Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Xcel Energy have gained more than the industry in the last 12 months. Xcel Energy is poised to gain from its long-term investment plans, focus on renewable generation and improving economic conditions in its service territories. The constructive regulatory orders will also help the company.  However, the rising debt level of Xcel Energy is a concern, in an interest hike environment, with its debt/capital ratio presently higher than the industry average. Lower-than-expected performance of its subsidiaries and cost of adhering stringent environmental regulation could hurt its profitability.”

XEL has been the topic of a number of other reports. Morgan Stanley upped their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a report on Friday, September 8th. BidaskClub cut shares of Xcel Energy from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Saturday, June 24th. BMO Capital Markets increased their target price on shares of Xcel Energy from $46.00 to $47.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a report on Friday, July 28th. J P Morgan Chase & Co increased their target price on shares of Xcel Energy from $51.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a report on Thursday. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $50.00 target price on shares of Xcel Energy in a report on Friday, October 6th. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, two have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $48.67.

Xcel Energy (NYSE XEL) traded down 0.318% during trading on Friday, reaching $48.605. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 1,881,465 shares. Xcel Energy has a 12 month low of $38.00 and a 12 month high of $50.56. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $48.58 and its 200 day moving average is $46.97. The company has a market cap of $24.68 billion, a P/E ratio of 21.459 and a beta of 0.19.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The utilities provider reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.02. Xcel Energy had a net margin of 10.08% and a return on equity of 10.42%. The business had revenue of $2.64 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.63 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.39 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 5.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts forecast that Xcel Energy will post $2.20 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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In related news, EVP Kent T. Larson sold 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, July 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $47.25, for a total value of $472,500.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 80,221 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $3,790,442.25. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Daniel Yohannes acquired 1,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 5th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $49.53 per share, with a total value of $49,530.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 1,000 shares in the company, valued at $49,530. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Company insiders own 0.22% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of XEL. Parallel Advisors LLC raised its position in Xcel Energy by 1.6% during the 2nd quarter. Parallel Advisors LLC now owns 2,227 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $105,000 after buying an additional 36 shares during the last quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. raised its position in Xcel Energy by 14.5% during the 2nd quarter. Carroll Financial Associates Inc. now owns 2,365 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $108,000 after buying an additional 300 shares during the last quarter. Sandy Spring Bank raised its position in Xcel Energy by 24.8% during the 2nd quarter. Sandy Spring Bank now owns 2,401 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $110,000 after buying an additional 477 shares during the last quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp purchased a new position in Xcel Energy during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $135,000. Finally, Sharkey Howes & Javer raised its position in Xcel Energy by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Sharkey Howes & Javer now owns 3,010 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $138,000 after buying an additional 16 shares during the last quarter. 72.45% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy Inc is a public utility holding company. The Company’s operations include the activity of four utility subsidiaries that serve electric and natural gas customers in eight states. The Company’s segments include regulated electric utility, regulated natural gas utility and all other. The Company’s utility subsidiaries include NSP-Minnesota, NSP-Wisconsin, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo) and Southwestern Public Service Co (SPS), which serve customers in portions of Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

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