The Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

The Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) from a sell rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Monday morning. The brokerage currently has $46.00 price target 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 utility has been consistently boosting dividends every year, thereby returning value to shareholders.The company is focused on expanding its renewable generation assets and lowering its carbon footprint. Thanks to the positive developments, the current rate of return from the company’s share is higher compared with the return from the broader industry in the last twelve months. 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.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on the stock. Barclays PLC downgraded shares of Xcel Energy from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating and reduced their price objective for the stock from $44.00 to $42.00 in a report on Friday, December 2nd. Argus reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $48.00 price objective on shares of Xcel Energy in a report on Monday, September 26th. Finally, SunTrust Banks Inc. raised their price objective on shares of Xcel Energy from $41.00 to $42.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Monday, September 26th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $45.33.

Shares of Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) opened at 41.33 on Monday. The firm has a market capitalization of $20.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.05 and a beta of 0.06. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $40.26 and a 200-day moving average of $41.31. Xcel Energy has a 52 week low of $35.91 and a 52 week high of $45.42.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $0.90 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.87 by $0.03. The company earned $3.04 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.33 billion. Xcel Energy had a net margin of 10.08% and a return on equity of 10.29%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 4.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.84 EPS. Analysts expect that Xcel Energy will post $2.20 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, January 20th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 27th will be given a dividend of $0.34 per share. This represents a $1.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.29%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, December 22nd. Xcel Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 62.67%.

In related news, insider David L. Eves sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, November 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $40.57, for a total transaction of $405,700.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 50,362 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,043,186.34. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 0.20% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. D.A. Davidson & CO. boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 260.2% in the third quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 8,817 shares of the company’s stock valued at $362,000 after buying an additional 6,369 shares during the last quarter. OLD Republic International Corp boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 28.8% in the third quarter. OLD Republic International Corp now owns 541,000 shares of the company’s stock valued at $16,232,000 after buying an additional 121,000 shares during the last quarter. LPL Financial LLC boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 79.7% in the third quarter. LPL Financial LLC now owns 19,220 shares of the company’s stock valued at $761,000 after buying an additional 8,522 shares during the last quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 23.2% in the third quarter. Cornerstone Capital Management Holdings LLC. now owns 280,502 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,538,000 after buying an additional 52,779 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Credit Suisse AG boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 3.3% in the third quarter. Credit Suisse AG now owns 849,307 shares of the company’s stock valued at $34,940,000 after buying an additional 27,097 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.47% of the company’s stock.

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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