On April 9, 2014, shares of
American Electric Power Co., Inc.
) hit a 52-week high of $51.62 in intraday trading to finally
close a notch lower at $51.54. This comes to a gain of 8.3% over
the past one-year period.
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American Electric Power, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, delivered
positive earnings surprises in the past two quarters. In the
fourth quarter of 2013, operating earnings of 60 cents per share
surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.1% and increased
20.0% from the year-ago level.
For full-year 2014, the company expects operating earnings in the
range of $3.20 to $3.40 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate
for the year is pegged at $3.33, reflecting a year-over-year
projected improvement of 3.14%.
American Electric has focused on the expansion of its existing
operations. In Jan 2014, AEP River Operations, owned by American
Electric, started its new Liquids Division with the receipt of
the first of 20 tank barges. The company expects to receive
another 19 liquid barges in 2014. It has already started the
transport of liquids from Feb. 20.
A number of new industrial expansions, slated for early 2013,
were delayed until the latter half of the year. This was mirrored
in the last two quarters of earnings beat. The momentum is
expected to continue in 2014 as well. For this year, the company
expects an additional 270 megawatts of new industrial load to
come online, compensating to a large extent the loss of Ormet.
American Electric's strong liquidity of $3.5 billion, as of Dec
31, 2013, will allow the company to distribute regular dividends.
In Jan 2014, the company declared a quarterly dividend of 50
cents per share, marking the 415th consecutive quarterly common
stock cash dividend of the company.
Other Stock to Consider
Other better-ranked stocks in this sector include
NRG Energy, Inc.
Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.
Black Hills Corp.
). All of these stocks hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).