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Jun. 10, 2015, 9:57 AM
- PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. electricity grid, wins approval from U.S. regulators for a plan to increase reliability at power plants and avoid a repeat of the shutdowns and price spikes during the unseasonably cold winter of 2014.
- Under the plan, which takes effect in 2018 after a capacity auction this year, generators that promise to be available during peak demand periods will receive higher payouts than other plants and will be penalized for failing to meet the commitments; the auction, planned for May, was delayed after FERC declined PJM’s initial proposal and asked for more information.
- The largest generators in PJM are trading higher at the open: NRG +4.2%, AEP +1.4%, EXC +3.1%, PEG +1.1%, DYN +7.2%.
- Also: TLN +4%, NEE +1.2%, PCG +0.7%, EE +1.5%, SO +0.5%, D +0.2%, DUK +0.9%, XLU +0.9%.
May 28, 2015, 10:55 AM
- Norway’s $900B sovereign wealth fund - the world’s biggest - will drop its holdings in companies and utilities that have heavy exposure to coal, according to a deal reached in the parliament that calls for the fund to exit companies with more than 30% of their revenue from coal.
- By excluding coal companies, the fund joins a growing divestment movement targeting fossil fuels.
- The fund previously exited companies that produce tobacco, nuclear weapons, cluster bombs and land mines. The Norwegian fund has stakes in a number of major utilities, including Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), Dominion Resources (NYSE:D), the U.K.'s SSE (OTCPK:SSEZF), Italy's Enel (OTCPK:ENLAY) and Germany’s RWE (OTCPK:RWEOY) and E.ON (OTCQX:EONGY).
May 21, 2015, 9:30 AM
- Alongside Goldman's list of 50 stocks appearing most as top holdings at hedge funds is its list of the 50 top shorts.
- New additions this quarter: Baxter Intl (NYSE:BAX), UPS, Marriott (NASDAQ:MAR), NextEra (NYSE:NEE), Ford (NYSE:F), National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB), CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), Pioneer Natural (NYSE:PXD), Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), Seagate (NASDAQ:STX), AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO).
- The full list (in order of $ value of short interest): AT&T (NYSE:T), Disney (NYSE:DIS), IBM, Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI), Exxon (NYSE:XOM), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), J&J (NYSE:JNJ), Deere (NYSE:DE), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Exelon (NYSE:EXC), GE, Boeing (NYSE:BA), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), UTX, Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN), Merck (NYSE:MRK), salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), AbbVie (ABBV), Conoco (NYSE:COP), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), AutoZone (NYSE:AZO), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Emerson (NYSE:EMR), McDonald's (MCD), Reynolds (NYSE:RAI), Target (NYSE:TGT), Accenture (NYSE:ACN), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO).
May 19, 2015, 8:59 AM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) announces plans to retire its Asheville, N.C., coal-fired power plant and invest $1.1B into building a new natural gas plant over the next four to five years.
- DUK says the new 650 MW plant will allow it to capitalize on low natural gas prices, cut its carbon dioxide emissions by ~60%, and be ~35% cheaper to operate than the 376 MW coal plant, based on current natural gas prices.
- DUK plans to spend ~$750M to build the new gas-fired power plant and another $320M to build a transmission substation near Campobello, S.C., and connect it to the power plant.
May 14, 2015, 4:35 PM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) pleaded guilty in federal court today to environmental crimes and agreed to pay $102M in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.
- DUK’s plea to nine misdemeanor counts involving violations of the Clean Water Act was part of a negotiated settlement with federal prosecutors.
- An investigation began in February 2014 after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash dump at the Eden plant, coating 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge, but prosecutors said DUK’s illegal pollution went back at least to 2010.
May 11, 2015, 12:19 PM
- Electric utility stocks look more attractive after a 10%-plus decline since late January, with total annual return potential of 8%-9% in the next few years, according to a Barron's weekend analysis.
- "The relative attraction of utilities has increased in an environment of slower economic growth, when earnings growth is being suppressed by a stronger dollar and energy prices,” Bernstein utilities analyst Hugh Wynne, favoring two California utilities, PG&E (NYSE:PCG) and Edison International (NYSE:EIX), because of above-average growth and a favorable regulatory environment.
- "Utilities and the overall market may provide the same total return, but one offers a lower-risk package,” says Credit Suisse utility analyst Dan Eggers, who is partial to American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP), NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) and PG&E.
- Also discussed: SO, ED, DUK, D.
May 7, 2015, 2:57 PM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) declares $0.795/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
- Forward yield 4.13%
- Payable June 16; for shareholders of record May 15; ex-div May 13.
May 6, 2015, 11:53 AM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) acquires a 7.5% ownership stake in the proposed $3B Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline that will traverse Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
- DUK plans to invest ~$225M in the 500-mile underground pipeline that will have the capacity to deliver 1.1B cf/day of natural gas per day to the southeast U.S. market.
- DUK gained its ownership share from Spectra Energy (NYSE:SE), which will own 59.5% of the project, the other partner, NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), owns 33%.
- The pipeline, scheduled to begin service in 2017, requires federal and other regulatory approvals.
May 1, 2015, 11:32 AM
- Duke Energy (DUK -0.1%) is little changed after reporting higher than expected Q1 earnings as exceptionally cold winter weather boosted electricity demand
- DUK, which sells power to 7.3M customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, says Q1 adjusted income in its regulated power business rose 5% Y/Y to $774M.
- DUK also operates in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, and Q1 adjusted income from its international business fell 72% to $36M from $130M a year ago, mainly due to a multi-year drought in Brazil that hurt hydro-electric generation.
- Reaffirms guidance for FY 2015, seeing EPS of $4.55-$4.75 vs. $4.67 analyst consensus estimate.
May 1, 2015, 7:07 AM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK): Q1 EPS of $1.24 beats by $0.10.
- Revenue of $6.06B (-3.2% Y/Y) misses by $240M.
Apr. 30, 2015, 5:30 PM
Apr. 9, 2015, 10:42 AM
- Duke Energy (DUK -0.8%) says it will seek the dismissal of a $25.1M judgment for groundwater violations related to coal-ash pits at the L.V. Sutton Steam Electric Plant in Wilmington, N.C.
- DUK says the fine by North Carolina environmental regulators was unnecessary and excessive, citing actions already taken by the company, and disputes the state regulators’ methods for setting the fine.
- DUK already has agreed to settle charges that it violated the federal Clean Water Act by spilling coal ash into the Dan River last year, and said it would pay $102M in penalties and restitution.
Apr. 6, 2015, 11:10 AM
- Duke Energy (DUK +2.2%) discloses that it entered into agreements with various dealers to repurchase of $1.5B of its common stock under an accelerated stock buyback program.
- DUK says it will pay $750M each to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase in exchange for an initial delivery of 8.3M shares from each of the banks, totaling ~85% of the total number of DUK shares to be repurchased under the program.
- The final number is dependent on the stock price, less a discount and subject to adjustments.
Apr. 6, 2015, 9:42 AM
- Duke Energy (DUK +1%) agreed to a $2.5M settlement with Virginia over the February 2014 coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with gray sludge, state environmental officials said Friday.
- The consent order does not preclude affected Virginia municipalities from seeking their own settlements with DUK.
- The spill originated in North Carolina but also affected areas in Virginia, leaving more than 2,500 tons of the toxic ash backed up at a dam in Danville.
Apr. 5, 2015, 9:18 AM
- T, PM, VZ, DUK, STX, GM, GE, MCD, CAT and DOW are 10 “high-quality” S&P 500 stocks with dividend yields of 3.5-5.7% and promising growth potential, Barron’s says, citing Howard Silverblatt of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services.
- 60 companies in the S&P 500 yield 3.5% or more, but the above stocks cover their dividends from estimated 2015 earnings. The list also excludes REITs and MLPs.
Apr. 2, 2015, 4:54 PM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) says it plans to install as much as 500 MW of solar power in Florida by 2024, a proposal that would more than triple the state's total capacity.
- DUK’s Florida utility expects to begin building the first site this year and complete 35 MW of solar power by 2018.
- DUK currently owns no solar in Florida, which has been slow to adopt the technology despite ranking third in rooftop solar potential among U.S. states.
- In other news, DUK closes the sale of its interest in 11 power plants to Dynegy, and says it will use $1.5B from the sale for an accelerated stock repurchase plan.
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