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Why Is WEC Energy (WEC) Up 2.9% Since Last Earnings Report?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for WEC Energy Group (WEC - Free Report) . Shares have added about 2.9% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

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

WEC Energy's Earnings & Revenues Beat Estimates in Q2

WEC Energy reported second-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of 73 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 66 cents by 10.6%. Earnings also improved from the year-ago 63 cents by 15.8%. Earnings benefited from effective cost control, stronger natural gas sales and favorable economic conditions, which drove demand for energy from industrial customers.

Revenues

WEC Energy’s total revenues amounted to $1,672.5 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,610 million by 4%. Reported revenues were up 2.5% from $1,631.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

Highlights of the Release

Residential consumption of electricity in the reported quarter was up 4.5% year over year. Electricity utilized by small commercial and industrial customers also rose 3.4% year over year. Electricity used by large commercial and industrial customers, excluding iron ore mines, improved 1.1%.

WEC Energy's utilities contributed to the customer base in the reported quarter. At the end of June 2018, the company had an additional 10,000 electric and 15,000 natural gas customers compared with the year-ago level.

Financial Position

As of Jun 30, 2018, WEC Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $29.8 million compared with $38.9 million as of Dec 31, 2017.

As of Jun 30, 2018, the company’s long-term debt of $9.2 billion showed a rise of almost 5.3% from the 2017-end level.

The company’s net cash provided by operating activities at the end of first-half 2018 was $1.5 billion compared with $1.3 billion at the end of first-half 2017.

WEC Energy’s capital expenditure at the end of first-half 2018 was $915.5 million, higher than $790 million at the end of first-half 2017.

Guidance

The company raised the 2018 earnings per share guidance to $3.32 from the previous $3.26-$3.30. The new earnings guidance assumes normal weather for the remainder of the year.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Fresh estimates followed a downward path over the past two months.

VGM Scores

At this time, WEC Energy has a subpar Growth Score of D, however its Momentum Score 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 D. 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

WEC Energy has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.




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