Shares of utility Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) rose an impressive 13.5% in March, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. That was a full four percentage points more than the average utility stock gained, using the sector-tracking Vanguard Utilities ETF as a proxy. In other words, during a good month for utility stocks, Xcel did even better than most.
The big picture here is mostly about the world learning to deal with the novel coronavirus. The vaccines rolling out around the country are a big piece of the puzzle, with investors expecting the effort to lead to a material economic rebound. That will be driven by people heading back to their workplaces, and businesses — from restaurants to retail stores — more fully reopening their operations. In turn, that should lead to increased demand for electricity, which will be good for the utility industry.