DTE Energy Inches Up As Stock Indexes Struggle


As the market faltered in the past few weeks, some conservative plays inched ahead.

The Nasdaq fell as much as 5.5% from its early March intraday high. Meanwhile, diversified utilityDTE Energy ( DTE ) rose almost 3% in the same period.

Income investors love those kinds of divergences. However, if a bear market were to develop, utilities wouldn't necessarily provide much shelter.

During the 2008-09 bear market, the electric utility industry group dropped 49% while the gas and water groups fell 40%. The S&P 500 fell 58%.

DTE Energy is composed of diversified utility operations, including electricity and natural gas. The electric and gas operations date to 1903 and 1898, respectively. Other DTE businesses are engaged in gas pipelines; gathering and storage; power and industrial projects; and energy marketing and trading.

The electric segment serves 2.1 million customers in southeastern Michigan, including Detroit. The gas segment serves customers throughout the state.

The stock has several things going for it besides the fearful mood of the market.

Cash flow from operations is exceptionally strong. In 2013, cash flow per share was $10.26, or about 150% greater than EPS. This would suggest the utility has plenty of elbow room to keep paying the current $2.62 a share dividend.

The annualized dividend yield is 3.6%.

The five-year Earnings Stability Factor is 5 on a scale of 0 (calm) to 99 (erratic).

Annual EPS growth ranged from 3% to 6% in the past three years. The Street expects earnings to grow 6% this year and next year. Both reflect upward revisions.

Apart from reclassifications and eliminations that adjusted revenue downward, electricity accounted for 49% of revenue in 2013; power and industrial projects, almost 19%; energy trading, 17%; natural gas, 14%; and storage and pipelines, 1%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Investing Ideas

Referenced Stocks: DTE

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