FirstEnergy's Residential Users, Investments to Aid Earnings
FirstEnergy Corporation’s FE expanding regulated base and increasing transmission lines are likely to enhance its earnings. Also, the company’s favorable liquidity position will help it meet near-term debt obligations.
For 2020, the company’s earnings estimates have moved 0.8% north to $2.51 per share in the past 60 days. Additionally, FirstEnergy has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 6.37%, on average.
What’s Driving the Stock?
FirstEnergy’s efforts to expand its regulated generation mix lent consistency to its long-term earnings. The utility’s transmission and distribution operations are spread across 65,000 square miles in six states and its rate structure provides stability during an economic turmoil.
Due to stay-at-home orders, FirstEnergy is experiencing hike in residential demand. Remarkably, the company’s 65% distribution revenues are generated from residential customers that will help offset the decline in other customer groups’ demand due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
The utility player reaffirmed its long-term CAGR projection of 6-8% for operating earnings during the 2018-2021 forecast period and extended the same to 5-7% through 2023. The company’s strategic investment in strengthening its transmission and distribution lines will enable it to serve its six million customers more efficiently. It aims to spend nearly $17.6 billion on reinforcing transmission and distribution network in the 2018-2023 time period.
FirstEnergy is focused on lowering its emission levels and undertook initiatives to that end. As of Feb 29, 2020, it achieved an 80% reduction in its CO2 emissions from the 2005-level. Apart from this, other electric utilities like Alliant Energy Corporation LNT, CMS Energy Corporation CMS and Pinnacle West Capital PNW are also making sustained efforts to expand their renewable portfolio along with reducing emissions.
However, FirstEnergy still has coal-fired generating plants that are required to comply with the federal, state and local environmental statutes, thereby flaring up costs. Thus, a likely increase in the compliance costs might affect the company’s profitability.
Zacks Rank & Price Performance
The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
In the past one month, shares of the company have gained 10.8% outperforming the industry’s rise of 9.4%.
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