A look at dividends
Georgia-based Southern Company (SO) announced on April 16, 2018, that it has raised its quarterly dividend by $0.02 to $0.60 per share. In 2018, it’s expected to pay $2.38 per share, which is more than 3% higher than its total dividends per share last year. The ex-dividend date is May 18, 2018, and the dividend will be paid on June 6, 2018.
As the second-largest regulated utility, Southern Company has one of the longest dividend payment histories among the top utilities in the S&P 500. It has paid a cash dividend for 282 consecutive quarters. The dividends have been equal to or greater than the previous quarter. The recent raise marks the 17th consecutive year of annual dividend increases.
Southern Company is the highest-yielding stock among the top utilities. It’s currently trading at a dividend yield of 5.3%. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) offers a yield of 4.3%. Southern Company’s dividend yield is also notably higher than the broader markets and Treasury yields.
In comparison, its peer Duke Energy (DUK) is currently trading at a dividend yield of 4.6%. Dominion Energy (D) is yielding around 5.2%. The largest utility by market capitalization, NextEra Energy (NEE) yields around 2.7%. Southern Company has been offering a premium yield compared to the peer average for more than five years.
Next, we’ll look at some interesting insights about Southern Company’s dividends and what could impact them in the future.