Market Overview

Ten Utilities Stocks Worth a Look Now

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Many investors turn to utility stocks during difficult economic times because they provide a steady stream of income and their share prices are less affected by uncertain market conditions. Here's a look at ten utility companies with dividend yields of greater than 3% and stocks that are up year to date and closer to their 52-week highs than their 52-week lows, despite recent pull backs along with the broader markets.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE: BIP): This Bermuda-based company primarily operates in the utilities, transport and energy, and timber sectors. It posted strong second-quarter results last week. The $3.7 billion market cap company has a dividend yield of 5.9%. Its P/E ratio is 5.2 and the return on equity is 22.7%. The share price is nearly 48% higher than a year ago, and the stock has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average year to date.

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP): This Houston-based electricity and natural gas provider last week reported strong year-over-year earnings growth in the second quarter, which was followed by an upgrade by Deutsche Bank. CenterPoint's dividend yield is 4.6%. Its return on equity is 16.1%. Shares are trading nearly 21% higher than a year ago. The stock has outperformed competitor Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) and the broader markets year to date.

Companhia Energetica De Minas Gerais (NYSE: CIG): Cemig, the largest combined power generator and distributor in Brazil, recently bought an additional 13% stake in energy company Light, bringing its stake to 52%. Cemig has a dividend yield of 6.7% and a market cap of $11.5 billion. The share price is more than 17% higher than a year ago. The stock has outperformed competitor Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE: EPL) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average year to date.

Dominion Resources (NYSE: D): Last week, this Richmond, Va.-based company declared its 334th consecutive quarterly dividend. Founded in 1909, the company now has a market cap of $26.5 billion. The dividend yield is 4.3% and the return on equity is 14.2%. The share price has grown nearly 10% since the beginning of the year. The stock has outperformed competitor American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average year to date.

FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE): Headquartered in Akron, it provides electricity to 6 million customers in Ohio and the Mid-Atlantic states. The company saw revenues surge in the second quarter, beating the consensus forecast. Its market cap is $16.4 billion and the dividend yield is 5.6%. Shares are trading more than 10% higher than a year ago. Year to date, the stock has outperformed competitors such as American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) as well as the broader markets.

Gas Natural (NYSE: EGAS): Last week, this natural gas utility company announced the acquisition of Independence Oil & LP Gas, a propane and heating oil supplier. Gas Natural pays a monthly dividend of $0.45 per share, or a yield of 5.0%. The P/E ratio is 11.6. Shares are trading more than 5% higher than at the beginning of the year. In recent months, Gas Natural has outperformed competitors such as Black Hills (NYSE: BKH) and MDU Resources (NYSE: MDU).

National Grid (NYSE: NGG): National Grid owns and operates regulated electricity and gas infrastructure networks in the UK and northeastern U.S. and is regularly a top pick in high-yield dividend portfolios. Its dividend yield is 6.3% and it has a P/E ratio of 8.9. The return on equity is 32.6%. The share price is nearly 14% higher than a year ago. The stock has outperformed competitor Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED) and the broader markets year to date.

NiSource (NYSE: NI): This Indiana-based energy holding company reported better-than-expected earnings last week due in part to growth in sales. This S&P 500 company has a market cap of $5.1 billion and its dividend yield is 5.0%. The share price is almost 13% higher year over year. The stock has outperformed the broader markets and competitor Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) over the past six months.

ONEOK (NYSE: OKE): This Tulsa, Ok.-based diversified energy company reported strong EPS and revenue results last week. The company has a market cap of $6.1 billion and a dividend yield of 3.8%. Its return on equity is 14.1%. Its long-term EPS growth forecast is 8.0%. The share price has grown almost 31% in the past year, outperforming competitors such as Dynergy (NYSE: DIN) and OGE Energy (NYSE: OGE) as well as the broader markets.

Unitil (NYSE: UTL): This company distributes electricity and natural gas to New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. Insiders bought 6,500 shares of this $275 million market cap utility in June. The company offers a 5.5% dividend yield. Its share price has risen more than 26% in the past year, and it pulled back less than 2% in the past week. The stock has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average year to date.

 

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