Where Natural Gas Is Rising

It's a mixed picture for the sector, says Craig Shere of Standard & Poor's, who thinks Reliant Energy and AES are two of the brighter lights

Rising energy prices and interest rates are having an impact on stocks of natural-gas utilities, energy merchants, and pipelines, says Craig Shere, the equity analyst for Standard & Poor's who covers that area. The higher prices will benefit companies that extract natural gas but could have a negative effect on regulated utilities, in the sense that customers unable to pay higher utility bills could add to the bad-debt burden for the companies. Interest-rate costs will also hurt regulated utilities, whose customer base tends to increase slowly.

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