3. American Water Works (AWK)
Company profile: American Water Works, with a market value of $6.5 billion, is the largest investor-owned water and wastewater utility in the U.S. It provides water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout North America. Nearly 90% of its revenue comes from regulated utility markets.
Dividend Yield: 2.73%
Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 17% this year, including 6.6% in the past month, and have a three-year, average annual return of 26%. Analysts give its shares eight "buy" ratings, two "buy/holds," five "holds," and one "weak hold," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.For fiscal 2012, analysts' consensus estimate is earnings of $1.95 per share, up 13% from last year. Earnings are expected to grow by 7%, to $2.09 per share, in 2013. 2. American States Water (AWR) Company profile: American States Water, with a market value of $778 million, serves water customers in California. It also provides electric service to a section of San Bernardino County. Dividend Yield: 2.7% Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 18% this year, including 3.4% in the past month, and have a three-year, average annual return of 6.3%. Analysts give its shares two "buy" ratings and five "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. Analysts' consensus estimate is for earnings of $2.31 per share this year and 5% growth, to $2.42 per share, in 2013. 1. Aqua America (WTR) Company profile: Aqua America, based in Philadelphia and with a market value of $3.7 billion, serves more than three million customers in 13 states, from Texas to New Jersey. Dividend Yield: 2.4% Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 23% this year, including 8% in the past month, and have a three-year, average annual return of 17%. Analysts give its shares five "buy" ratings, one "buy/hold," and seven "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. S&P says its "buy" rating is "based on our relative valuations, along with (the company's) consistent dividend hikes each year." It adds that its strong balance sheet has translated into low-cost financing to fund capital investment projects. On July 31, the company reported record second-quarterly earnings with net income up 10% to $41.4 million or 30 cents per share year-over-year, with revenue up 11% to $198 million.
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