"If you need income and can afford to buy only one stock, Texas Utilities (NYSE, TXU, $39.875), which is rated A- for quality, could make a lot of sense, says Bill Staton, Money Advisory, Charlotte, N.C. "TXU has an unbroken string of 44 consecutive years of dividend increases. However, before you buy this stock, you should know the company had a $1 billion write-down last year because of an adverse ruling by the Texas Public Utility Commission, which is being appealed and will take years to settle. While I don't think the strain is unbearable, dividend growth will be slowed. With its 8 percent yield, we believe it's hard to lose with this issue."
Empire District Electricry
"My top income recommendation is Empire District Electric (NYSE, EDE, $22.875)," says Larry Roesch, The Roesch Market Memo.
"This rapidly growing, though relatively small electric utility, serves the Ozark region. The kicker to this overlooked stock is that its region is primed to become one of the top retirement and recreational areas in the nation. For the past few years, theaters have been opened in Branson, Mo., by Boxcar Willie, Mel Tillis, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rogers and dozens of other country music stars. . . . This very conservatively managed public utility offers the shareholder a 5.8 percent yield and appreciation potential."