A reshuffling of the rankings. Is nuclear the cause?
Herman K. Trabish is a full-time news reporter covering electric utility regulatory proceedings as well as policy issues dealing with renewables, energy storage, and transmission.
As this year's Fortnightly 40 was going to press, presenting our unique analysis of the nation's best-performing energy companies, financial markets in the U.S. and around the world were reeling. Stock prices were gyrating up and down - but mostly down - in the face of three fundamental uncertainties: 1) the health of China's economy, 2) the fate of Greece as an economic player in Europe, and 3) the chance that the Federal Reserve might begin soon to put the gas pedal to U.S. interest rates.
And utility stock prices could claim no immunity against these apparent threats to worldwide economic stability. The Dow Jones Utility Index, up about 28 percent in calendar year 2014, was down about 11 percent for 2015, through the end of August.
But therein lies the beauty of the Fortnightly 40 - now in its tenth consecutive year as a closely watched tool for judging economic efficiency. That's because the F40 listing ignores the day-to-day "noise of markets" by reflecting a four-year average (for the four calendar years that precede the year of publication) of some half-dozen basic financial indices, including an indicator that we label "Sustainable Growth," which is designed to ensure that today's performance has a reasonable chance of being duplicated tomorrow.