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

According to Zacks, “Xcel Energy’s rising debt level is a concern, in an interest hike environment, with its debt/capital ratio presently higher than the industry average. Lower-than-expected performance of its subsidiaries and cost of adhering stringent environmental regulation could hurt its profitability. Shares of Xcel Energy have gained more than the industry in the last three months.  Xcel Energy is poised to gain from its long-term investment plans, focus on renewable generation and improving economic conditions in its service territories. The constructive regulatory orders will also help the company.  The recently announced Colorado Energy Plan is part of company’s long-term objective to cut down emission.”

Several other equities research analysts have also recently weighed in on the stock. SunTrust Banks reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $48.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Monday, December 4th. ValuEngine raised shares of Xcel Energy from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, November 9th. Bank of America began coverage on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. They issued a buy rating and a $53.00 price target for the company. J P Morgan Chase & Co upped their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $51.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an overweight rating in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed a hold rating and issued a $48.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Tuesday, October 10th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, four have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Xcel Energy presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $49.45.

Shares of Xcel Energy (NYSE XEL) opened at $50.78 on Tuesday. The stock has a market cap of $25,809.59, a PE ratio of 21.72, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 4.03 and a beta of 0.21. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.27, a current ratio of 0.87 and a quick ratio of 0.68. Xcel Energy has a 52-week low of $40.04 and a 52-week high of $52.22.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.97 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.92 by $0.05. Xcel Energy had a net margin of 10.40% and a return on equity of 10.63%. The firm had revenue of $3.02 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.27 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.90 EPS. The company’s revenue was down .8% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts anticipate that Xcel Energy will post 2.31 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Saturday, January 20th. Investors of record on Thursday, December 28th will be paid a dividend of $0.36 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, December 27th. This represents a $1.44 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.84%. Xcel Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 61.54%.

In related news, Director Timothy V. Wolf sold 3,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.48, for a total transaction of $148,440.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now owns 3,700 shares in the company, valued at approximately $183,076. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider Mark E. Stoering sold 20,187 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, November 6th. The stock was sold at an average price of $49.66, for a total transaction of $1,002,486.42. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 48,424 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,404,735.84. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 28,363 shares of company stock valued at $1,415,265. 0.22% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 2.5% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 36,034,296 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,653,253,000 after acquiring an additional 871,299 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 6.4% during the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 30,317,644 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,436,147,000 after acquiring an additional 1,810,629 shares in the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. raised its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 13,899,928 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $637,728,000 after acquiring an additional 85,566 shares in the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. raised its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 12.2% during the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 6,547,453 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $309,800,000 after acquiring an additional 710,989 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Commonwealth Bank of Australia raised its stake in shares of Xcel Energy by 26.9% during the 2nd quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 5,789,794 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $265,634,000 after acquiring an additional 1,225,622 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.41% of the company’s stock.

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About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company’s operations include the activity of four utility subsidiaries that serve electric and natural gas customers in eight states. The Company’s segments include regulated electric utility, regulated natural gas utility and all other. The Company’s utility subsidiaries include NSP-Minnesota, NSP-Wisconsin, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo) and Southwestern Public Service Co (SPS), which serve customers in portions of Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

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