As global growth slows, one unloved sector is getting lots of love

Utility stocks were among the worst-performing sectors of the market earlier this year, but they’re making a roaring comeback.

The utilities-tracking XLU ETF has risen in 13 of the last 14 trading sessions, jumping 10 percent in one month alone. Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global, told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Friday that the run is likely to continue as investors retreat into more stable sectors. Here are her reasons why.

• Utilities had taken a backseat to more growth-oriented stocks like technology amid broad economic expansion and the prospect of higher interest rates that could theoretically depress utilities’ prices. Now, as the market is turning more defensive and a U.S.-China trade tiff has come into focus, utilities look more attractive.

• Utilities typically pay substantial dividend yields; the XLU carries a yield of 3.3 percent, and some names within the group pay out even heftier dividends relative to the market.

• The group tends to have more reliable fundamentals than high-growth stocks, and many utility names are domestic plays that could withstand international trade tensions.

Bottom line: Utility stocks are rallying in recent weeks, and the trend is likely to continue.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET). In addition, he contributes to CNBC and CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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