Todays Report: The Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

The Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $44.00 target price on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Xcel Energy’s long-term investment plans will strengthen its operations and help it to serve its expanding customer base in a more reliable and efficient manner. The company is also benefiting from improving economic conditions in its service territories. The company is focused on expanding its renewable generation assets and lowering its carbon footprint. Xcel Energy's operation is subject to stringent environmental legislations which call for additional expenditures and can adversely impact the company's profits. Rising debt levels of Xcel Energy is a concern, with its debt/capital ratio presently higher than the industry average.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded shares of Xcel Energy from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price target for the stock from $39.00 to $47.00 in a research report on Thursday, June 16th. Jefferies Group upped their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $42.00 to $45.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 price target (up previously from $46.00) on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Wednesday, June 15th. Finally, SunTrust Banks Inc. reduced their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $41.00 to $40.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, September 12th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Xcel Energy currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of C$43.25.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) traded up 1.06% on Wednesday, hitting $39.87. 1,766,147 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a market capitalization of $20.25 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.90 and a beta of 0.13. Xcel Energy has a 12-month low of $34.33 and a 12-month high of $45.42. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $41.39 and its 200-day moving average price is $41.94.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $2.50 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.52 billion. Xcel Energy had a return on equity of 10.10% and a net margin of 9.92%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down .6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.39 EPS. Analysts predict that Xcel Energy will post $2.20 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 20th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.34 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 3.45%. Xcel Energy’s payout ratio is presently 64.46%.

In other news, EVP Marvin E. Jr. Mcdaniel sold 11,900 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of C$41.66, for a total value of C$495,754.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 79,404 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately C$3,307,970.64. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. 0.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in XEL. Advisory Services Network LLC boosted its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.3% in the second quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 6,031 shares of the company’s stock worth $270,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the period. Sharkey Howes & Javer boosted its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.5% in the second quarter. Sharkey Howes & Javer now owns 2,946 shares of the company’s stock worth $132,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the period. City Holding Co. boosted its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 1.5% in the second quarter. City Holding Co. now owns 2,776 shares of the company’s stock worth $124,000 after buying an additional 41 shares during the period. NEXT Financial Group Inc boosted its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.8% in the second quarter. NEXT Financial Group Inc now owns 6,290 shares of the company’s stock worth $281,000 after buying an additional 50 shares during the period. Finally, Hollencrest Securities LLC boosted its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.9% in the second quarter. Hollencrest Securities LLC now owns 6,527 shares of the company’s stock worth $292,000 after buying an additional 57 shares during the period. 70.91% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Xcel Energy Company Profile

Xcel Energy Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company’s operations include activity of four utility subsidiaries that serve electric and natural gas customers. Its segments are regulated electric utility, regulated natural gas utility and all other. The regulated electric utility segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.

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