Energy: Electric Utilities 2010 First
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Energy: Electric Utilities 2010 First

For four years running, Daniel Ford has held the pole position.

Daniel Ford Barclays Capital

The buy side says: “If I really need to know the nuts and bolts about a particular issue, I call Dan.”

For four years running, Daniel Ford has held the pole position. The Barclays Capital researcher raised Alliant Energy Corp. from neutral to buy in September 2009, at $25.82, believing that investors were needlessly abandoning the stock after the Madison, Wisconsin–based utility ran afoul of local politicians and community activists by requesting a 13.8 percent rate hike. In April, after the stock had sizzled up 33.9 percent, to $34.57, and outperformed the sector by 35.9 percentage points, the 43-year-old analyst downgraded it to neutral, on valuation. By the end of August, the stock had crept up only 1.3 percent, to $35.02. Ford, who is based in Wells, Maine, “has extensive knowledge on the industry. He not only knows most of the management teams very well, he is also well connected to the regulators, politicians and consumer advocates,” applauds one buy-side backer.


In a year when macro concerns overshadowed stock picking, these top analysts came to the aid of investors at sea in the market turbulence.
After two years in the runner-up position, Chip Dillon of Credit Suisse rises to No. 3. “He is able to understand more-esoteric issues specific to the space,” touts one client. Dillon initiated coverage of Pactiv Corp., the maker of Hefty brand trash and sandwich bags and a producer of food-service and food-packaging products, in March with an outperform rating, making the case that the Lake Forest, Illinois–based company was undervalued on the basis of earnings and cash flow.
Michael Gambardella, who sits atop the sector for a third year running, “has been covering this space for 25 years or more — I believe that is the right number — and he offers an unparalleled perspective, given his history with these companies and his relationships,” according to one satisfied client.
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