The total market capitalization of the top 20 U.S. electric utility companies totaled $605.37 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. Of the total, 16 companies recorded quarter-over-quarter percentage gains, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
NextEra Energy Inc., Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. retained their first-, second- and third-place spots on the list, respectively. NextEra saw a 5.1% quarter-over-quarter increase in market value to $83.08 billion, Duke Energy's market cap grew 7.9% to $61.52 billion, and Dominion notched a 2.1% gain to end the quarter at $46.91 billion.
Of the top 20 companies, Entergy Corp. posted the biggest percentage gain in market value of 10.3% to $16.18 billion as of Dec. 31, 2018, improving its ranking to the 17th position, from the 20th spot in the third quarter of 2018.
Edison International, which incurred losses for one of the 2017 Thomas Fire in Ventura County due to its electrical equipment, saw the largest quarter-over-quarter decline, of 16% to $18.50 billion, slipping to 16th place from 12th. The company was assigned a negative ratings outlook by Moody's due to the Woolsey fire, which was similar to the size of the Thomas fire and created another large contingent exposure for Southern California Edison Co.
Southern Co., Exelon Corp. and American Electric Power Co. Inc. retained their fourth, fifth and sixth spots, respectively. Southern Co.'s value grew 2.2% to $45.19 billion, Exelon's capitalization rose 3.3% to $43.56 billion and AEP's market cap increased 5.5% to $36.85 billion as of Dec. 31, 2018.
Sempra Energy and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. despite posting percentage drops maintained their eighth and ninth spots. Sempra posted a 4.8% decline in its market value to $29.61 billion, and PSEG's market cap dropped 1.4% to $26.31 billion.
The S&P 500 Electric Utilities Sub Industry index performed the best in 2018 with a total return of 4.2%, followed by the S&P 500 Utilities index at a 4.1% gain and the S&P 500 Multi-Utilities index with a 1.8% gain. The S&P 500 index had a negative return of 4.4%.