Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Tuesday.

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 utility has been consistently boosting dividends every year, thereby returning value to shareholders.The company is focused on expanding its renewable generation assets and lowering its carbon footprint. Thanks to the positive developments, the current rate of return from the company’s share was higher compared with the return from the broader industry in the last twelve months. 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.”

Several other research analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Argus reissued a buy rating and set a $48.00 price objective on shares of Xcel Energy in a research note on Monday, September 26th. SunTrust Banks Inc. cut their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $42.00 to $41.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, August 29th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set a $49.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Thursday, September 8th. Finally, Jefferies Group lifted their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $42.00 to $45.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Thursday, August 4th. Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Xcel Energy currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $43.25.

Shares of Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) opened at 40.49 on Tuesday. Xcel Energy has a 12-month low of $34.33 and a 12-month high of $45.42. The company’s 50 day moving average is $39.97 and its 200 day moving average is $41.77. The company has a market capitalization of $20.57 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.66 and a beta of 0.08.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 27th. The company reported $0.90 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.03. Xcel Energy had a net margin of 10.08% and a return on equity of 10.29%. The business had revenue of $3.04 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.33 billion. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.84 EPS. Xcel Energy’s quarterly revenue was up 4.8% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Xcel Energy will post $2.20 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Xcel Energy news, insider David L. Eves sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, November 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $40.57, for a total value of $405,700.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 50,362 shares in the company, valued at $2,043,186.34. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. 0.20% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in XEL. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in Xcel Energy by 3.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 32,793,704 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,468,502,000 after buying an additional 1,162,685 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in Xcel Energy by 11.0% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 29,652,226 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,327,827,000 after buying an additional 2,933,264 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its position in Xcel Energy by 2.9% in the third quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 16,591,353 shares of the company’s stock valued at $682,568,000 after buying an additional 469,820 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its position in Xcel Energy by 3.8% in the third quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 14,730,758 shares of the company’s stock valued at $606,023,000 after buying an additional 545,498 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC increased its position in Xcel Energy by 7.0% in the second quarter. FMR LLC now owns 13,528,693 shares of the company’s stock valued at $605,815,000 after buying an additional 879,462 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 69.56% of the company’s stock.

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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