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In a recent article, we provided a list of large-cap Consumer Goods stocks with high dividend yields and a recent dividend growth. Although high dividend yields are usually the most important criteria in picking defensive stocks, some conservative investors may also seek a recent dividend boost.

Since a recent dividend growth may suggest further increases in dividend yields, the stocks with dividend boost have decent potential upsides in the upcoming inflationary environment. Hence, we believe high dividend yielding stocks that increased their dividend payouts in the last year are appealing to conservative investors that seek some inflation protection.

Like Consumer Goods sector, Utilities sector also contain many stocks with a dividend boost last year. We compiled a list of mega-cap US Utilities stocks with high current dividend yield and high 1-year dividend growth. The sector classifications are sourced from Finviz and market data are sourced from Fidelity. All companies in this list didn’t cut their dividends in any single year since 2006. These stocks have market capitalizations above $4 billion, 12-month dividend yield of at least 3%, and 1-year dividend growth of at least 5%.

Dividend Yield

1-Year Div. Growth

52-Week Return

American Electric Power Company

AEP

4.90%

9.52%

18.55%

DTE Energy Co.

DTE

4.77%

10.85%

9.84%

CMS Energy Corp.

CMS

4.29%

40.00%

34.87%

Alliant Energy Corp.

LNT

4.24%

7.59%

29.67%

Dominion Resources Inc.

D

4.08%

7.65%

21.96%

Nextera Energy Inc.

NEE

3.88%

10.00%

16.25%

NSTAR

NST

3.73%

6.25%

34.03%

Sempra Energy

SRE

3.61%

23.08%

13.62%

Wisconsin Energy Corp.

WEC

3.35%

30.00%

27.09%

Northeast Utilities

NU

3.16%

7.32%

38.08%

American Water Works Co.

AWK

3.14%

9.52%

42.65%

AVERAGE

14.71%

26.06%

Since 2006, these 11 large-cap US Utilities stocks didn’t diminish their dividend payouts in any single year and they increased their dividend payout more than 5% in the past 12-months. The average 1-year dividend growth of these 12 stocks is 14.71%. In the last 52-week period, the average return of these 12 large-cap consumers stocks was 26.06%. No stock in this group had a loss in the past 12 months, whereas all stocks except one – DTE– provided double digit returns in the same period.

Here are the 11 large-cap US Utilities stocks with a dividend boost in the past 12 months:

American Electric Power Company: American Electric Power Company is an electric utilities company generating and distributing electric power to retail clients in the United States. AEP has 4.90% dividend yield and returned 18.55% during the past 12 months. AEP raised its dividend per share from 42 cents to 46 cents last year, having a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 9.52%. The stock has a market cap of $18.25B and P/E ratio of 14.91. Israel Englander, Phill Gross and Steve Cohen are prominent AEP investors (See Steven Cohen’s top stock picks here).

DTE Energy Co.: DTE Energy Co. is a US utilities company that generates and distributes electricity and natural gas primarily in Michigan. DTE has a 4.77% dividend yield and returned 9.84% during the past 12 months. DTE increased its dividend per share twice, from 53 cents to 58.75 cents, in the past 12 months. The stock has a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 10.85%. DTE has a market cap of $8.41B and P/E ratio of 14.57. Cliff Asness’ Aqr Capital holds the largest DTE positions among 300+ funds we are tracking. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital is also among DTE investors.

CMS Energy Corp.: CMS Energy Corp. is a US utilities company providing electric power and natural gas in Detroit and Michigan. CMS has 4.29% dividend yield and returned 34.87% during the past 12 months. CMS paid 21 cents of dividend per share in the second quarter of this year; a 40% increase from 15 cents of dividend per share in the same quarter of last year. The stock has a market cap of $4.98B and P/E ratio of 12.82. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital had more than $50 Million in CMS at the end of March 2011. D.E. Shaw, Clint Carlson, Cliff Asness and Jim Simons also hold CMS in their portfolios (See Jim Simons’ other high dividend stock picks).

Alliant Energy Corp.: Alliant Energy Corp. is a US company providing electric utilities, natural gas utilities and related services in the United States. LNT has 4.24% dividend yield and returned 29.67% during the past 12 months. LNT raised its dividend per share from 39.5 cents to 42.5 cents last year, having a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 7.59%. The stock has a market cap of $4.48B and P/E ratio of 14.02. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital and Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies hold the two largest LNT positions among 300+ funds we are tracking.

Dominion Resources Inc.: Dominion Resources Inc. is a US utilities company supplying electricity and natural gas to North Carolina and Virginia. D has 4.08% dividend yield and returned 21.96% during the past 12 months. D increased its dividend per share from 45.75 cents to 49.25 cents this year, having a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 7.65%. The stock has a market cap of $27.77B and P/E ratio of 9.10. Steven Cohen and Clint Carlson are prominent D investors.

Nextera Energy Inc.: Nextera Energy Inc. is a US energy company that generates and distributes renewable energy in the United States and Canada. NEE has 3.88% dividend yield and returned 16.25% during the past 12 months. NEE paid 55 cents of dividend per share in the second quarter of this year; a 10% increase from 50 cents of dividend per share in the same quarter of last year. The stock has a market cap of $24.04B and P/E ratio of 14.17. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital holds more than $60M of NEE. Israel Englander’s Millennium Management and Bernard Horn’s Polaris Capital had the next largest NEE positions.

NSTAR: NSTAR is a US utilities company providing electricity and natural gas to retail clients primarily in Massachusetts. NST has 3.73% dividend yield and returned 34.03% during the past 12 months. NST raised its dividend per share from 40 cents to 42.5 cents this year, having a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 6.25%. The stock has a market cap of $4.77B and P/E ratio of 20.10.

Sempra Energy: Sempra Energy is a US energy holding company that provides energy-related products and services worldwide. SRE has 3.61% dividend yield and returned 13.62% during the past 12 months. SRE paid 48 cents of dividend per share in the second quarter of this year; a 23.08% increase from 39 cents of dividend per share in the same quarter of last year. The stock has a market cap of $12.81B and P/E ratio of 14.59. Phill Gross’ Adage Capital holds more than $80 Million of SRE.

Wisconsin Energy Corp.: Wisconsin Energy Corp. is a US utilities company supplying electricity and natural gas to Wisconsin and Michigan. WEC has a 3.35% dividend yield and returned 27.09% during the past 12 months. WEC increased its dividend per share from 20 cents to 26 cents this year. The stock has a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 30.00%. WEC has a market cap of $7.30B and P/E ratio of 14.92. Jim Simons, Israel Englander and Phill Gross are among WEC investors.

Northeast Utilities: Northeast Utilities is a US utilities company providing electricity and natural gas services to retail clients in New England. NU has 3.16% dividend yield and returned 38.08% during the past 12 months. NU increased its dividend per share from 25.62 cents to 27.5 cents this year, having a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 7.32%. The stock has a market cap of $6.22B and P/E ratio of 14.98. Douglas Spiegel’s Realm Partners holds the largest NU position among the 300+ funds we are tracking. Jim Simons and Israel Englander are also among NU investors.

American Water Works Co.: American Water Works Co. is a US utilities company that provides water and wastewater services in the United States and Canada. AWK has a 3.14% dividend yield and returned 42.65% during the past 12 months. AWK increased its dividend per share twice, from 21 cents to 23 cents, in the past 12 months. The stock has a 1-Year Dividend Growth of 9.52%.AWK has a market cap of $5.15B and P/E ratio of 18.35. John Osterweis’ Osterweis Capital had more than $90 Million in AWK. David Gallo’s Valinor Management has the second largest AWK position, holding more than $40M of AWK. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies is also among AWK investors.

Source: 11 Dividend Boosting Utilities Stocks