It has been about a month since the last earnings report for FirstEnergy (FE - Free Report) . Shares have added about 0.9% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is FirstEnergy 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 drivers.
FirstEnergy Q3 Earnings and Revenues Beat Estimates
FirstEnergy delivered third-quarter 2019 operating earnings of 76 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 73 cents by 4.1%. The figure fell 5% from the year-ago quarter’s earnings of 80 cents.
On a GAAP basis, the company generated earnings of 72 cents against a loss of $1.02 in the prior-year quarter.
FirstEnergy generated total revenues of $2,963 million in the third quarter, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,854 million by 3.8%. The figure declined 3.3% from $3,064 million in the year-ago quarter.
Highlights of the Release
Higher operating expenses and depreciation, absence of the Ohio Distribution Modernization Rider as well as more moderate summer hurt Regulated Distribution business.
Total distribution deliveries fell 2.2% in the third quarter on a year-over-year basis. Residential sales declined 2.2% year over year. Commercial and industrial sales dipped 3.8% and 1% year over year, respectively.
Higher rate base resulting from ongoing investments in the company's Energizing the Future initiative as well as a lower tax rate boosted Regulated Transmission business earnings in the quarter under review.
FirstEnergy's cash and cash equivalents as of Sep 30, 2019 were $716 million, up from $367 million as of Dec 31, 2018.
Long-term debt and other long-term obligations as of Sep 30 were $19,422 million compared with $17,751 million as of Dec 31, 2018.
Net cash provided from operating activities in the first nine months of 2019 was $1,737 million against $558 million cash provided in the year-ago period.
Previously, the company expected 2019 earnings per share (EPS) in the range of $2.45-$2.75. Currently, it projects EPS in the range of $2.50-$2.60, whose mid-point of $2.55 is higher than the current Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.49.
Also, the company issued 2020 earnings guidance in the range of $2.40-$2.60 per share.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in estimates revision.
At this time, FirstEnergy 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.
Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision has been net zero. It comes with little surprise FirstEnergy has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.