For investors wanting to own utilities but also have non-utility exposure to an improving economy, MDU Resources (MDU) and UGI (UGI) offer excellent options, explains Chuck Carlson, a leading expert in dividend reinvestment plans and editor of DRIP Investor.

MDU Resources offers utility services to more than one million customers across eight states — Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Oregon, Minnesota, Idaho, and Washington.

In addition, the company mines construction aggregates and markets crushed stone, sand, gravel, and related construction materials. The fi rm is a top 10 producer of aggregates in America.

This business should grow nicely as a result of increased infrastructure spending and continued growth in the economy. MDU’s dividend record is outstanding, with the company boosting the annual payout for 30 consecutive years.

The stock currently yields 2.5%. MDU shares have been among the better performers in the utility sector, and I expect the stock to continue to outpace both the utility sector and the broad market.

Please note MDU Resources has a direct-purchase plan. Minimum initial investment is $250. The company’s transfer agent is EQ Shareowner Services (

In addition to its natural gas and electricity utility services, UGI is the nation’s largest retail propane marketer with approximately 1.7 million customers. The company also distributes liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) and manages natural gas pipeline and storage contracts.

The stock, yielding 3.1%, has outperformed the utility sector this year. I expect further strength in the stock and recommend these shares for investors searching for yield and reasonable growth.

UGI’s direct-purchase plan has a minimum initial investment of just $50. The company’s transfer agent is Computershare (

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