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8 High-Dividend Utility Stocks to Watch

2. Westar Energy (WR - Get Report), an electric utility company in Kansas, engages in providing electric generation, transmission and distribution services to approximately 687,000 customers. It also supplies electric energy at wholesale to municipalities and electric cooperatives in Kansas. Westar has 6,756 megawatt of generating capacity in service. The company will release its second-quarter results on Friday.

On July 1, the company paid a regular quarterly dividend of 32 cents per share on its common stock. In addition, it paid quarterly dividends on its 4.25%, 4.5% and 5% series preferred stocks. The annualized dividend of $1.28 per share represents a 3% increase from the dividend payout in 2010. Currently, Westar has a dividend yield of 4.73%.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect Westar to record second-quarter net income of $52.67 million, or 44 cents per share. Sales are seen soaring by 2% to $503 million from $495.18 million earlier. Gross margin is likely to expand to 73.00% from 72.31%, while operating profit is estimated to rise to $124 million from $120.99 million in the year-ago period. Cash flow per share is estimated to come in at 45 cents. Return on equity and assets is seen expanding by 10% and 14% to 8.60% and 2.60%, respectively.

Of the 14 analysts covering the stock, 43% recommend a buy while 50% suggest a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg see the stock gaining an average 6.6% to $27.57 over the next 12 months.

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