Westar shares rise as Goldman upgrades to Buy

Westar Energy (WR +1.7%) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs, which sees ~13% total return upside potential with its $34 price target vs. small/mid-cap regulated utility peers at 4%.

As environmental projects on coal plants wind down in 2015, free cash flow and dividends should improve significantly, often the main driver of share price outperformance within utilities, the firm says.

Goldman maintains its 2013 outlook but modestly slightly raises estimates for 2014, '15 and '16 on lower costs and remains above consensus by 2%-4% on average.

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