Infrastructure

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

The ELK Utility Operations segment consists of natural gas distribution to residential, commercial and industrial customers in Maryland. The Wholesale Energy Operations segment includes the activities of South Jersey Resources Group and South Jersey Exploration. The Retail Electric Operations segment consists of electricity acquisition and transportation to commercial, industrial and residential customers.

Investors receive a 5.27% dividend, and the stock will go ex-dividend next week on December 9, so investors that buy shares prior will collect the dividend. Maxim’s $31 price target is a Wall Street high. The consensus target for South Jersey Industries stock is $28.30, and shares closed at $23.58 on Thursday.

Spire

This is another off-the-radar stock that makes good sense for nervous investors now. Spire Inc. (NYSE: SR) engages in the purchase, retail distribution and sale of natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial and other end-users of natural gas in the United States.

The company also is involved in the marketing of natural gas. In addition, the company engages in the transportation of propane through its propane pipeline, compression of natural gas, risk management and other activities. Further, it provides physical natural gas storage services.

In November, the board of directors unanimously agreed to increase the quarterly common stock dividend to $0.685 per share from $0.65 per share. The dividend is payable on January 4, 2022, to shareholders of record on December 10, 2021. Spire has continuously paid a cash dividend since 1946, with 2022 marking the company’s 19th consecutive year of increasing its common stock dividend on an annualized basis.

With the increase last month, investors now receive a 4.59% dividend. Mizuho has set a $69 price target, but the consensus target is slightly higher at $69.80. The stock closed on Thursday at $60.71.


Investors looking to avoid single stock exposure can always purchase the iShares Trust Global Utilities (NYSEARCA: JXI) exchange-traded fund. While the yield is somewhat lower at 3%, the diversity of owning multiple top utility companies can help skew risk much lower.

The wild back-and-forth swings in the market at these nosebleed levels seem to indicate that some rough sledding could be coming our way. Getting some safety into portfolios now makes good sense.

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