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NextEra (NEE) Up 4.4% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

A month has gone by since the las t earnings report for NextEra Energy (NEE). Shares have added about 4.4% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is NextEra 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 recen t earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

NextEra Energy's Q4 Earnings & Revenues Lag Estimates

NextEra Energy, Inc. reported fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of $1.49 per share, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.51 by 1.3%. However, earnings were up 20.2% on a year-over-year basis.

The year-over-year earnings growth was led by solid contribution from the NextEra Energy Resources segment.

On a GAAP basis, NextEra Energy recorded earnings of 88 cents per share, down from $4.55 a year ago.

Total Revenues

In the fourth quarter, NextEra Energy's operating revenues were $4,390 million, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,431 million by 0.9%. However, the reported revenues were up 9.6% year over year. Proper execution of its operational and financial plans allowed NextEra Energy to report strong year-over-year results.

Segmental Results

Florida Power & Light Company: The segment's earnings came in at 85 cents per share, up 1.2% from 84 cents recorded in the prior-year quarter. Revenues amounted to $2,935 million, up 2% from the prior-year quarter.

Continued investments to strengthen its operation not only increased the reliability of services but also allowed it to efficiently serve the expanding customer base.

NextEra Energy Resources: Quarterly earnings from the segment came in at 66 cents per share, up 37.5% from 48 cents in the year-ago quarter. Revenues amounted to $1,463 million, up 29.7% from the prior-year quarter.

Corporate and Other: The segment's operating loss in the reported quarter was 2 cents compared with 8 cents in the year-ago quarter.

Highlights of the Release

In the reported quarter, NextEra Energy's total operating expenses were down 14% from the prior-year level to $3,283 million.

Interest expenses in the quarter were $709 million, up 83.2% from the year-ago period.

In the reported quarter, Florida Power & Light Company's total average customer count went up by 71,000 on a year-over-year basis.

NextEra Energy Resources expanded its contracted renewables backlog by adding 6,500 MW of renewable projects during the fourth quarter.

Financial Update

NextEra Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $638 million as of Dec 31, 2018 compared with $1,714 million on Dec 31, 2017.

Long-term debt as of Dec 31, 2018 was $26.78 billion, down from $31.4 billion on Dec 31, 2017.

Cash flow from operating activities in full-year 2018 was $6,593 million compared with $6,458 million in 2017.

Guidance

NextEra Energy reiterated its adjusted earnings guidance in the range of $8.00-$8.50 for 2019. The company's earnings are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 6-8% per year through 2021, off its base of $7.70 in 2018. In addition, NextEra Energy continues to expect 2020 adjusted earnings per share in the range of $8.70-$9.20.

It also expects its dividend per share to improve 12-14% per year through at least 2020, off a 2017 base of $3.93.

NextEra Energy currently aims to add 10,100-16,500 MW of renewable power projects in its portfolio within the 2017-2020 time frame.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, fresh estimates flatlined during the past month.

VGM Scores

Currently, NextEra has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a D. Following the exact same course, 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.

Outlook

NextEra has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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