Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spotlight on a 4.6% Gas Utility Generating Revenues for Over 150 Years

This stock has been around for a long, long time. This is a stock that is the eighth oldest listed stock on the New York Stock Exchange, has traded on the exchange for 121 years, was one of the original stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896, has increased its dividend for the last seven years, and was founded in 1857, more than a century and a half ago. On top of that, the company just boosted its quarterly dividend by 2.5% to 40.5 cents per share, providing a very favorable yield of 4.6%.

The stock, Laclede Group Inc. (LG), which was formerly known as Laclede Gas Company, is a natural gas utility that provides natural gas service to about 630,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Missouri. It trades at 13.5 times forward earnings and has an operating cash flow of about three times its total dividend payout. The company has increased its dividend every year since 2003.

Laclede recently reported net income for its fiscal year ended September 30, 2010 at $2.43 diluted earnings per share, the third-highest in the company's history. For the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010, the company narrowed its loss, reporting a loss of $0.07 per share, versus a loss of $0.22 per share for the same quarter last year. Quarterly earnings rose 12.7% year over year.

There are many other high yield natural gas and propane gas utilities. has just updated its Excel list of 25 gas utilities with yields ranging up to to 7.5%, such as Nicor (GAS) yielding 4.2%, Spectra Energy (SE) yielding 4.2%, and Chesapeake Utilities (CPK) yielding 3.5%.

Disclosure: Author did not own any of the above at the time the article was written.


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