This stock's safety, dividend and growth are hard to beat

U.S. electric power demand may be sluggish, due to the recession, but investors should view that as a temporary phenomenon. True, increased energy efficiency across the U.S. economy will be a trend for the next decade and beyond, but relatively low-cost electric power does not go out of style, which is why I'm reiterating my buy rating for American Electric Power (AEP), first recommended on May 4, 2009 at a price of $25.38.

If you bought AEP in May, you're up about 25%. AEP's above-average total return on equity story remains intact. Look for an increase in retail electric demand in fiscal 2010 and that fact, combined with a decline in operating/maintenance costs, and little impact from greenhouse gas legislation until about 2018 or 2020, translates into a bargain stock at a P/E of 12.