Top Wall Street Strategist Says Buy Defensive Dividend Growth for the Rest of 2021

Southern Company

This large-cap utility leader makes sense for very conservative accounts. 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 4.11% dividend. BofA Securities has set a $72 price target. The consensus target is $67.22. Southern Company stock ended Tuesday trading at $64.16 a share.


Shares of this top telecommunications company offer tremendous value at current levels. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is one of the largest U.S. telecom companies. It provides wireless and wireline service to retail, enterprise and wholesale customers.

The company’s wireless network serves approximately 120 million mobile connections with 115 million postpaid subscribers. Verizon’s wireline business has undergone a period of secular decline due to wireless substitution and cable competition.

Verizon acquired AOL and Yahoo to create the Oath digital content platform, which the company recently sold at a sizable loss to Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. The sale allows Verizon to offload properties from the former internet empires, though it will keep a 10% stake in the company and it will be rebranded to just Yahoo.

Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and it delivers integrated business solutions to customers worldwide.

Investors receive a 4.39% dividend. The BofA Securities price objective is $64. The consensus target price is $60.10, and Verizon stock closed most recently at $57.18.

The bottom line is that, by any measure, the stock market remains overbought, expensive and long due for a breather. That probably means more than a one- or two-day 3% decline. With that noted, there are very few alternatives for those that need some growth and, most importantly, consistent income. These five stocks all supply both and make sense for growth and income investors.

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