With market conditions getting rocky, utility stocks (seen as
defensive issues) have outperformed in recent weeks.
The Utility-Electric Power group, which jumped to 70 in
Monday's IBD, gained 3.7% in the past four weeks vs. a 1.7% drop
in the S&P 500. The Utility-Diversified group was No. 83,
gaining 3.1% in the past four weeks.
) andWestar Energy (
) are two highly rated issues with respectable yields in the
diversified and electric utility groups.
Scana, a Cayce, S.C.-based diversified utility, provides
electricity and gas in North Carolina, South Carolina and
Georgia. The firm has had some bumpy spots in earnings in recent
years, but has mostly been able to deliver single-digit gains in
its bottom line.
The stock has a five-year
Earnings Stability Factor
of 3. The gauge runs from 0 (stable) to 99 (wild).
The company pays 52.5 cents a share each quarter, or $2.10 on
an annual basis. It has a yield of about 4.1%, which is more than
double that of the S&P 500.
Scana's stock is near an eight-month high after recently
clearing a 50.98 buy point from a handle in a long saucer base.
The saucer formed next to a flat base.
The company will report first-quarter results April 24.
Westar Energy is the biggest provider of electricity in
Kansas, serving almost 700,000 commercial, industrial and
residential customers. Even though utilities aren't known for
growth, Westar's earnings rose 1% to 41% in the past five
It has a five-year Earnings Stability Factor of 8. Profit is
expected to rise 3% to $2.34 a share this year.
In late February, Westar raised its quarterly dividend by a
penny to 35 cents a share. At the new quarterly rate, it pays
$1.40 a share, which works out to a yield of about 4%.
Westar broke out from a cup-with-handle base in February and
has formed a flat base with a 35.34 buy point.