The first thing I would do is buy the stocks of utilities for which I am not concerned that the earnings risk is very high. That means you should buy Dominion (D). Why Dominion? Because, just this week, we heard on "Mad Money" that this 3.6% yielder is doing incredibly well.
First, it is going to spin off a master limited partnership, which is terrific and will bring in a lot of cash. Second, business itself allows for the continued increase in dividends. Finally, it is building a remarkable liquefied natural gas export plant that is well ahead of every other LNG facility on the books -- with the possible exception of the Cheniere export plant, because both plants were at one-time LNG import facilities. So they are simply reverse-engineering plants that had already been permitted, had the docks ready and have been hooked into pipe.
Dominion CEO Tom Farrell has already pre-sold the LNG, so the risk here is very small. A growth utility may be a terrific place to be as the deadline comes close, or even if it gets passed.
I would also consider the common stock of another serial raiser: ConEd (ED). Why this one? Simple: It is not a generator of energy. It is a purveyor of energy. That's a nice augmenting of Dominion, which has some coal exposure -- something that ConEd has none of. ConEd is a play on the conversion of oil to natural gas, and it has a ready supply of natural gas to a city that has tremendous growth, and won't be all that affected by a crisis, because the economy is more international than many realize.Finally, I think we will get a chance to buy Southern (SO), which is already at about 5% yield and has an amazingly long-term history of paying that dividend through the toughest times imaginable. I have interviewed Southern several times, and I truly think this company gets the sanctity of the dividend better than just any utility. I like the fact that Dave Peltier, who is the portfolio manager for The Street's Dividend Stock Advisor, has selected Southern. That portfolio has beaten the Dow Jones Dividend Index by sporting stocks that have consistently raised their dividends -- which is exactly the opposite, obviously, of what bond-issuers can do.
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