3. CenterPoint Energy ( CNP), a public utility holding company, operates through two wholly owned subsidiaries in seven segments: electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, field services and other operations. The company will release its second-quarter results on Thursday.

CenterPoint recently declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 19.75 cents per share, payable Sept. 9, 2011. In January 2011, for the sixth consecutive year, the company raised its dividend from 19.5 cents to 19.75 cents per share. Currently, CenterPoint has a dividend yield of 4.46%.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the company to record second-quarter net income of $100.78 million, or 22 cents per share, vs. $79 million, or 20 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Sales are expected to soar 12% to $1.97 billion from $1.76 billion in the comparable quarter of the prior year. Cash flow per share is seen at 91 cents. Operating profit is seen rising by 12% to $294.5 million during the quarter.

Of the 16 analysts covering the stock, 63% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg see the stock gaining an average 5.9% to $20.72 in the upcoming 12 months.

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