SunTrust Has 5 Contrarian Favorite Power/Utility Stocks to Buy for 2017

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Dynegy

This is the SunTrust top small cap pick, and it makes sense for investors not needing dividend income but looking for safety and solid capital gains potential. Dynegy Inc. (NYSE: DYN) operates in three segments, Coal, Illinois Power Holdings and Gas. The company sells its services on a wholesale basis from its power-generation facilities. It has a fleet of 35 power plants in eight states, totaling approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity.

The company serves a range of customers, including regional transmission organizations, independent system operators, integrated utilities, municipalities, electric cooperatives, transmission and distribution utilities and power marketers, as well as financial participants, such as banks and hedge funds, and residential, commercial and industrial end-users.

The analysts noted in the report:

We expect completion of debt restructuring in the first quarter of 2017; translates into $3 per share of incremental equity value (factored into our valuation analysis). Additional asset sale announcements should highlight underlying equity value and aid further debt reduction.

Dynegy currently does not pay a dividend. SunTrust has a $14 price target. The consensus target is $13.92, but shares closed on Tuesday at $9.32.

Edison International

This top utility continues to raise its dividend regularly. Edison International (NYSE: EIX) generates electricity through hydroelectric, diesel, natural gas, gas fueled, combustion turbine, nuclear and photovoltaic sources. It supplies electricity primarily to residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and other customers, as well as public authorities through transmission and distribution networks.

Edison International remains well positioned to compete in the market place. The company says that the billions it is spending on upgrades goes predominantly to its networks, and that it only owns about 15% of the generation that its customers consume. The other 85% is purchased on the open market.

The analysts cited these solid reasons to own the stock:

Dividend payout ratio has room to increase, implying that dividend growth should be greater than earnings growth (dividend change announcements are normally made in December). The stock currently trades at a 3% P/E multiple discount to the peer group (based on our 2018 estimate); above average earnings and dividend growth, coupled with elimination of regulatory overhang, should lead to premium valuation.

Investors are paid a 3.06% dividend. SunTrust has set its price objective at $81, and the consensus target is $76.71. Shares closed Tuesday at $71.11.

Exelon

This top utility stock also still makes good sense now for conservative accounts and could beat earnings estimates. Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) is the nation’s leading competitive energy providers, with 2015 revenues of approximately $29.4 billion. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with approximately 32,500 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. Exelon’s utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to more than 7.8 million customers in central Maryland, northern Illinois and southeastern Pennsylvania.

The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to more than 2.5 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100.

Exelon investors receive a 3.63% dividend. The $41 SunTrust price target compares with the $37.81 consensus target. The stock closed Tuesday at $35.06.

The halcyon days of huge gains for the sector are over, but it always makes sense to keep a weighting of utility stocks in a well-rounded portfolio. This is also a solid contrarian play, and the stocks should hold up well when the long-awaited correction finally shows up.