I'm a newbie so throw me some slack.
This company looks attractive except for one thing that maybe someone can explain for me:
Why does it have over $15 billion in debt and only way less than that in reserves and cash?
Suggest you go to www.naptp.org and read the primer on MLPs call MLP 101.
EPD has actually as is well discussed - NEVER paid a dividend. Yahoo is flat out wrong. It is a partnership and hopefully you know the difference and how a MLP works. Hint- by definition a MLP pays out most of its free cash to unitholders. Thus it most issue new units and borrow to expand its asset base. It also issues a K-1, not a 1099.
Learn before you buy!
My fellow stock holder,this is a stock to stay in for the long haul.Have had it for 11 years and all it does is make money for you,your call but don't be stupid.Buy more on the dip,but the dips are getting higher.
Suggest you read a primer on MLPs. Go to naptp (National Association of Publically Traded Partnerships) only then can you understand.
Strum is correct that DCF is the primary way to measure a PTP/MLP.
You absolutely need to get it that EPD has never paid a dividend. You will not get a 1099 from your broker. Please read up on MLPs before getting in. They are a great place to invest, but your question says you do not yet know enough to invest.
arbtrdr, I do not doubt your obvious expertise, but per the dividend, it seems that EPD and Yahoo do not agree with you. They say that EPD has paid a dividend on a routine basis and for 2011 it was paid on:
Oct 27, 2011---0.613 Dividend
Jul 27, 2011---0.605 Dividend
Apr 27, 2011---0.598 Dividend
Jan 27, 2011---0.59 Dividend
Oct 27, 2010---0.583 Dividend
You might want to check with your broker to see why you haven't been getting the dividend.
It is an extremely capital-intensive business that carries enormous assets on the other side of the balance sheet. Those assets are depreciating over time, which is additive to cash flow but not earnings. Therefore, the way to value pipeline MLPs is to look at their cashflow. Specifically "distributed cash flow" or DCF is the metric you should pay attention to. The faster their DCF is growing, the better. The larger DCF is compared to the quarterly distribution paid to investors, the safer.