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CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP - Analyst Report) reported fourth-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of 26 cents per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. The figure was also down 16.1% from 31 cents a year ago.

For 2013, the company???s adjusted earnings were $1.26 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.3%. Annual earnings decreased 6.7% from the prior-year figure.

On a GAAP basis, annual earnings were 72 cents per share down from 97 cents per share a year ago. The variance between GAAP and adjusted earnings was due to the combined impact of a non-cash deferred tax charge and pre-tax partnership formation expenses.

Total Revenue

CenterPoint Energy???s total revenue for the reported quarter was $2.18 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 52.8%. Quarterly revenues improved 2.2% from the year-ago figure.

The company???s total annual revenue was $8.1 billion, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.2%. Reported revenues increased 8.8% year over year.

Operational Results

In the quarter under review, CenterPoint Energy???s total expenses soared 7.9% year over year to $1,973 million, primarily due to a surge in natural gas expenses. This was partially offset by lower operation and maintenance and depreciation expenses.

The company???s operating margin was 9.7% in the reported quarter, down from 14.5% a year ago.

Total interest expenses decreased around 18% year over year to $114 million.

Segment Results

In fourth-quarter 2013, the Electric Transmission & Distribution segment reported operating income of $119 million, up 20% year over year. Natural Gas Distribution???s operating income inched up 3% year over year to $94 million. The Energy Services segment???s operating income dropped a substantial 92% year over year to $1 million. In the quarter, the Interstate Pipelines and Field Services segments did not post any operating income. The Other Operations segment reported a loss of $3 million.

Financial Condition

As of Dec 31, 2013, CenterPoint Energy reported cash and cash equivalents of $208 million, down from $646 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

Total long-term debt was $7,817 million as of Dec 31, 2013, down from $8,357 million at the end of Dec 31, 2012.

For 2013, net cash provided by operating activities was $11,613 million, considerably lower than $1,860 million in the year-ago comparable period.

CenterPoint Energy???s capital expenditures in 2013 increased 7.1% year over year to $1,272 million, primarily on increased investments in the Electric Transmission & Distribution and Natural Gas Distribution segments.

Peer Reviews

Edison International (EIX - Analyst Report) reported adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2013, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 65 cents by 24.6%.

Zacks Rank

CenterPoint Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). However, some better-ranked stocks in the same industry include Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PEG - Analyst Report) and American Electric Power Co., Inc. (AEP - Analyst Report). While Public Service Enterprise sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), American Electric Power carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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