NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Perhaps it took Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee's announcement Thursday to help a beleaguered utility stock head higher.It was after the Fed chairman and the FOMC made an unprecedented decision -- to commence a new, third, open-ended round of quantitative easing and extend the period for holding down short-term interest rates between 0 and 1/4% to mid-2015 -- that things started to turn around. After the FOMC news, shares of Exelon ( EXC) finally moved higher, closing up 2% on significantly higher than normal volume. After its merger with Constellation Energy earlier this year, EXC had evolved to a point where it could actually claim to be "numero uno" in the U.S. when it comes to being a competitive energy supplier and utility. When it comes to creating one of the cleanest, lowest-operating-cost power generators, Exelon has emerged towards the top of its peer group. It also has one of the largest retail customer bases in the U.S., serving more than 6.6 million customers. According to its eye-friendly and investor-friendly Web site, Exelon "owns approximately 35,000 megawatts of power generation, including the nation's largest nuclear fleet of more than 19,000 megawatts." Its customer-centric retail and wholesale energy business should allow the company to grow the energy products it offers customers in 46 states. In addition, the "new company" claims to be the nation's second-largest regulated distributor of electricity and gas, serving millions of customers in Maryland, Illinois and Pennsylvania. EXC said it now owns three "utilities -- BGE, ComEd and PECO --
Looks like both have bottomed and are moving up. For comparison sake I looked at the key financial statistics for another big utility, Southern Company ( SO). To me its balance sheet looked worse than Exelon's, with a higher debt-to-equity ratio of almost 115. Ouch! Southern's yield to its current price of $45.92 was only 4.27%. Its quarterly revenue growth was not growing at all, but was actually a minus 7.5%. This helped me feel much better about EXC, whose earnings and revenue growing potential has not yet been realized. If you're looking for another company with a decent dividend yield that appears to be seriously underpriced, take a look at Caterpillar ( CAT). With a forward PE ratio of less than 9 and a price-to-earnings-to growth (PEG) ratio of only 0.52, CAT looks more like a steal at $90 a share. The demand for CAT's products and machinery should be growing in the year ahead now that the world's central banks have opened wide the money spigots and gone all-out to spur industrial growth and job-creating infrastructure and mining projects. With its $2.08 annual dividend, if you can buy CAT shares at $90 your dividend yield would be 2.31%. That's better than the 10-year Treasury bond! But if you'd prefer an almost 6% yield and ownership in one of the fastest-growing power companies in America, you may want to start accumulating shares of Exelon before the rest of the yield-hungry investment market catches on. As of the time of publication the author had no holdings in any of the companies mentioned in this article. This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.