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

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $53.00 price target on the utilities provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Xcel Energy have returned better than the broader industry in the last twelve months. Despite the adverse impact of warmer winter, the company was able to match the year-ago earnings due to higher electric and natural gas margins and a lower effective tax rate. Xcel Energy’s long-term investment plans will strengthen its operations and the company is also benefiting from improving economic conditions in its service territories. The constructive regulatory orders will also help the company. However, the rising debt level of Xcel Energy is a concern, in an interest hike environment, with its debt/capital ratio presently higher than the industry average.”

A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on XEL. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a hold rating and set a $48.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy in a report on Friday, June 9th. Argus increased their price objective on shares of Xcel Energy from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. Mizuho assumed coverage on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Wednesday, April 19th. They set a neutral rating and a $44.00 price objective on the stock. Deutsche Bank AG increased their price objective on shares of Xcel Energy from $45.00 to $46.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a research report on Friday, April 28th. Finally, Barclays PLC reissued an equal weight rating and set a $47.00 price objective (up previously from $44.00) on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Sunday, April 23rd. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $47.44.

Shares of Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) opened at 47.38 on Thursday. Xcel Energy has a 1-year low of $38.00 and a 1-year high of $48.50. The firm has a market capitalization of $24.06 billion, a PE ratio of 21.50 and a beta of 0.18. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $46.57 and a 200 day moving average price of $43.51.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, April 27th. The utilities provider reported $0.47 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $2.95 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.94 billion. Xcel Energy had a net margin of 9.94% and a return on equity of 10.24%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.47 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Xcel Energy will post $2.20 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, July 20th. Investors of record on Thursday, June 15th will be given a $0.36 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, June 13th. This represents a $1.44 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.04%. Xcel Energy’s payout ratio is 65.16%.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in XEL. Founders Capital Management acquired a new position in shares of Xcel Energy during the first quarter valued at $124,000. Reilly Financial Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 5.8% in the first quarter. Reilly Financial Advisors LLC now owns 2,901 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $129,000 after buying an additional 160 shares during the last quarter. Sharkey Howes & Javer boosted its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.5% in the first quarter. Sharkey Howes & Javer now owns 2,994 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $133,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the last quarter. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Xcel Energy during the first quarter valued at $163,000. Finally, North Star Investment Management Corp. boosted its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 186.8% in the first quarter. North Star Investment Management Corp. now owns 3,685 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $164,000 after buying an additional 2,400 shares during the last quarter. 72.14% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company’s operations include the activity of four utility subsidiaries that serve electric and natural gas customers in eight states. The Company’s segments include regulated electric utility, regulated natural gas utility and all other. The Company’s utility subsidiaries include NSP-Minnesota, NSP-Wisconsin, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo) and Southwestern Public Service Co (SPS), which serve customers in portions of Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

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Analyst Recommendations for Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL)

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