5. Alliant Energy (LNT - Get Report), a regulated investor-owned public utility holding company, provides regulated electricity and natural gas services to one million electric and 412,000 natural gas customers in the Midwest through its two public utility subsidiaries. The company has three operating segments: electric, gas and other operations. Alliant is scheduled to release its second quarter 2011 results on Thursday.
The company recently declared its quarterly dividend of 42.5 cents per share, payable Aug. 15, 2011. With a dividend history of 263 consecutive quarters, the company has a current dividend yield of 4.14%. Annualized dividend of $1.7 per share indicates a 12% increase and also places the dividend within its target payout ratio of 60% to 70% of utility earnings. Additionally, in mid-May, the company's utility subsidiaries declared preferred stock dividends in the range of 40.6 cents to $1.10 per share.
Analysts polled by Bloomberg see the company reporting second-quarter net income of $54.13 million, or 49 cents per share, compared to $49.30 million, or 43 cents per share, a year ago. Sales are seen rising by 4% to $768.33 million from $741.60 million in the same quarter of the prior year. Gross margin is seen expanding to 61.80% from 50.71% in year-ago quarter. Cash flow per share for the quarter is seen at a strong $1.07, while return on assets is seen expanding by 16% to 1.34%.Of the 11 analysts covering the stock, 45% recommend a buy and the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg foresee the stock gaining an average 8.3% to $43.00 in the upcoming 12 months.