Mon, May 11, 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.
Fri, Apr. 24, 2:57 PM
- American Electric Power (AEP +1.9%) is upgraded to Buy from Hold with a $62.50 price target at Deutsche Bank, which believes AEP has made great strides toward becoming a more predictable, higher quality regulated utility, with improved execution and a clearer strategy in place.
- The firm sees the trend continuing in 2015 as AEP likely will exit its merchant generation business, which should reduce volatility and allow for multiple expansion.
- AEP trades in line with regulated peers absent any value for the generation segment, DB says, implying minimal downside even if the sale price or proceeds deployment disappoint.
Thu, Apr. 23, 7:01 AM| Comment!
Wed, Apr. 22, 5:30 PM
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Tue, Apr. 21, 12:28 PM
Wed, Apr. 1, 12:26 PM
- Dynegy (DYN -2.1%) and NRG Energy (NRG -5.6%) are sharply lower after the FERC declined to approve a capacity performance plan submitted by the PJM Interconnection consortium and asked for answers to additional questions about the initiative.
- PJM operates a wholesale electricity market in the eastern U.S.; DYN is involved in the PJM and is looking to boost its share within the Regional Transmission Organization with proposed asset purchases, and a small part of NRG's capacity is within PJM.
- Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Arnold notes that FERC did not reject the proposal, but says FERC's action prolongs uncertainty for investors in the electric utilities that belong to PJM, which also include Exelon (EXC -1.8%), Public Service Enterprise (PEG -1.9%), American Electric (AEP +0.2%), PPL (PPL -0.4%) and FirstEnergy (FE -1.3%).
Tue, Mar. 24, 11:49 AM
- Power companies have taken a pounding at the Supreme Court over the last decade, but will be looking to break that trend this week when the high court hears arguments on hazardous pollution caps that apply to 460 coal-fired power plants, including facilities owned by Southern Co. (NYSE:SO), American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU).
- The industry says the EPA did not adequately take into account what the EPA estimates will be $10B in costs imposed by the rules; the agency says the new standards are worthwhile because they will prevent 11K premature deaths per year and produce as much as $90B in annual benefits.
- Not all power companies are fighting the EPA rules: Exelon (NYSE:EXC), the largest U.S. owner of nuclear plants - which do not emit greenhouse gases - joined with other businesses to file a brief supporting the EPA’s actions.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, FUTY, UPW, FXU, SDP
Mon, Mar. 23, 12:13 PM
- American Electric Power (AEP +0.1%) says it has hired Morgan Stanley to explore strategic alternatives for its AEP River Operations competitive barge transportation subsidiary.
- The segment transports liquid, coal and dry bulk commodities primarily on the Ohio, Illinois and lower Mississippi rivers; extreme weather over the last few years affected the river's freight traffic, but AEP saw increased profitability from its barge segment last year as weather conditions improved.
- AEP River recorded net earnings of $32M in Q4, compared with total AEP earnings of $191M.
Tue, Mar. 17, 6:37 PM
- Despite the prospect of a Fed rate hike, patient investors should stick with utility stocks for their attractive yields, regular earnings and dividend growth, two analysts tell CNBC.
- While higher rates may look foreboding, Hilliard Lyons analyst David Burks says recent history shows the sector could still outperform, noting that electric utilities beat the S&P 500 "by a fairly wide margin" during the 2004-06 period of higher rates when the Fed raised rates 16 times.
- Morningstar's Travis Miller thinks the sector's short-term performance will continue to reflect interest rate movements, but that investors willing to hold utilities two years or more can get strong absolute returns.
- Burks' favorite income pick is PPL, his top growth pick is NEE, and he likes AEP for total return; Miller's picks include SO, which he says has come down substantially and is now trading a discount, plus DUK and ITC.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, FUTY, UPW, PUI, FXU, SDP
Wed, Jan. 28, 6:58 AM| 4 Comments
Tue, Jan. 27, 5:30 PM| 1 Comment
Wed, Jan. 21, 3:42 PM
Tue, Jan. 6, 11:36 AM
- American Electric Power (AEP +1.8%) has retained Goldman Sachs to explore options for its 7,923 MW merchant generation business, The Street.com reports.
- The power plant portfolio is expected to fetch $350-$450/kwh, which could result in a sale price of $2.8B-$3.6B, according to the report.
- The merchant business is seen as not fitting with the company's profile, as AEP is a regulated utility at its core while merchant power plants are unregulated and sell power into the competitive market where a return is not guaranteed.
Nov. 26, 2014, 12:42 PM
- A new report from BofA Merrill Lynch stays positive on the top utility stocks for the rest of the year and 2015, offering five recommendations for utilities paying high current dividends and expected to raise dividends significantly over the coming years.
- The firm sees Dominion Resources (NYSE:D), which currently pays a 3.3% dividend, growing its dividend 7% this year, in line with the last four; many analysts think the new EPA bill may actually provide a tailwind for the company.
- Also suggested: AEP, PCG, UIL, PPL
Nov. 13, 2014, 2:55 PM
- Chief execs of the top U.S. coal-burning utilities predict blackouts and rising power bills if they are not given more time to achieve greenhouse gas emission cuts described in the new climate agreement with China.
- A proposed timeline for cutting pollution from power plants threatens to shutter coal-fired plants before enough new generation can be built to replace lost supplies, say CEOs of Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) and American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP).
- The challenges go beyond the cost and time it would take to build new plants to replace coal units forced into retirement, Southern's Thomas Fanning and AEP's Nick Akins say; there’s not enough pipeline capacity to carry the natural gas that would be needed by all the newly built gas-fired power plants spawned by the EPA's proposals.
- Southern would have to retire more than 9K mw of coal-fueled generators and add ~5,400 mw of natural gas plants by 2020 under plans envisioned by EPA, Fanning says.
- ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, RYU, UPW, FUTY, PUI, FXU
Nov. 12, 2014, 2:14 PM
- Utility stocks, among the year’s top performing sectors in the market, are sharply lower today - a bad sign, says Weeden & Co. head researcher Michael Purves, who believes now is the time to reduce or hedge utility holdings such as the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU -1.9%).
- Ultra-low bond yields have made utility stock payouts look good by comparison., but valuations have been moving up; Purves says the rally has put XLU’s P/E ratio for the next 12 months at 17.4x, near a 10-year high.
- Investors ought to “start to take profits, given the run was getting long in the teeth,” Purves writes.
- The top 10 XLU holdings are all lower today: DUK -2.5%, NEE -1.7%, D -1.9%, SO -1.4%, EXC -2.8%, AEP -2%, SRE -1.7%, PPL -1.8%, PCG -1%, PEG -2.8%.
- Other ETFs: IDU, VPU, UPW, RYU, FUTY, FXU, PUI, SDP
AEP vs. ETF Alternatives
American Electric Power Co Inc is a public utility holding company, through its subsidiaries, provides electric service, consisting of generation, transmission and distribution, on an integrated basis to its retail customers.
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