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Recently, we discussed the Services stocks that displayed consistent dividend growth over the past 5 years. Defensive investors should look for high dividend yields and long records of dividend payments for each high dividend yielding stock. We believe the stocks that are able to increase dividends can be appealing to conservative investors that demand consistency and some inflation protection.

Some sectors, like the Utilities sector, contain many high dividend yielding stocks that have achieved consistency in dividend payments. We compiled a list of US Utilities stocks with high dividend yields and consistent dividend growth. The market data are sourced from Fidelity. All companies on this list increased their dividend payments every year since 2005. These stocks have market capitalization above $1 billion and 12-month dividend yield of at least 4%.

Dividend Yield

5-Year Average Div. Growth

52-Week Return

AmeriGas Partners Inc.

APU

6.78%

4.99%

15.63%

Suburban Propane Partners

SPH

6.67%

6.84%

18.79%

Vectren Corporation

VVC

5.06%

2.50%

23.26%

Black Hills Corp.

BKH

4.95%

2.04%

6.27%

SCANA Corporation

SCG

4.92%

2.92%

13.97%

Westar Energy Inc.

WR

4.85%

5.06%

24.78%

The Southern Company

SO

4.80%

4.05%

25.94%

UniSource Energy Corp.

UNS

4.64%

14.87%

23.88%

Consolidated Edison Inc.

ED

4.60%

0.85%

28.17%

Avista Corporation

AVA

4.55%

14.46%

29.52%

DPL Inc.

DPL

4.42%

5.87%

25.64%

PG&E Corp.

PCG

4.31%

6.63%

5.90%

Xcell Energy Inc.

XEL

4.30%

3.87%

22.77%

Atmos Energy Corp.

ATO

4.28%

1.54%

21.52%

Alliant Energy Corp.

LNT

4.26%

8.13%

28.47%

Dominion Resources

D

4.20%

7.38%

22.53%

CenterPoint Energy Inc.

CNP

4.14%

5.66%

45.95%

WGL Holdings Inc.

WGL

4.13%

2.80%

14.28%

AVERAGE

5.58%

22.07%

Since 2005, these 18 US Utilities stocks have increased their cash dividends every year. Their 5 year dividend growth is 5.58% on average. In the last 52-week period, the average return of these 18 stocks was 22.07%. No stock in this group had a loss in the past 12 months, whereas all except 2 stocks – BKH and PCG – provided double digit returns in the same period.

The top 10 highest dividend yielding Utilities stocks with consistent dividend growth are as follows:

1. AmeriGas Partners Inc. (NYSE:APU): AmeriGas Partners Inc. is an energy company distributing propane gas in the United States. APU has a high dividend yield of 6.78% and returned 15.63% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, APU increased its dividend payments 4.99% on average. The stock has a market cap of $2.49B and P/E ratio of 28.17. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies hold the largest position of APU.

2. Suburban Propane Partners (NYSE:SPH): Suburban Propane Partners is an energy company providing propane gas, fuel oil and refined fuels in the United States. SPH has a high dividend yield of 6.67% and returned 18.79% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, SPH increased its dividend payments 6.84% on average. The stock has a market cap of $1.81B and P/E ratio of 16.35. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies and Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment are among SPH investors.

3. Vectren Corporation (NYSE:VVC): Vectren Corporation is an energy company delivering natural gas to residential and business clients in the United States. VVC has a 5.06% dividend yield and returned 23.26% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, VVC increased its dividend payments 2.5% on average. The stock has a market cap of $2.23B and P/E ratio of 19.19. David Dreman’s Dreman Value Management holds the largest position of VVC.

4. Black Hills Corp. (NYSE:BKH): Black Hills Corp. is an energy company providing electricity, gas and power in the United States. BKH has a 4.95% dividend yield and returned 6.27% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, BKH increased its dividend payments 2.04% on average. The stock has a market cap of $1.16B and P/E ratio of 18.09. Israel Englander, Jim Simons, D.E. Shaw and Ken Griffin had BKH positions in their portfolios at the end of March.

5. SCANA Corporation (NYSE:SCG): SCANA Corporation is an energy company providing electricity to retail and wholesale customers in the United States. SCG has a 4.92% dividend yield and returned 13.97% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, SCG increased its dividend payments 2.92% on average. The stock has a market cap of $5.04B and P/E ratio of 13.31. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital, Ken Heebner’s Capital Growth and Louis Bacon’s Moore Global are among SCG investors.

6. Westar Energy Inc. (NYSE:WR): Westar Energy Inc. is a US utility company generating and distributing electricity in Kansas. WR has a 4.85% dividend yield and returned 24.78% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, WR increased its dividend payments 5.06% on average. The stock has a market cap of $3.00B and P/E ratio of 14.75. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies and Israel Englander’s Millennium Management hold the largest WR positions among 300+ funds we are tracking.

7. The Southern Company (NYSE:SO): The Southern Company is a utility company providing electricity in the United States. SO has a 4.80% dividend yield and returned 25.94% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, SO increased its dividend payments 4.05% on average. The stock has a market cap of $33.40B and P/E ratio of 17.48. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital and Clint Carlson’s Carlson Capital are among SO investors.

8. UniSource Energy Corp. (NYSE:UNS): UniSource Energy Corp. is a US utility company providing electricity in Arizona. UNS has a 4.64% dividend yield and returned 23.88% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, UNS increased its dividend payments 14.87% on average. The stock has a market cap of $1.33B and P/E ratio of 13.20. Cliff Asness’ Aqr Capital holds the largest position of UNS among the 300+ funds we are tracking. Israel Englander and D.E. Shaw are also among UNS investors.

9. Consolidated Edison Inc. (NYSE:ED): Consolidated Edison Inc. is an energy company providing electric, gas and steam utility services in the United States. ED has a 4.60% dividend yield and returned 28.17% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, ED increased its dividend payments 0.85% on average. The stock has a market cap of $15.26B and P/E ratio of 13.98. Michael Messner’s Seminole Capital and Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies hold the largest positions of ED.

10. Avista Corporation (NYSE:AVA): Avista Corporation is an energy company providing electric and natural gas utility services in the United States and Canada. AVA has a 4.55% dividend yield and returned 29.52% during the past 12 months. In the past 5 years, AVA increased its dividend payments 14.46% on average. The stock has a market cap of $1.39B and P/E ratio of 12.99. Ken Fisher had more than $30 Million in AVA.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 18 High Dividend Yield Utilities With Consistent Growth