What does it mean when a company's dividend forecast outstrips its earnings? It can mean, as we saw in the insurance sector so recently, that management is losing its grip and has failed to see the inevitable need to cut back an overstretched payment ...
Despite recent market turbulence and the still elevated possibility of further upset during the months ahead, I will be steering clear of Centrica (LSE: CNA), National Grid (LSE:NG) and SSE (LSE: SSE), some of the FTSE 100's most renowned defensive stocks.
Earlier this week, SSE (LSE: SSE) said it now expects adjusted pre-tax profits in the first half of 2015/6 will be significantly higher than last year, with much of the improvement due to its supply business.
Shares in alkaline fuel cell developer AFC Energy (LSE: AFC) are up by as much as 13% today after the company announced that it has successfully delivered the first power to the grid from its fuel cell facility in Germany.
Shares in SSE (LSE: SSE) dropped 5% this morning, to 1,510p, after the supplier of energy and telecommunications revealed a 90,000 drop in customer numbers in the three months to the end of June - from 8.58 million to 8.49 million.
SSE (LSE: SSE), meanwhile, has struggled to gain ground following the General Election. Its shares had gained a boost following the Conservative majority victory but, since then, have fallen by around 15%.