Southern Company’s dividends
Southern Company (SO), the third-largest utility by market capitalization, declared a quarterly dividend of $0.60 per share on July 17. The ex-dividend date is August 17, and the dividend will be paid on September 6. In 2018, Southern Company is expected to pay $2.38 per share, which is more than 3% higher than its total dividends per share last year.
Southern Company has one of the longest dividend payment histories among the top utilities in the S&P 500. The latest announcement marks the 283rd consecutive quarter of cash dividend payments. The dividends have been equal to or greater than the previous quarter.
Southern Company is one of the highest-yielding stocks among the top utilities. It’s currently trading at a dividend yield of 5%. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) offers a yield of 3.3%. Southern Company’s dividend yield is also notably higher than the broader markets.
In comparison, its peer Duke Energy (DUK) is currently trading at a dividend yield of 4.6%. Dominion Energy (D) is yielding 4.8%. The largest utility by market capitalization, NextEra Energy (NEE), is yielding 2.7%.
Although Southern Company’s dividend yield is higher than many of its peers, it significantly lags behind its peers in terms of dividend growth. Its dividends per share grew 3.4% compounded annually in the last five years. In comparison, the broader utilities increased their dividends per share by ~4% compounded annually in the same period.