Utilities still top choices for income

Article Excerpt

In light of today’s low interest rates, we continue to recommend that income-seeking investors buy high-quality utility stocks instead of bonds. These five utilities’ dividend yields have come down lately, but that’s because their stock prices are rising, not because they are cutting their payouts. In fact, all five have been raising their dividends, and their steady cash flows will let them continue to do so. FORTIS INC. $32 (Toronto symbol FTS; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Utilities sector; Shares outstanding: 173.7 million; Market cap: $5.6 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 1.5; Dividend yield: 3.5%; TSINetwork Rating: Above Average; www.fortis.ca) is the main supplier of electrical power in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. It also operates power plants in other parts of Canada, as well as the U.S., Belize and the Cayman Islands. Fortis’ other businesses include Terasen Inc., which distributes natural gas in B.C., and hotels in Atlantic Canada. Fortis earned $45 million in the three months ended September 30, 2010. That’s up…

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