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Electric, natural gas margins help Xcel Energy results improve YOY

Xcel Energy Inc. reported $227.5 million, or 45 cents per share, in ongoing earnings for the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2016, beating the S&P Capital IQ normalized consensus estimate by 1 cent.

The results represent a 4 cent-per-share increase in ongoing earnings for the fourth quarter, compared to $209 million, or 41 cents per share, for the comparable quarter of 2015, according to a Feb. 2 earnings release.

Public Service Co. of Colorado contributed 17 cents toward fourth-quarter 2016 ongoing EPS while Northern States Power Co. - Minnesota contributed 21 cents. Southwestern Public Service Co. contributed 6 cents to fourth-quarter EPS and Northern States Power Co. - Wisconsin contributed 3 cents.

Xcel Energy said financial results were helped by increases in electric and natural gas margins. Xcel Energy generated $2.79 billion in fourth-quarter 2016 revenues, including $2.29 billion from the electric segment and $484.9 million from the natural gas segment. This compares to the $2.65 billion generated in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the electric segment contributing $2.17 billion and the natural gas segment contributing $455.9 million.

Operating expenses rose to $2.33 billion from $2.20 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, while Xcel Energy's operating income increased to $465.4 million from $441 million in the same period of 2015.

For the full year, ongoing EPS was up 12 cents to $2.21 compared to $2.09 in 2015. The S&P Capital IQ normalized consensus EPS estimate was $2.20.

NSP-Minnesota made the highest full-year 2016 EPS contribution among Xcel Energy's regulated subsidiaries at 96 cents, followed by Public Service Co. of Colorado at 91 cents and Southwestern Public Service Co. at 30 cents. NSP-Wisconsin contributed 14 cents toward 2016 ongoing EPS.

Xcel Energy generated $11.11 billion in revenues in 2016, including $9.50 billion from the electric segment and $1.53 billion from the natural gas segment. This compares to revenues of $11.02 billion for 2015, including $9.28 billion from the electric segment and $1.67 billion from the natural gas segment.

Operating expenses for Xcel Energy in 2016 also dropped, to $8.89 billion versus $9.02 billion in 2016, with operating income at $2.21 billion from $2 billion in 2015, results showed.

On a GAAP basis, Xcel Energy reported earnings at $1.12 billion for the full year, or $2.21 per share, compared to $984.5 million, or $1.94 per share, for 2015.

For 2017, the company is targeting ongoing EPS of $2.25 to $2.35.