The S&P 500 that represents the U.S. market is near an all-time high which might make stock investors nervous, especially when the market has been trading sideways. What should stock investors do? The short answer is to ignore the market and focus on individual companies. The long answer will come later in this article.
The S&P 500 has been trading in a sideways channel since August 2015. Right now, NYSEARCA:SPY is back at the top of the channel, and if it doesn’t break above the US$208 resistance persistently, it will head back down. If SPY falls past the US$185 support persistently, this will mark the top of the market for the time being.
SPY Weekly Chart
Investors have been piling on to the consumer staples and utilities as the select ETFs have been hitting new highs. See the Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEARCA:XLP) and Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:XLU) charts below.
Consumer Staples ETF Weekly Chart
Utilities ETF Weekly Chart
Both the Consumer Staples ETF and Utilities ETF look like they’re losing steam as they hit or are near overbought territories. Read More
I notice some utilities have dipped as much as 20% from their 52-week highs. The dip maybe a rotation of funds out of the typically slower growth utilities sector for the purpose of profit-taking, or maybe investors are worried that interest rate hikes will cause the typical high-yielding utilities to dip further.
Here, I present Southern Co (NYSE:SO), which has a S&P Credit Rating of A, sustainable debt levels, and is trading close to a price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 15 priced around $43 per share today.
I believe it’s fairly priced today, hitting the orange earnings line. The blue normal P/E line indicates that it has historically traded at a P/E of 16.
Since 2005, the company has increased dividends by 3-4% per year. I’d say that’s keeping pace with inflation. With a juicy yield of 5%, and growing say at 3% going forward, it should keep pace with general market returns of 7%.