Utility stocks remained strong even after the Fed delivered a rate hike last month—the second rate hike in 2018. The stocks rose nearly 10%, notably outperforming the broader markets. The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) released its minutes from the June meeting on July 5. The minutes suggested that the Fed might continue to raise rates on a regular basis, even amid increasing trade war concerns. The utility sector is susceptible to interest rate hikes. Rising rates result in higher debt servicing costs for utilities, which dent their profitability.