BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Think utility stocks are boring? Think again.
The utility sector was a phenomenal performer last year. The Utilities SPDR ETF (XLU) gave investors total returns of 28.7% in 2014, more than doubling the performance of the big S&P 500 index. And even though utility stocks have given some of that back in 2015, it's a mistake to think that the upside action is over and done with.
With the Fed's constant interest rate hike promises and admonitions, avoiding income stocks has become a pretty crowded trade at this point -- at the exact same time that rates are scraping along all-time lows. As some of the biggest utility stocks start to show signs of life, it makes sense to take a technical look.
To do that, we're turning to the charts to find five big utility stocks to buy for breakout potential.
For the unfamiliar, technical analysis is a way for investors to quantify qualitative factors, such as investor psychology, based on a stock's price action and trends. Once the domain of cloistered trading teams on Wall Street, technicals can help top traders make consistently profitable trades and can aid fundamental investors in better planning their stock execution.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five technical setups worth trading now.
Public Service Enterprise Group
Up first is Public Service Enterprise Group (PEG), a $21 billion utility holding company that's spent most of 2015 churning sideways. That sideways grind in shares of PEG may be frustrating for shareholders, but the good news is that the lateral price action is actually what makes PEG look tradable right now.