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Water Stocks: Long-Term Liquid Assets

A fluid more valuable than oil, and playable in the stock market? That pretty much describes water, and Ryan Connors of Boenning and Scattergood is an expert in water companies.

"The trends driving water are very long-term," he told CNBC. "Most people, when they think of water, they think of brushing their teeth or doing their dishes, and the reality is, water is very much an industrial commodity."

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So how to play in water?

Conservative plays:

"There are really two different sides to the industry," he said. "One is the water-utility side, which would be more suitable for more conservative investors; two of the companies that we like there, that do have some scale, are Aqua America and American Water Works."

He finds that both companies have consistent growth profiles and offer solid dividend yields.

Aggressive plays:

"On what we would call the equipment and technology side of the industry is where you get some of your more aggressive plays," he said. "A couple of companies we like on that side would be Ameron International and Northwest Pipe."

Both of those companies make large-diameter long-distance water pipelines.

"One of the things we've seen is that many communities, as water becomes more scarce, and their traditional resources deplete, they're having to look further and further afield to find sufficient water resources," he explained.

Disclosures:

American States Water is an investment banking client of Connors' firm.

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