Shares of Westar Energy, Inc. (WR - Free Report) scaled a new 52-week high of $57.25 in Friday’s trading session before finally closing at $57.22. The stock has delivered a one-year return of about 42.4%.
Over the past 52 weeks, Westar Energy’s shares have ranged from a low of $38.51 on Nov 6, 2015 to a high of $57.25 on Oct 17, 2016. The average volume of shares traded over the last three months is 730,848.
What’s Driving the Stock?
Last week, shareholders of Great Plains Energy Incorporated (GXP - Free Report) and Westar Energy approved the pending merger-related proposals, paving the way for the completion of the transaction in the spring of 2017. Post the merger, the combined company will serve more than 1.5 million customers across the states of Kansas and Missouri.
A merger will allow the companies to reduce rate hikes for customers as well as lower costs. Under the merger deal, Westar Energy will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Plains Energy, and the merged company will be able to meet 45% of the customer requirement through clean energy.
Westar Energy is also making consistent efforts to expand its renewable portfolio. In June, the company issued first mortgage green bonds worth $350 million at a cost of just 2.55% to fund the Western Plains Wind Farm in Kansas, which is presently under construction. Further, the first of 122 Siemens 2.3-megawatt (“MW”) turbines, with a cumulative capacity 280 MW, have been delivered to Western Plains.
Management believes that the company enjoys local, economic and political support for its clean energy endeavors. Total renewables by the year end is expected to exceed 1,700 MW, producing energy equivalent of one third of the total retail sales.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Westar Energy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked stocks in the same space include DTE Energy Company (DTE - Free Report) and Black Hills Corporation (BKH - Free Report) .
DTE Energy has witnessed four upward estimate revisions for the full year over the last 60 days. The company carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Black Hills, another Zacks Rank #2 stock, has seen one upward estimate revision for 2016 over the last 60 days.
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