3 Utilities Stocks Dividend Investors are Considering After Earnings

Southern Company (NYSE:SO) reported its results for the third quarter. Net income for the electronic equipment company rose to $933 million ($1.07 per share) vs. $833.4 million (97 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 11.9% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 2% to $5.43 billion from the year earlier quarter. SO beat the mean analyst estimate of $1.04 per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $5.72 billion.

The economic recovery in the Southeast is continuing, but at a slower pace than expected,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “In the meantime, we remain committed to our customer-focused business model of providing exceptional service, industry-leading reliability and prices below the national average.”

Competitors to Watch: Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), Progress Energy, Inc. (NYSE:PGN), Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK), SCANA Corporation (NYSE:SCG), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE), PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL), Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D), American Electric Power Co., Inc. (NYSE:AEP), and FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE).

American Electric Power Company Inc (NYSE:AEP) reported its results for the third quarter. Net income for the electric utilities company rose to $928 million ($1.93 per share) vs. $556 million ($1.16 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 66.9% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 5.8% to $4.3 billion from the year earlier quarter. AEP reported adjusted net income of $1.17 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.13 per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $4.61 billion.

“We had solid financial performance in the third quarter, with load created by warmer-than-normal weather,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The historic heat in the West and periods of extremely hot weather in the East stressed the nation’s power system, but AEP’s generation and wires – and our men and women who maintain them – were up to the challenge. “We had several positive developments in the quarter,” Morris said. “The Texas Supreme Court ruled in our favor in our appeal of state regulatory decisions regarding the recovery of stranded costs associated with the transition to retail competition. The court required the Public Utility Commission of Texas to use actual capacity auction prices, which is what we had used in our original filing a decade ago. We expect to receive the cash associated with this decision in first-quarter 2012.

Competitors to Watch: FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE), Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK), Cleco Corporation (NYSE:CNL), PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL), The Southern Company (NYSE:SO), Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), DPL Inc. (NYSE:DPL), Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), and Constellation Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE:CEG).

Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) reported its results for the third quarter. Net income for the diversified utilities company fell to $601 million (90 cents per share) vs. $845 million ($1.27 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 28.9% from the year earlier quarter. EXC reported adjusted net income of $1.12 per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of $1.09 per share.

“We delivered strong quarterly earnings, which were just above our guidance range, despite intense summer storms in both the ComEd and PECO service territories,” said John W. Rowe, chairman and chief executive officer. “Exelon Generation’s performance was exceptional, producing a nuclear fleet capacity factor of 95.8 percent and above normal output from our Texas plants to meet much higher demand due to hot weather. Based on our results through September, we are able to reaffirm our full-year earnings guidance range for 2011 of $4.05 to 4.25 per share.”

Competitors to Watch: NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), Entergy Corporation (NYSE:ETR), El Paso Electric Company (NYSE:EE), Constellation Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE:CEG), PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL), ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE), FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE), Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE:TEG), and Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL).

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