5 Latin American Utility Stocks To Consider

Includes: CIG, CPL, EBR, ELP, EOC
by: David Hunkar

The never-ending European debt crisis has flared again in recent weeks with Spain taking the center stage this past week. While Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Greece were in the news in the past couple of years, this is the first time Spain is becoming the focus of investors' attention.

U.S. equity markets have performed well so far this year compared to many foreign markets. Among the developed countries Spain's IBEX 35 is down 15.4% YTD and Italy's FTSE MIB is off 4.8% YTD, while the S&P 500 is up 9.0% YTD. Most emerging markets are also in the positive territory with Brazil's Bovespa and Chile's IPSA up 9.4% and 8.4% YTD, respectively.

As the European crisis drags along and global economic growth worries continue, investors may want to shift some of their equity allocations to stable and dividend-yielding stocks. Electric utilities in Latin American provide some of the attractive investment options in the foreign utilities space.

The following five Latin American Electric Utilities currently pay dividends of over 3%:

1. Company: Empresa Nacional de Electricidad SA (NYSE:EOC)
Current Dividend Yield: 3.63%
Sector: Electric Utilities
Country: Chile

2. Company: Cpfl Energia SA (NYSE:CPL)
Current Dividend Yield: 5.20%
Sector: Electric Utilities

3. Company: Copel Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE:ELP)
Current Dividend Yield: 3.44%
Sector: Electric Utilities

4. Company: Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (NYSE:CIG)
Current Dividend Yield: 6.69%
Sector: Electric Utilities
Country: Brazil

5. Company: Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (NYSE:EBR)
Current Dividend Yield: 6.47%
Sector: Electric Utilities
Country: Brazil

The above five stocks offer a starting point for investors looking to add Latin American utility stocks to their portfolios. It must be noted that unlike utilities in the U.S., emerging market utilities including those in Brazil and Chile will be volatile, but offer strong growth potential.

Disclosure: No Positions