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 January 28, 2016 - 1:00 PM EST
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Xcel Energy reports increase in fourth-quarter and annual profits

Jan. 29--Xcel Energy reported increased quarterly and annual profits Thursday as rate hikes in several states more than offset weaker electric and natural gas sales in much of its eight-state operating region.

The

Minneapolis
-based based utility reported adjusted earnings of 41 cents per share in the quarter ending in December, compared with 39 cents a year earlier. For the year, adjusted earnings were $2.09, compared with $2.03 in 2014.

Overall, net income was $209 million, up from $196 million for the fourth quarter a year ago. Revenue fell to $2.6 billion from $2.9 billion a year ago.

In a statement, Xcel said it's the 11th straight year it has met or beat its earnings guidance, and the 12th consecutive year it raised its dividend. The utility reported lower weather-adjusted sales across much of its operating area, but forecast a slight increase in 2016.

For the quarter, its

Colorado
and
Minnesota
-region residential electric service reported a weather-adjusted increase in sales. Weather-adjusted commercial and industrial electric sales were down for the quarter in most places except its
Texas
-
New Mexico
operations. Weather-adjusted gas sales were down everywhere.

The utility adjusts revenue so its comparisons screen out the effect of unusual weather. Even the unadjusted figures were down in most regions. One exception was

Colorado
, which reported a 3 percent unadjusted gain in residential electric sales for the quarter.

Xcel reaffirmed its 2016 earnings guidance of $2.12 to $2.27 per share.

The utility's shares closed at $37.57 Thursday, up 2.4 percent for the day, or 89 cents.

___

(c)2016 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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Source: Equities.com News (January 28, 2016 - 1:00 PM EST)

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