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

According to Zacks, “Xcel Energy’s rising debt level 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. Shares of Xcel Energy have gained more than the industry in the last three 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.  The recently announced Colorado Energy Plan is part of company’s long-term objective to cut down emission.”

XEL has been the topic of a number of other reports. SunTrust Banks restated a “hold” rating and issued a $47.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Tuesday, October 24th. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock an “equal weight” rating in a research report on Friday, September 8th. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $51.00 to $53.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Xcel Energy from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 23rd. Finally, Jefferies Group restated a “hold” rating and issued a $50.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Friday, October 6th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, four have given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. Xcel Energy currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $49.00.

Shares of Xcel Energy (NYSE XEL) traded up $0.24 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $51.44. 3,368,200 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,597,286. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.27, a quick ratio of 0.68 and a current ratio of 0.87. Xcel Energy has a 52 week low of $39.59 and a 52 week high of $52.22. The firm has a market cap of $25,997.46, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.88, a P/E/G ratio of 4.06 and a beta of 0.21.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The utilities provider reported $0.97 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.92 by $0.05. Xcel Energy had a net margin of 10.40% and a return on equity of 10.63%. The company had revenue of $3.02 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.27 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.90 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down .8% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts predict that Xcel Energy will post 2.31 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Timothy V. Wolf sold 3,000 shares of Xcel Energy stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.48, for a total value of $148,440.00. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 3,700 shares in the company, valued at approximately $183,076. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Marvin E. Jr. Mcdaniel sold 5,176 shares of Xcel Energy stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $51.07, for a total transaction of $264,338.32. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 81,371 shares in the company, valued at $4,155,616.97. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders sold 28,363 shares of company stock worth $1,415,265. 0.22% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of XEL. Global X Management Co. LLC raised its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 25.8% during the 2nd quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 18,665 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $856,000 after buying an additional 3,832 shares in the last quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 44.8% during the 2nd quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 7,727 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $355,000 after buying an additional 2,389 shares in the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 4.9% during the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 1,739,569 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $79,812,000 after buying an additional 80,793 shares in the last quarter. Boston Partners raised its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 1.8% during the 2nd quarter. Boston Partners now owns 13,047 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $599,000 after buying an additional 228 shares in the last quarter. Finally, DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale raised its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 9.2% during the 2nd quarter. DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale now owns 168,215 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $7,816,000 after buying an additional 14,157 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.41% of the company’s stock.

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Xcel Energy Company Profile

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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