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6 Conservative Stocks to Buy in February

Last month I gave you my six conservative picks to make before January ended. Since that month has come and gone, I’ve updated my recommendations for all but one stock:

American Electric Power

American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) The stock is in a powerful long-term uptrend line, and investors should use this 7% pullback to initiate and add to positions in what is easily one of America’s premier utilities. This winter has been warm so far, resulting in a suppressed demand for electricity. But it’s early February now, and when Old Man Winter finally hits, the sector will jump back to new highs. Yield: 4.8%

Duke Energy

The latest big trend within the utility industry is the conversion of coal-fired plants to cheaper and cleaner-burning natural gas. The efficiencies and future expanding profit margins bode well for major utility holding companies such as Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK). The stock is in a powerful uptrend and should be bought on this minor dip. It’s one of the five best-managed utilities in the United States. Yield: 4.7%

Franklin Templeton Limited Duration Income Trust

It’s my view that interest rates have bottomed for the current economic cycle, and that bond yields will rise to 1% to 2% as the economy tacitly improves in 2012. In such a scenario, floating rate corporate debt with short maturities will be a smart place to have capital positioned. Not only are investors getting a very attractive yield in the corporate debt market, they’re also simultaneously removing the risk of principal erosion if rates push higher. With that said, make sure to make a play in Franklin Templeton Limited Duration Income Trust (AMEX:FTF). Yield: 9.2%

New York Community Bancorp

Although New York Community Bancorp (NYSE:NYB) missed estimates by a penny, its non-performing loan portfolio fell by 37% — a huge improvement in its asset base. NYB affords investors to collect the highest dividend yield available among all major bank stocks. The recent good news coming from the labor and housing markets is a major positive for future lending demand — and it’s the basis for why we’re seeing the sector rally. Use this dip to get long. Yield: 7.9%

Unilever NV

Unilever NV (NYSE:UN) shares have come off their 52-week high with some profit-taking after the company missed earnings by 2 cents on weaker European sales. That said, UN has strong exposure to the fastest-growing emerging markets, and a weaker euro only helps boost profit margins on favorable exchange rates going forward. Use this pullback to get long a world-class name. Yield: 3%


After pulling back 2 points from its 52-week high, following a slight earnings miss due to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) royalties,Verizon (NYSE:VZ) shares have found some love at the $38 level. This shortfall will be more than made up by data usage in the months ahead, and thus this pullback should be brief and used as a buying opportunity. Yield: 5.3%

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