Utilities Shut Out of Third-quarter Stock Upswing
Utility stocks treaded water during the third quarter, while most stocks nationally took flight. This lackluster quarterly performance in the utilities sector proved most prevalent in the Public Utilities Stock Index. The box score: Our index fell 43.96 points, or 1.11 percent, to conclude the three-month period at 3908.43.
In stark contrast, the Dow Jones Industrial Average powered itself 227.54 points higher, or 4.02 percent, en route to a record high of 5882.17.
Turning to stocks in our index:
United Cities Gas was lit up by Wall Street last quarter, as its share price rocketed 48.4 percent, to close at $22.44. The reason for the sharp and sudden uptrend: United Cities agreed to be acquired by Atmos Energy in a stock deal valued at about $324.2 million. Terms of the deal call for Atmos to trade one share of its stock for each of United Cities's 13.1 million shares outstanding. Not surprisingly, United Cities was the best performing stock in the Public Utilities Stock Index last quarter.
Portland General also took wing last quarter, rising 24.3 percent before leveling off at $38.38. In late July, Enron Corp. agreed to acquire Portland General, but the deal still awaits approval from both companies' shareholders and the Oregon Public Utility Commission. The merger is expected to receive regulatory approval in mid-1997.