Tue, Mar. 24, 2:42 PM
- Duke Energy (DUK -1.2%) says it will appeal the "unprecedented" $25.1M fine by North Carolina environmental regulators over pollution that has been seeping into groundwater for years from a pair of coal ash pits at a retired Sutton power plant outside Wilmington.
- Duke plans to file a formal appeal with the state's Office of Administrative Hearings by April 9.
- DUK says it plans to close 32 ash basins across North Carolina but that it can only remove the ash from the basins after the state issues new wastewater permits, the first of which it anticipates receiving in early summer.
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
Tue, Mar. 10, 5:09 PM
- North Carolina’s environmental agency slaps Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) with a $25M fine for coal ash contamination of groundwater at its Sutton power plant near Wilmington, and hints that more state fines for tainted groundwater at some of DUK's 14 other coal plants in the state could be coming.
- Sutton, whose three coal-fired units were retired in 2013, is one of four DUK North Carolina plants marked as high priorities for ash-pond closure.
- The regulator says the fine is the state's largest-ever penalty for environmental damages.
Tue, Mar. 10, 10:44 AM
- Duke Energy (DUK +0.5%) agrees to settle a shareholder lawsuit linked to the controversial closing of its $32B 2012 purchase of Progress Energy for $146M.
- A divided DUK board forced CEO Bill Johnson to step down less than 24 hours after he had been appointed to head the merged companies, which led to investigations by regulators and several suits by investors who claimed DUK intentionally misled them by saying Johnson, who had been CEO of Progress, would lead the combined companies after the purchase.
- DUK already took a related $26M charge against earnings last year, while insurance will cover the remaining $120M of the settlement.
Tue, Feb. 24, 2:43 PM
- Duke Energy (DUK +0.5%) is reiterated with a Buy rating and a new Street-high $99 price target at Argus, which expects DUK’s rate base growth over the next 4-5 years to be above the peer-group average, which should drive long-term earnings growth.
- The firm says DUK is benefiting from positive changes in its electric rate structures, which it believes will improve the company’s balance sheet, grow cash flow and offer a ~4.1% dividend yield, making the shares a sound long-term holding for income-oriented investors.
Fri, Feb. 20, 5:36 PM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) says it has reached a $102M settlement with the U.S. government that would stop an ongoing criminal investigation that began with the massive Dan River coal ash spill a year ago.
- DUK would be required to pay ~$68M in fines and restitution and $34M for community service and mitigation; the payments will be borne by shareholders, not customers.
- The agreement still must be approved by the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Wed, Feb. 18, 8:40 AM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) -0.4% after reporting sharply lower Q4 earnings, as its international energy business was pressured by widespread drought in Brazil.
- DUK says it has completed a strategic review of its international energy business and plans to continue to own and operate the business; in Q4, the segment swung to a $301M loss from a year-ago profit of $108M, weighed by lower volumes and drought in Brazil.
- DUK also says it could reach a settlement in the next several days with the U.S. government over a federal grand jury investigation into last February's coal ash spill in the Dan River in North Carolina; DUK booked a $100M charge in Q4 related to the probe.
- Income from DUK's regulated utilities fell 21.5% Y/Y to $449M from $572M, hurt by higher operations and maintenance expenses and the timing of fossil plant outages.
- Issues in-line guidance for FY 2015, seeing EPS of $4.55-$4.75 vs. $4.75 analyst consensus estimate.
Wed, Feb. 18, 7:11 AM
Tue, Feb. 17, 5:30 PM
Wed, Jan. 7, 6:01 PM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) asks customers to reduce electricity use over the next 24 hours, as frigid temperatures are expected to increase pressure on the electrical grid and raise the potential for isolated power outages.
- DUK says it should have sufficient generating resources to meet demand but that conditions may change quickly, and it may need to “initiate forced power reductions that would result in rotating or sustained power outages across the grid.”
- DUK operates utilities that serve 7M-plus customers in six states in the southeast and midwest.
Mon, Jan. 5, 2:57 PM
- Duke Energy (DUK -1.6%) is downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $90 target price at UBS, which is concerned that fund rotation out of utilities in 2015 after 2014 strength will hit the slower growing large-cap names harder than more nimble small- and mid-cap utilities.
- UBS is reducing its EPS estimates to reflect lower results from Saudi subsidiary NMC as a result of its correlation to falling Brent crude, and sees DUK near the low end of anticipated 2015 guidance of $4.70-$4.85.
- The firm also expects an increase in expected coal ash remediation capex in February in conjunction with DUK's analyst day.
Fri, Jan. 2, 9:23 AM
Nov. 13, 2014, 11:45 AM
- Duke Energy (DUK -0.2%) says it has submitted detailed coal ash excavation plans to North Carolina environmental regulators for four power plants where legislators have said ash must be excavated by 2019: Dan River in Eden - the scene of a February ash spill - Riverbend near Charlotte, Asheville, and Sutton in Wilmington.
- During the initial phase of work, DUK plans to move 5.1M tons of ash from the four sites, representing 30% of the total ash stored there, within 12-18 months following approvals and permits from the state regulator.
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
Nov. 11, 2014, 7:02 PM
- Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) may be interested in making its first investment in the production of shale gas, CFO Steve Young said today at Edison Electric Institute’s Financial Conference in Dallas.
- DUK now buys gas in the open market, leaving it subject to price swings that are passed through to customer bills, but it could lock in prices for customers by investing at the wellhead, the CFO said; in exchange, DUK would seek state regulators’ approval to earn a guaranteed profit on the investment.
- DUK plans to use more gas in its plants in part because of proposed EPA carbon dioxide regulations that will force it to shut some coal-fired facilities.
Nov. 6, 2014, 2:58 PM
- Duke Energy (DUK -2.4%) is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank, which sees little room left for the stock to run even assuming top-end execution.
- The firm's call in part reflects growing caution on regulated utilities as a group with an ongoing "melt-up" pushing the envelope in terms of both relative and absolute value.
- Deutsche Bank raises its estimates 2016 EPS to $5.00 from $4.95, reflecting an assumption that DUK repatriates offshore cash of $1.6B, or ~$1.3B after-tax.
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