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Ameren (AEE) Up 4.1% Since Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Ameren Corporation (AEE - Free Report) . Shares have added about 4.1% in that time frame, outperforming the market.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to the stock's next earnings release, or is it due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Ameren Tops Q2 Earnings Estimates, Keeps '17 Outlook

Ameren posted second-quarter 2017 earnings from continuing operations of 79 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 69 cents by 14.5%. The bottom line also improved 29.5% year over year.

The year-over-year bottom-line improvement was primarily driven by new Ameren Missouri electric service rates effective Apr 1, 2017, absence of a nuclear refueling and maintenance outage at the Callaway Energy Center, and a change in the timing of interim period revenue recognition at the Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution segment.

Total Revenue

Total revenue of $1,538 million in the reported quarter was up 7.8% year over year on the back of higher electric sales volumes.

Highlights of the Release

Ameren’s total electricity sales in the quarter grew 9.2% to 19,125 million kilowatt hours (kWh) from 17,508 million kWh in the prior-year quarter. Gas volumes were down 3% to 32 million dekatherms from 33 million dekatherms in the prior-year quarter.

Total operating expenses were $1,140 million, up 3.4% year over year.

Interest expenses were $99 million, up 4.2% from the year-ago figure.

Financial Condition

Ameren reported cash and cash equivalents of $10 million as of Jun 30 compared with $9 million at 2016 end.

Long-term debt as of Jun 30 was $6,597 million compared with $6,821 million as of Dec 31, 2016.

Cash from operating activities in the first six months of the year was $863 million compared with $763 million in the prior-year period.

Guidance

Ameren reiterates 2017 diluted earnings per share to be in a range of $2.65-$2.85.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Following the release, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates. There have been two revisions lower for the current quarter. In the past month, the consensus estimate has shifted lower by 8.6% due to these changes.

Ameren Corporation Price and Consensus

VGM Scores

At this time, Ameren's stock has a subpar Growth Score of D, however its Momentum is doing a bit better with a C. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% 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.

Zacks' style scores indicate that the company's stock is suitable for value and momentum investors.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock. The magnitude of this revision also indicates a downward shift. Interestingly, the stock has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We are looking for an above average return from the stock in the next few months




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