Stock Market Very Vulnerable Now: This Sector Is Safe and Pays Big Dividends

Southern Company

This large-cap utility leader makes sense for very conservative investors. Southern Company (NYSE: SO) engages in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. It also constructs, acquires, owns and manages power generation assets, including renewable energy and battery energy storage projects and sells electricity in the wholesale market.

The company distributes natural gas in Illinois, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, as well as provides gas marketing services, wholesale gas services and gas pipeline investments operations. It constructs, operates, and maintains 75,924 miles of natural gas pipelines and 14 storage facilities with total capacity of 157 Bcf to provide natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company serves approximately 8.6 million electric and gas utility customers.

Southern Company also owns or operates 30 hydroelectric generating stations, 24 fossil fuel generating stations, three nuclear generating stations, 13 combined cycle/cogeneration stations, 44 solar facilities, 13 wind facilities, one fuel cell facility and one battery storage facility. It also provides products and services in the areas of energy efficiency and utility infrastructure. In addition, the company offers digital wireless communications and fiber optics services.

Shareholders receive a 4.32% dividend. The BofA Securities price target of $69 is higher than the $66.86 consensus target. Southern Company stock closed on Thursday at $62.01 per share.

South Jersey Industries

While hardly a household name, this top company pays among the highest dividends of any utility we cover. South Jersey Industries Inc. (NYSE: SJI) engages in the provision of energy-related products and services.

Its SJG Utility Operations segment consists of natural gas distribution to residential, commercial and industrial customers in southern New Jersey. The ETG Utility Operations segment consists of natural gas distribution to residential, commercial and industrial customers in northern and central New Jersey.

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