Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage presently has a $44.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Xcel Energy’s long-term investment plans will strengthen its operations and help it to serve its expanding customer base in a more reliable and efficient manner. The company is also benefiting from improving economic conditions in its service territories. The company is focused on expanding its renewable generation assets and lowering its carbon footprint. Xcel Energy's operation is subject to stringent environmental legislations which call for additional expenditures and can adversely impact the company's profits. Rising debt levels of Xcel Energy is a concern, with its debt/capital ratio presently higher than the industry average.”

A number of other research analysts also recently commented on XEL. Argus reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $48.00 price objective (up from $46.00) on shares of Xcel Energy in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $49.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, September 8th. Jefferies Group raised their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $42.00 to $45.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, August 4th. Finally, SunTrust Banks Inc. raised their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $41.00 to $42.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Monday, September 26th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of C$43.25.

Analyst Recommendations for Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL)

Shares of Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) traded up 1.06% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $39.87. 1,765,847 shares of the company were exchanged. The company has a market capitalization of $20.25 billion, a PE ratio of 18.90 and a beta of 0.13. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $41.39 and its 200-day moving average price is $41.94. Xcel Energy has a 52-week low of $34.33 and a 52-week high of $45.42.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, August 3rd. The company reported $0.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.01. Xcel Energy had a return on equity of 10.10% and a net margin of 9.92%. The business earned $2.50 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.52 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.39 EPS. Xcel Energy’s revenue was down .6% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts anticipate that Xcel Energy will post $2.20 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 20th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be paid a $0.34 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $1.36 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.45%. Xcel Energy’s dividend payout ratio is currently 64.46%.

In other news, EVP Marvin E. Jr. Mcdaniel sold 11,900 shares of Xcel Energy stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of C$41.66, for a total value of C$495,754.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 79,404 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately C$3,307,970.64. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. 0.20% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. TLP Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of Xcel Energy during the second quarter valued at about $116,000. City Holding Co. boosted its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 1.5% in the second quarter. City Holding Co. now owns 2,776 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 41 shares in the last quarter. Iowa State Bank acquired a new position in shares of Xcel Energy during the second quarter valued at about $125,000. Sharkey Howes & Javer boosted its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.5% in the second quarter. Sharkey Howes & Javer now owns 2,946 shares of the company’s stock valued at $132,000 after buying an additional 16 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Hanson McClain Inc. boosted its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 43.2% in the second quarter. Hanson McClain Inc. now owns 3,018 shares of the company’s stock valued at $135,000 after buying an additional 911 shares in the last quarter. 70.91% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company’s operations include activity of four utility subsidiaries that serve electric and natural gas customers. Its segments are regulated electric utility, regulated natural gas utility and all other. The regulated electric utility segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:XEL

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