Which 5 Top Utility Stocks Have the Strongest Earnings Trends?

Earnings trends are extremely important when evaluating stocks. At Wall St. Cheat Sheet, we view increasing earnings quarter-over-quarter as a simple way to gauge whether costs and the business model are stable. Then we like to analyze whether the company is outperforming peers in the sector. This is what we call the “E-Squared” investment analysis (‘E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter’ + ‘E = Excellent Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector’).

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Here’s your Cheat Sheet to how the top 5 utility stocks rank via earnings trends:

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK): Current Price $68.50

Fiscal Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 13,210 12,730 14,270 14,530 19,620
Diluted EPS ($) 3.213 2.492 3.003 3.844 3.07

We note excellent growth in revenue between 2008 and 2012 at Duke Energy. However, earnings are not keeping pace, and have fallen in the latest year.

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Next, our CHEAT SHEET investing framework asks us to drill down to the recent quarterly data:

Quarter Dec. 31, 2011 Mar. 31, 2012 Jun. 30, 2012 Sep. 30, 2012 Dec. 31, 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 3,368 3,630 3,577 6,722 586.00
Diluted EPS ($) 0.6627 0.6607 0.99 0.85 0.62

We note that EPS has also fallen in the latest quarter, and hence drop Duke Energy from the running…