Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Xcel Energy have gained more than the industry in the last one year.  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.  However, 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.”

A number of other research analysts have also commented on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Xcel Energy from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Sunday, December 31st. SunTrust Banks reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $44.00 price objective on shares of Xcel Energy in a research note on Tuesday, December 26th. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on shares of Xcel Energy from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the company an “equal weight” rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Bank of America assumed coverage on shares of Xcel Energy in a research note on Tuesday, October 24th. They set a “buy” rating and a $53.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised their price objective on shares of Xcel Energy from $51.00 to $53.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research note on Thursday, October 12th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, four have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Xcel Energy presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $49.09.

Shares of Xcel Energy (XEL) traded down $0.37 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $45.15. Xcel Energy has a 52 week low of $40.43 and a 52 week high of $52.22. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.27, a quick ratio of 0.68 and a current ratio of 0.87. The firm has a market cap of $22,930.00, a PE ratio of 19.38, a P/E/G ratio of 3.38 and a beta of 0.21.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.97 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ 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 business had revenue of $3.02 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.27 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.90 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down .8% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Xcel Energy will post 2.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other Xcel Energy news, EVP Marvin E. Jr. Mcdaniel sold 5,176 shares of Xcel Energy stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.07, for a total value of $264,338.32. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 81,371 shares in the company, valued at $4,155,616.97. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, Director Timothy V. Wolf sold 3,000 shares of Xcel Energy stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 1st. The stock was 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 disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders sold 28,363 shares of company stock worth $1,415,265. 0.22% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 2.5% in the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 36,034,296 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,653,253,000 after purchasing an additional 871,299 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 6.4% in the 3rd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 30,317,644 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,436,147,000 after purchasing an additional 1,810,629 shares during the period. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 12.2% in the 3rd quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 6,547,453 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $309,800,000 after purchasing an additional 710,989 shares during the period. American Century Companies Inc. boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 0.4% in the 3rd quarter. American Century Companies Inc. now owns 4,988,921 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $236,076,000 after purchasing an additional 20,811 shares during the period. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada boosted its stake in Xcel Energy by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 4,454,766 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $204,384,000 after purchasing an additional 29,403 shares during the period. 73.32% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Xcel Energy Company Profile

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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