Xcel Energy Inc. (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, “Shares of Xcel Energy have lost wider than the industry in the last one month. 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. However, the company 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.”

Several other analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Argus lifted their price objective on shares of Xcel Energy from $50.00 to $53.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, June 14th. Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $50.00 price target on shares of Xcel Energy in a research report on Thursday, August 31st. Morgan Stanley boosted 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. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Xcel Energy from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 6th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets boosted their price target on shares of Xcel Energy from $46.00 to $47.00 and gave the stock a “market perform” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating, one has assigned a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Xcel Energy has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $47.50.

Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) last issued its quarterly earnings data 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. The firm had revenue of $2.64 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.63 billion. Xcel Energy had a net margin of 10.08% and a return on equity of 10.42%. Xcel Energy’s quarterly revenue was up 5.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.39 EPS.

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

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 12.6% in the second quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 28,507,015 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,307,902,000 after acquiring an additional 3,187,095 shares in the last quarter. Blair William & Co. IL increased its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 4.9% in the second quarter. Blair William & Co. IL now owns 28,902 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $1,326,000 after acquiring an additional 1,343 shares in the last quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. increased its position in shares of Xcel Energy by 0.9% in the second quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 712,959 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $32,711,000 after acquiring an additional 6,550 shares in the last quarter. OMERS ADMINISTRATION Corp purchased a new position in shares of Xcel Energy in the second quarter worth approximately $1,556,000. Finally, Blackstart Capital LP purchased a new position in shares of Xcel Energy in the first quarter worth approximately $12,649,000. 72.45% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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.

Analyst Recommendations for Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL)

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