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New Dividend: 27.5 cents quarterly (per share)
Dividend Percent Increase: 1.89%
Current Yield: 4.31%
Oregon-based power and gas utility
Portland General Electric(POR) may not be the biggest dividend hike of the week on a percentage basis, but that doesn't mean that this small-cap firm doesn't pay out substantial cash -- it does. A paltry 1.89% dividend increase last week brings the firm's dividend yield up to a hefty 4.31%.
The firm isn't merely a regulated utility -- it's also a generation firm with 2,700 megawatts of capacity spread across a handful of plants in the Pacific Northwest. Being a regulated utility gives Portland General regular, predictable income streams, while power generation adds some a speculative angle to the firm's earnings power (generation profits are largely commodity-driven, after all). That's an attractive combination for income investors looking for something other than the standard large-cap utility stock.
A reasonable balance sheet and an impetus on dividend hikes make Portland General a solid core holding for income investors in 2012.
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-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.