291.65 on March 19, and its all-time closing high at 6281.24 on March 14. Today, 14 Dow Transportation stocks remain sell-rated with six rated hold.

On March 26, I wrote Allocate U.S. Holdings to 14 Top Dow Stocks and this morning, following first-quarter benchmark revisions to ValuEngine data, we have 19 buy-rated and 11 hold rated stocks in the Dow Industrial Average. The Dow ended the first quarter with a gain of 11.3% and set a new all-time high at 14,605.72 on Monday, and new all-time closing high at 14,578.54 on the last day of the first quarter.

Following the benchmark revisions, shows that 59.9% of all stocks are overvalued, just below the 60.0% ValuEngine Valuation Watch threshold. We still show 15 of 16 sectors overvalued, with 13 overvalued by double-digit percentages including utilities by 14.0%. Today, I profile the stocks in the Dow Utility Average with the utility sector 14.0% overvalued.

OV/UN Valued: Only three stocks in the Dow Utility Average are undervalued, with AES (AES) the most undervalued by 7.2%. The most overvalued stock is Williams Companies (WMB) by 56.9%.

VE Rating: WMB has the only "3-Engine" or hold rating. 13 have "4-Engine" or buy ratings, and AES has a "5-Engine" or strong buy rating. Consolidated Edison (ED), First Energy (FE), Nisource (NI), and Public Service Enterprise (PEG) have been downgraded to buy from strong buy this morning.

Last 12-Month Return (%): Only three Dow Utility stocks declined over the last 12 months with Exelon (EXC) the biggest loser down 12.4%. The biggest winner over the last 12 months is Nextera Energy (NEE) with a gain of 26.9%.

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