It has been about a month since the last earnings report for WEC Energy Group (WEC). Shares have lost about 5% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is WEC Energy due for a breakout? 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 Q1 Earnings & Revenues Beat, Rise Y/Y
WEC Energy delivered first-quarter 2021 earnings per share of $1.61, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.47 by 9.5%. Also, the bottom line improved 12.6% from the year-ago quarter’s $1.43 per share.
Operating revenues of $2,691.4 million topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,147 million by 25.4%. Also, the top line grew 27.6% from $2,108.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
Highlights of the Release
In the first three months of 2021, residential use of electricity rose 4.8% year over year. Electricity consumption by small commercial and industrial customers dipped 0.3% year over year. Electricity used by large commercial and industrial customers excluding iron ore mines slid 1% on a year-over-year basis. On a weather-normal basis, retail deliveries of electricity excluding the iron ore mine inched up 1.4%.
Natural gas deliveries in Wisconsin excluding gas used for power generation moved up 3.2% during the reported quarter. On a weather-normal basis, natural gas deliveries rose 0.5%.
Total operating expenses for the first quarter amounted to $2,062.1 million, up 39.1% from the year-ago quarter’s $1,482 million.
Operating income came in at $629.3 million, increasing 0.4% from the prior-year period’s $626.6 million.
At the end of first-quarter 2021, the company was serving additional 7,000 electric and 25,000 natural gas customers from the year-ago quarter's levels.
As of Mar 31, 2021, WEC Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $26.1 million compared with $24.8 million as of Dec 31, 2020.
As of Mar 31, 2021, the company had long-term debt of $12,317.7 million compared with $11,728.1 million on Dec 31, 2020.
The company’s net cash provided by operating activities in the first three months of 2021 was $395.2 million compared with $690.5 million in the comparable period in 2020.
Capital expenditure in the quarter was $470.6 million compared with $496.1 million in the comparable period of last year.
The company expects its current-year earnings per share to reach the higher end of the $3.99-$4.03 range. Also, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same is $4.02, which is near the upper end of the utility’s current guided range.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
Analysts were quiet during the last two month period as none of them issued any earnings estimate revisions.
At this time, WEC Energy has an average Growth Score of C, however its Momentum Score is doing a bit better with a B. 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 C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
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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