It has been about a month since the last earnings report for WEC Energy Group (WEC). Shares have added about 4.9% in that time frame, outperforming 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 drivers.
WEC Energy Beats Earnings & Revenue Estimates in Q4
WEC Energy delivered fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of 65 cents, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 64 cents by 1.56%. The bottom line declined from the year-ago quarter’s tally of 71 cents by 8.4%.
In 2018, the company generated earnings of $3.34 per share compared with adjusted earnings of $3.14 per share in 2017.
Total revenues amounted to $2,076.8 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,931 million by 7.5%. Reported revenues were up from $2,055 million in the year-ago quarter.
The company generated $7,679.5 million revenues in 2018, up 0.4% from $7,648.5 million in 2017.
Highlights of the Release
Residential use of electricity in 2018 rose 5.3% year over year. Electricity consumption by small commercial and industrial customers increased 2%. Electricity used by large commercial and industrial customers, excluding iron ore mines, moved up 1%.
WEC Energy's utilities contributed to the customer base in the reported quarter. At the end of 2018, the company had an additional 11,000 electric and 19,000 natural gas customers compared with the year-ago quarter’s level.
As of Dec 31, 2018, WEC Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $84.5 million compared with $38.9 million as of Dec 31, 2017.
As of Dec 31, 2018, the company had long-term debt of $10 billion, up almost 14.2% from 2017-end level.
The company’s net cash provided by operating activities at the end of 2018 was $2.4 billion compared with $2 billion in the year-ago period.
Capital expenditure at the end of 2018 was $2.1 billion, up from $1.9 billion a year ago.
The company announced 2019 earnings per share guidance in the range of $3.48–$3.52. The projection is in line with long-term objective of achieving earnings growth rate of 5-7% on an annual basis.
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 a nice Growth Score of B, however its Momentum Score is doing a bit better with an A. However, the stock was allocated a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% 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 #4 (Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months.
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