FirstEnergy's (FE) Capex & Clean Energy Goals Augur Well

·2 min read

FirstEnergy Corporation’s FE expanding regulated base and improving transmission lines are likely to boost its earnings. Also, the company’s efforts to reduce emission levels are expected to be beneficial in the future.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings is pegged at $2.55 per share, indicating growth of 6.69% from the year-ago reported figure. Also, the consensus mark for current-year revenues stands at $11.02 billion, suggesting 2.14% growth from the prior-year reported number. In the past six months, shares of this presently Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 6.3%, outperforming the industry’s rise of 3.3%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Six Months Price Performance

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What’s Driving the Stock?

FirstEnergy’s efforts to extend its regulated generation mix lent consistency to its long-term earnings. The utility’s transmission and distribution operations are spread across 65,000 square miles in six states and its rate structure provides stability during an economic crisis. Its investment in strengthening the transmission and distribution lines will enable it to serve its six million customers more efficiently. The utility anticipates investment worth up to $2.9 billion in reinforcing its transmission and distribution network during 2021.

Owing to the revival of economic activities following vaccination drives, demand from the commercial and industrial group improved in the June quarter. Also, the company generates nearly 65% of its distribution revenues from its residential customers. This is likely to strengthen its prospects in this difficult period.

FirstEnergy is focused on lowering its emission levels and undertook initiatives to that end. In November 2020, it updated its target to become net carbon neutral by 2050. Other electric utilities like Alliant Energy Corporation LNT, CMS Energy Corporation CMS and Pinnacle West Capital PNW are also making sustained efforts to expand their renewable portfolio alongside trimming toxic emissions.

Woes

On the flip side, FirstEnergy still possesses coal-fired generating plants that are required to comply with the federal, state and local environmental statutes, thereby elevating its costs. Thus, a likely escalation in the compliance costs may affect the company’s profitability. The risks related to unplanned outages and an unexpected delay in completing the ongoing capital project remain headwinds.


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