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Duke Energy (DUK) Q1 Earnings: Stock Likely to Disappoint

Duke Energy Corp. DUK, an electric and natural gas utility based in Charlotte, NC, is set to report first-quarter 2016 results before the opening bell on May 3. Last quarter, Duke Energy recorded a 7.45% negative earnings surprise. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this quarter.



Factors at Play

Duke Energy’s stable regulated operations, systematic capital investment program and renewable asset expansion will likely provide tailwinds. The company has undertaken several projects and plans to invest about $25 billion to $30 billion in growth projects over the 2016–2020 time frame. It must be noted here that the company anticipates capital investment of $9.225 billion in 2016, along with additional investments, to support its targeted earnings growth rate of 4–6% through 2020.

During its fourth-quarter 2015 call, Duke Energy provided 2016 earnings per share guidance of $4.50–$4.70. The company stated that its international business was still under pressure, as it expects earnings of 30 cents per share, which is down from the 2015 level. This reflects deteriorating demand for electricity in Brazil as well as unfavorable foreign currency volatility, which could dampen international earnings.

Adding to its woes, the milder-than-usual winter might adversely hurt its first-quarter sales.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model shows that Duke Energy is likely to miss the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the first quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) to be able to beat estimates. However, that is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The Earnings ESP for Duke Energy is -1.74%, as the Most Accurate estimate stands at $1.13, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.15.

Zacks Rank: Duke Energy has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). As it is, we caution against stocks with a Zacks Ranks #4 or #5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Here are a few operators in the electric utility space worth considering instead, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Pattern Energy Group Inc. PEGI has an Earnings ESP of +466.67% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to release first-quarter 2016 results on May 5.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. HE has an Earnings ESP of +2.7% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to release first-quarter 2016 earnings on May 4.

Consolidated Edison, Inc. ED has an Earnings ESP of +0.82% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to report first-quarter 2016 earnings on May 5.

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HAWAIIAN ELEC (HE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CONSOL EDISON (ED): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
DUKE ENERGY CP (DUK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PATTERN ENERGY (PEGI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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