2 Energy Companies Seeing More Activity as Earnings are Out

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) reversed to a profit in the fourth quarter, beating Wall Street estimates. Reported a profit of $45 million (8 cents per diluted share) in the quarter. The oil and gas refining and marketing company had a net loss of $438 million or a loss of 77 cents per share in the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 56.4% to $34.67 billion from the year earlier quarter. VLO beat the mean analyst estimate of a loss of 25 cents per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $32.3 billion.

“Although the fourth quarter clearly showed the volatility of the refining business, 2011 was a great year for Valero,” said Valero Chairman and CEO Bill Klesse. “We had the highest annual earnings since 2008, acquired the Pembroke and Meraux refineries and related assets, completed several of our major capital projects, and paid off over $775 million in debt. We also increased our cash returned to shareholders by tripling the common stock dividend and conducting stock buybacks in the third and fourth quarters.”

Competitors to Watch: Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO), Alon USA Energy, Inc. (NYSE:ALJ), Western Refining, Inc. (NYSE:WNR), Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE:SUN), CVR Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CVI), Frontier Oil Corporation (NYSE:FTO), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Holly Corporation (NYSE:HOC), Delek US Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:DK), and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM).

Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Net income for the electric utilities company fell to $160 million (87 cents per share) vs. $233.3 million ($1.28 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 31.4% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue fell 1.7% to $2.49 billion from the year earlier quarter. ETR reported adjusted net income of 94 cents per share. By that measure, the company fell short of mean estimate of 96 cents per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $2.56 billion.

“Our objective of establishing sound public policy that creates greater energy independence, environmental cleanliness and economic growth was advanced by recent events,” said J. Wayne Leonard, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Approximately four months after the trial of the Entergy lawsuit against the state of Vermont, the court struck down statutory provisions passed by the Vermont Legislature in an effort to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant on radiological safety grounds, ruling that the effort was preempted by federal law. We’re pleased with the decision issued after a thorough review of the facts and the law, as outlined in the meticulous 102-page decision. The ruling is good news for VY’s approximately 600 employees, the nuclear industry, the environment, and New England residents and industries that depend on VY’s clean, affordable, reliable power.”

Competitors to Watch: Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC), The Southern Company (NYSE:SO), El Paso Electric Company (NYSE:EE), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), American Electric Power Co., Inc. (NYSE:AEP), Cleco Corporation (NYSE:CNL), PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL), OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE:OGE), Progress Energy, Inc. (NYSE:PGN), and TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE).