Earth Day is as good a day as any to plant the seeds of future gains for investors. There are plenty of stocks out there that are doing right by the environment that may also do right by your financial health.
Trex (TREX 3.45%) and NextEra Energy (NEE 4.00%) are two environmentally friendly companies that are leading their respective industries on that front. They're doing right by the planet, but now let's see why they can also do right by their shareholders.
We've been moving to the suburbs during the pandemic, and as we claw our way out of the crisis with vaccinated arms we're going to be entertaining in our backyard more. Trex -- the leader in eco-friendly composite decking that consists of 95% reclaimed wood and plastic film -- is going to be an obvious beneficiary.
Traditional wood patios take a lot of maintenance. We're talking painting and staining every few seasons, replacing planks as they rot, warp, or become tasty for termites, and generally dealing with a perpetual hassle. A Trex deck lasts for years without any maintenance. Wood decks are historically initially cheaper, but with lumber prices roughly tripling over the past year it's going to be that much more compelling to go with Trex.
Consolidated net sales soared 39% in the fourth quarter of last year. Trex did warn that top-line growth would slow to 20% for the first quarter, which it will discuss next month, but it has years of market share to gain at the expense of inferior tree-shredding wood decking. With expanding a home's outdoor living space a rising priority for home improvement projects -- and interest rates still low in a housing boom -- Trex is ready to weather the next new normal just the way its decks weather the outdoor elements.
Investors flock to utility stocks for the dividend income, and on that front NextEra Energy may seem like a laggard with its 2% yield. But there's more to this story than just the quarterly distributions. Despite increasing its payout for 26 consecutive years, the real reason to own NextEra Energy is that it's more than just a Florida electric utility.
NextEra Energy is the country's top dog in generating renewable wind and solar energy. The 2,640 megawatts of solar available on its combined system is more than any other utility in the country. You may have noticed that the White House is favoring cleaner energy initiatives, and NextEra Energy is already there to cash in on the environmentally trend that will be flush with incentives for early adopters.
Earnings rose 14% in the first quarter that NextEra Energy reported this week. It sees annual earnings per share climbing 6% to 8% through at least 2023, and that will keep its status as a Dividend Aristocrat going. It has a growing backlog of renewable energy products to tackle, and with folks across the country flocking to Florida it's in the right place at the right time in more ways than one.