Is Southern Company the Way to Get Defensive?
On days when the sun is shining brightly on the trading floor, it's important not to get too complacent. Always keep a safety stock close at hand. And this time around, Southern Company — an electric utility holding company in the southern United States — is Cramer's defensive stock du jour.
Apart from being one of the largest generators in the country, Southern Company currently boasts a solid yield of 4.7 percent, just one point off the stock's 52-week high. And consistency is the name of the game — as the firm has paid out dividends every year for the last 63 years and has raised dividends every year for the last 10 years in a row.
The company has also been making a major play on energy, embracing natural gas and diversifying away from coal, which produced 70 percent of their energy four years ago and which dwindled down to 51 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Now, natural gas accounts for roughly 30 percent of their generation. Several substantial nuclear operations, hydroelectric power, and solar and biomass projects are also in the works.
But more importantly, Southern is Cramer's pick of the day primarily because of where it is and where it does business. He called the southeastern region of the U.S. the fastest-growing region in the country and said he was confident in the firm's future as a growing utility.
"Plus, the company may have the best handle on which fuels are the best," Cramer added. "Including renewables for our nation's future."
For a fuller scope of where things are headed for the firm, Cramer talked to Chairman and CEO Thomas Fanning. To see the full interview, watch the video.
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