U.S. Markets open in 9 hrs 9 mins

AEP 1Q profit falls on weak industrial demand

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- American Electric Power's net income fell almost 7 percent in the first quarter, as demand from industrial power users remained low.

The utility company earned $363 million, or 75 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. A year earlier, it earned $389 million, or 80 cents per share.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $3.8 billion, from $3.6 billion a year ago.

The company said its operating earnings were 80 cents per share, the same as a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet, on average, were expecting a profit of 81 cents per share on revenue of $3.79 billion.

AEP said residential and commercial sales were strong. After a very mild winter last year — meaning customers needed less energy for heat — weather in this year's quarter "was close to normal," President and CEO Nicholas K. Akins said. "The industrial segment of our business continues to struggle, and our projections point to continued overall flat demand," he said.

AEP reaffirmed its 2013 operating earnings guidance of $3.05 to $3.25 per share. Analysts are expecting $3.16.

In morning trading, American Electric Power Co. Inc. shares slipped 7 cents to $50.69. The stock has traded between $37.43 and $51.17 in the past 52 weeks.