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Wednesday, July 29, 9:35 AM ET, by Market News Video Staff

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CNP Crosses Above 4% Yield Territory

By Dividend Channel Staff, Friday, July 8, 3:28 PM ET
Play Video: The Importance of Dividends

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In trading on Friday, shares of CenterPoint Energy, Inc (NYSE:CNP) were yielding above the 4% mark based on its quarterly dividend (annualized to $0.79), with the stock changing hands as low as $19.53 on the day. Dividends are particularly important for investors to consider, because historically speaking dividends have provided a considerable share of the stock market's total return. To illustrate, suppose for example you purchased shares of the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) back on 12/31/1998 you would have paid $123.31 per share. Fast forward to 12/31/2010 and each share was worth $125.75 on that date, a mere $2.44 or 2% increase over all those years. But now consider that you collected a whopping $20.53 per share in dividends over the same period, increasing your return to 18.6%. Even with dividends reinvested, that only amounts to an average annual total return of about 1.4%; so by comparison collecting a yield above 4% would appear considerably attractive if that yield is sustainable. CenterPoint Energy, Inc (NYSE:CNP) is an S&P 500 company, giving it special status as one of the large-cap companies making up the S&P 500 Index.

In general, dividend amounts are not always predictable and tend to follow the ups and downs of profitability at each company. In the case of CenterPoint Energy, Inc, looking at the history chart for CNP below can help in judging whether the most recent dividend is likely to continue, and in turn whether it is a reasonable expectation to expect a 4% annual yield.

CNP Dividend History
Date Div*
05/12/11 0.198
02/14/11 0.198
11/12/10 0.195
08/12/10 0.195
05/12/10 0.195
02/11/10 0.195
11/12/09 0.190
08/12/09 0.190
05/13/09 0.190
02/11/09 0.190
11/12/08 0.183
08/13/08 0.183
05/14/08 0.183
02/13/08 0.183
11/14/07 0.170
08/14/07 0.170
05/14/07 0.170
02/14/07 0.170
11/14/06 0.150
08/14/06 0.150
05/12/06 0.150
02/14/06 0.150
11/14/05 0.060
09/08/05 0.070
06/13/05 0.070
02/14/05 0.100
11/23/04 0.100
08/12/04 0.100
05/20/04 0.100
02/11/04 0.100
11/13/03 0.100
08/13/03 0.100
05/15/03 0.100
03/10/03 0.100
01/07/03 0.493
11/13/02 0.160
08/15/02 0.160
05/14/02 0.375
02/14/02 0.375
11/14/01 0.375
08/14/01 0.375
05/14/01 0.375
02/14/01 0.375
11/14/00 0.375
08/14/00 0.375
05/12/00 0.375
02/14/00 0.375
11/12/99 0.375
08/12/99 0.375
05/12/99 0.375
02/11/99 0.375
11/12/98 0.375
08/12/98 0.375
05/13/98 0.375
02/11/98 0.375
11/12/97 0.375
08/13/97 0.375
05/14/97 0.375
02/12/97 0.375
11/13/96 0.375
08/14/96 0.375
05/14/96 0.375
02/14/96 0.375
11/14/95 0.750
08/14/95 0.750
* Data may be adjusted for splits; we are not responsible for data errors; always verify data with the company.

According to the ETF Finder at ETF Channel, CNP makes up 2.42% of the Utilities HOLDRS ETF (UTH) which is trading lower by about 0.3% on the day Friday.

See what other ETFs contain CNP
See what other stocks are held by UTH

CNP operates in the Electric Utilities sector, among companies like Korea Electric Power Corp (NYSE:KEP) which is down about 1.4% today, and PG&E Corp. (NYSE:PCG) trading lower by about 0.6%. Below is a three month price history chart comparing the stock performance of CNP, versus KEP and PCG.

CNP,KEP,PCG Relative Performance Chart


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