Utilities sector in broad rally as Treasury yields extend declines after downbeat economic data

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The utilities sector was enjoying a unanimous rally Wednesday, as downbeat jobs data helped push Treasury yields toward a fourth-straight decline. The SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF surged 3.0% in afternoon trading, enough to make it the strongest of the SPDR ETFs tracking the S&P 500’s 11 key sectors. All 28 of the ETF’s (XLU) equity components were gaining ground, led by shares of Exelon Corp. , up 4.6%, NiSource Inc. up 4.2% and NextEra Energy Inc. , up 4.0%. Among the XLU’s other more-active members, shares of First Energy Corp. rallied 3.1%, PPL Corp. tacked on 3.9% and AES Corp. advanced 1.0%. The utilities sector is often treated at a bond proxy, given its stable earnings and relatively high yield. The XLU’s dividend yield is 3.22%, above the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.58%. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 2.3 basis points to 0.649%, and was heading for a fourth-straight decline, after ADP said the private sector added 428,000 new jobs in August, but that was well below expectations of an increase of 1 million jobs. In addition, the Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” indicated that the economy slowed in many parts of the economy.
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