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WEC Energy (WEC) Up 0.1% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for WEC Energy Group (WEC). Shares have added about 0.1% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is WEC Energy due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

WEC Energy's Q2 Earnings Beat Mark, Revenues Rise Y/Y

WEC Energy delivered second-quarter 2021 earnings per share of 87 cents, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 79 cents by 10.1%. Also, the bottom line improved 14.5% from the year-ago quarter’s 76 cents per share.

Results benefited from recovering economy, operating efficiency and warmer-than-expected weather in June.

Revenues

Operating revenues of $1,676.2 million topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,641 million by 2.1%. Also, the top line grew 8.2% from $1,548.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Highlights of the Release

In the second quarter of 2021, residential use of electricity fell3% year over year. Electricity consumption by small commercial and industrial customers increased10.4% year over year. Electricity used by large commercial and industrial customers excluding iron ore mines improved 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. On a weather-normal basis, retail deliveries of electricity excluding the iron ore mine went up 5.8%.

Natural gas deliveries in Wisconsin excluding gas used for power generation moved down4.9% during the reported quarter. On a weather-normal basis, natural gas deliveries rose 2.5%.

Total operating expenses for the second quarter amounted to $1,307.4 million, up 8.1% from the year-ago quarter’s $1,209.9 million.

Operating income came in at $368.8 million, increasing 8.9% from the prior-year period’s $338.8 million.

At the end of second-quarter 2021, the company was serving additional 4,000 electric and 18,000 natural gas customers from the year-ago quarter's levels.

Financial Position

As of Jun 30, 2021, WEC Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $35 million compared with $24.8 million as of Dec 31, 2020.

As of Jun 30, 2021, the company had long-term debt of $12,695.7 million compared with $11,728.1 million on Dec 31, 2020.

The company’s net cash provided by operating activities in the first six months of 2021 was $1,226.2 million compared with $1,379.6 million in the comparable period of 2020.

Capital expenditure in the first two quarters was $1,010.1 million compared with $1,037.2 million in the comparable period of last year.

2021 Guidance

The company lifted its current-year earnings guidance to $4.02-$4.05 per share from the prior range of $3.99-$4.03 with expectation to reach the higher end of the latest projection. Also, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same is $4.04, which is near the upper end of the utility’s current guided range.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates. The consensus estimate has shifted -6.98% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, WEC Energy has a subpar Growth Score of D, a grade with the same score on the momentum front. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision indicates a downward shift. Notably, WEC Energy has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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