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ETFs in Focus After Utilities Report Q4 Results

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This earnings season has been a mixed bag for utilities, with some beating market expectations and others falling short of the same.

We will now discuss the performance of three companies, Dominion Energy (D - Free Report) , NextEra Energy (NEE - Free Report) and Duke Energy (DUK - Free Report) .

Dominion Energy

Dominion Energy reported a year-over-year increase of 4.2% in net quarterly revenues to $3.210 billion compared from $3.082 billion in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for full-year 2017 increased to $12.586 billion from $11.737 billion in 2016.

Q4 Performance

Dominion reported non-GAAP earnings per share of 91 cents, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 88 cents but came in lower than the year-ago figure of 99 cents. Revenues of $3.210 billion surpassed the consensus mark of $3.208 billion. Income from operations increased to $1.0 billion from $819 million in the year-ago quarter.

Operating Earnings

Power Delivery reported operating earnings of $141 million, increasing from $121 million a year ago.

Power Generation registered operating earnings of $311 million, decreasing from $331 million a year ago.

Gas Infrastructure reported operating earnings of $285 million, increasing from $243 million a year ago.

Corporate and other incurred operating loss of $152 million compared with a loss of $77 million a year ago.

Outlook

Dominion Energy expects 2018 operating earnings to be in the range of $3.80-$4.25 per share.

NextEra Energy

NextEra Energy reported an 8.4% year-over-year increase in net quarterly revenues. While it beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate on revenues, it missed the same on earnings. Revenues for full-year 2017 increased to $17.195 billion from $16.155 billion in 2016.

Q4 Performance

NextEra Energy reported non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of $1.25, increasing 3.3% year over year but missing the consensus mark of $1.31. However, revenues of $4.010 billion surpassed the consensus estimate of $3.910 billion.

The company reported operating income of $236 million, reflecting a decrease from $926 million a year ago.

Segment Performance

Florida Power and Light revenues increased to $2.877 billion from $2.588 billion a year ago. Earnings came in at 84 cents per share, up 6.3% from the prior-year quarter.

NextEra Energy Resources revenues increased to $1.134 billion from $1.052 billion a year ago. Earnings came in at 49 cents per share, up 19.5% from the prior-year quarter.

Guidance

NextEra Energy expects its adjusted earnings to be in the range of $7.45-$7.95 for 2018 owing to the tax reform. The company expects compound annual growth in adjusted earnings per share to be in a range of 6-8% through 2021.

Duke Energy Corp

Duke Energy reported a year-over-year increase of 4.1% in net quarterly revenues to $5.852 billion from $5.624 billion in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for full-year 2017 increased to $23.565 billion from $22.743 billion in 2016.

Quarterly Performance

Duke Energy reported non-GAAP earnings per share of 94 cents, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 91 cents and the year-ago earnings of 81 cents. Moreover, revenues of $5.852 billion surpassed the consensus mark of $5.848 billion. Operating income increased to $1.263 billion from $891 million in the year-ago quarter.

Segment Performance

Electric Utilities and Infrastructure reported operating revenues of $5.097 billion, increasing from $4.936 billion a year ago. Segment income amounted to $826 million, up from $483 million a year ago.

Gas Utilities and Infrastructure reported operating revenues of $593 million, increasing from $543 million a year ago. Moreover, segment income amounted to $140 million, up from $89 million a year ago.

Commercial Renewables reported operating revenues of $127 million, increasing from $119 million a year ago. Segment income amounted to $439 million, up from $10 million a year ago.

Other Revenues amounted to $35 million, increasing from $26 million a year ago. Segment expenses totaled $700 million, up from net expense of $209 million a year ago.

Outlook

The company expects to generate adjusted EPS in the range of $4.55-$4.85 in 2018.

In the current scenario, we believe it is prudent to discuss the following ETFs that have a relatively high exposure to the three companies.

Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU - Free Report)

XLU is one of the most popular funds in the utility space. It primarily provides exposure to U.S. companies involved in electricity or natural gas. The fund has AUM of $7.0 billion and is a relatively cheaper bet as it charges a fee of 13 basis points a year. It has an 11.6% allocation to NextEra Energy, 7.9% to Duke Energy and 7.7% to Dominion Energy (as of Feb 21, 2018). The fund has returned 0.7% in a year but lost 7.3% year to date. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 (Sell) with a Medium risk outlook.

Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU - Free Report)

This ETF offers targeted exposure to U.S. utility companies. It has AUM of $2.5 billion and charges a fee of 10 basis points a year. It has a 9.4% allocation to NextEra Energy, 6.9% to Duke Energy and 6.2% to Dominion Energy (as of Jan 31, 2018). The fund has returned 1.1% in a year but lost 7.5% year to date. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 with a Medium risk outlook.

iShares U.S. Utilities ETF (IDU - Free Report)

This ETF offers targeted exposure to U.S. utility companies. It has AUM of $596.5 million and charges a fee of 44 basis points a year. It has a 9.9% allocation to NextEra Energy, 7.2% to Duke Energy and 6.6% to Dominion Energy (as of Feb 20, 2018). The fund has returned 0.7% in a year but lost 7.4% year to date. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 with a Medium risk outlook.

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