It has been about a month since the last earnings report for WEC Energy Group (WEC - Free Report) . Shares have added about 4.6% in that time frame, outperforming 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 Q3 Earnings Beat Estimates, Revenues Miss
WEC Energy reported third-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of 74 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents by 4.23%. Earnings improved from the year-ago quarter’s tally of 68 cents by 8.8% on economic strength, a warmer-than-normal summer and focus on efficiency.
Total revenues amounted to $1,643.7 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,651 million by 0.4%. Reported revenues inched down 0.8% from $1,657.5 million in the year-ago quarter.
Highlights of the Release
Residential use of electricity in the reported quarter rose 10.2% year over year. Electricity consumption by small commercial and industrial customers increased 5.1%. Electricity used by large commercial and industrial customers, excluding iron ore mines, climbed 3.0%.
WEC Energy's utilities contributed to the customer base in the reported quarter. At the end of September 2018, the company had an additional 11,000 electric and 15,000 natural gas customers compared with the year-ago level.
As of Sep 30, 2018, WEC Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $14.5 million compared with $38.9 million as of Dec 31, 2017.
As of Sep 30, 2018, the company’s long-term debt of $9.1 billion showed a rise of almost 4.3% from the 2017-end level.
The company’s net cash provided by operating activities at the end of the first nine months of 2018 was $2 billion compared with $1.7 billion in the year-ago period.
Capital expenditure at the end of the first nine month of 2018 was $1.5 billion, higher than $1.3 billion in the year-ago period.
The company reaffirmed the 2018 earnings per share guidance at $3.32.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
Fresh estimates followed a downward path over the past two months. The consensus estimate has shifted -12.59% due to these changes.
At this time, WEC Energy has a subpar Growth Score of D, a grade with the same score on the momentum front. Charting a somewhat similar path, 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.
WEC Energy has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.