6. American Water Works ( AWK), a water and wastewater utility company, provides almost 15 million people with drinking water, wastewater and other water-related services in over 30 states and two Canadian provinces. Broadly, the company's operations are divided into two segments: Regulated Businesses and the Market-Based Operations. The company will release its second-quarter results on Wednesday.

The company paid its quarterly cash dividend of 21 cents per share on June 1, its eighth consecutive declaration since going public. The company also announced American Water Stock Direct, a dividend reinvestment and direct stock purchase plan that enables stockholders to reinvest cash dividends and purchase additional American Water common stock devoid of brokerage commission or service charge. Currently, AWK has a dividend yield of 3.1%.

Analysts' consensus estimates see American Water Works' second quarter 2011 net income increasing to $79.57 million or 46 cents per share from $72.75 million or 42 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Sales are seen surging 5% to $705.22 million from $671.22 million in the second quarter of 2010. Cash flow per share is seen rising by 54% to $1.07 from the second quarter of 2010. Operating profit is estimated to rise by 6% to $206.25 million.

Of the 21 analysts covering the stock, 62% recommend a buy and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 14.1% to $32.00 in the upcoming 12 months.

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