Xcel Energy Target of Unusually High Options Trading (NYSE:XEL)

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Xcel Energy Inc (NYSE:XEL) was the target of some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Traders acquired 1,643 call options on the company. This represents an increase of 1,225% compared to the typical volume of 124 call options.

Xcel Energy stock traded up $0.10 during trading hours on Thursday, reaching $61.74. 1,032,661 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 3,269,067. The firm’s 50 day simple moving average is $63.35 and its 200 day simple moving average is $61.16. Xcel Energy has a twelve month low of $47.70 and a twelve month high of $66.05.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 24th. The utilities provider reported $1.01 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by ($0.02). The business had revenue of $3.01 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.55 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.96 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.1% on a year-over-year basis.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Sunday, October 20th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 13th were issued a dividend of $0.405 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, September 12th. This represents a $1.62 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.62%.

In related news, EVP Kent T. Larson sold 25,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.25, for a total value of $1,606,250.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 75,354 shares in the company, valued at $4,841,494.50. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Christopher B. Clark sold 2,000 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, August 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.25, for a total value of $128,500.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 49,382 shares of company stock valued at $3,133,045 over the last 90 days. 0.22% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of XEL. Nicolet Bankshares Inc. grew its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 2.2% in the 3rd quarter. Nicolet Bankshares Inc. now owns 7,724 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $501,000 after buying an additional 164 shares during the period. Townsend & Associates Inc grew its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.6% in the 2nd quarter. Townsend & Associates Inc now owns 28,904 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $1,755,000 after buying an additional 166 shares during the period. Gradient Investments LLC grew its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 71.6% in the 3rd quarter. Gradient Investments LLC now owns 398 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $26,000 after buying an additional 166 shares during the period. 6 Meridian grew its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 1.8% in the 2nd quarter. 6 Meridian now owns 9,558 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $569,000 after buying an additional 167 shares during the period. Finally, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC grew its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 3.3% in the 3rd quarter. Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC now owns 5,517 shares of the utilities provider’s stock valued at $358,000 after buying an additional 175 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.96% of the company’s stock.

XEL has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. Bank of America downgraded Xcel Energy from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating and set a $62.00 price objective for the company. in a report on Monday, September 30th. KeyCorp increased their price objective on Xcel Energy from $67.00 to $73.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday, October 21st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Xcel Energy from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $66.00 price objective for the company in a report on Monday, August 26th. Mizuho increased their price objective on Xcel Energy from $50.00 to $64.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Thursday, October 10th. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased their price objective on Xcel Energy from $60.00 to $63.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, September 6th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $64.20.

Xcel Energy Company Profile

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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