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Why Is NRG (NRG) Up 7.6% Since Last Earnings Report?

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for NRG Energy (NRG). Shares have added about 7.6% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is NRG due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

NRG Energy Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates, Sales Decline Y/Y

NRG Energy, Inc. reported first-quarter 2024 earnings of 80 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 51 cents by 56.9%. However, the bottom line declined 7% from the year-ago quarter’s figure of 86 cents.

Revenues

Total revenues came in at $7.43 billion, down 3.8% from the prior-year quarter’s reported level of $7.72 billion.

Highlights of the Release

The company recorded adjusted EBITDA of $849 million, up 31.4% from $646 million recorded a year ago.

Operating costs and expenses totaled $6.6 billion, down 30.8% from $9.5 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Operating income for the quarter totaled $0.87 billion against a loss of $1.54 billion in the year-ago period.

The company concluded the previously announced $950 million accelerated share repurchase program in the first quarter, with nearly 19 million shares repurchased at an average price of $50.43 per share.

Financial Highlights

As of Mar 31, 2024, NRG had cash and cash equivalents worth $278 million compared with $541 million as of Dec 31, 2023.

As of Mar 31, 2024, long-term debt and finance leases amounted to $9.56 billion compared with $10.13 billion as of Dec 31, 2023.

Cash provided by operating activities in the first three months of 2024 totaled $0.27 billion against $1.6 billion cash used in the year-ago period.

Capital expenditures totaled $69 million in the first three months of 2024 compared with $142 million in the year-ago quarter.

Guidance

NRG Energy reaffirmed its 2024 guidance of $3.3-$3.55 billion for Adjusted EBITDA and $1.83-$2.1 billion for Free Cash Flow before Growth.

The company reaffirmed its 2024 capital allocation commitment of $825 million in additional share repurchases.

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How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in estimates review.

The consensus estimate has shifted -13.75% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, NRG has a poor Growth Score of F, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a B. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision indicates a downward shift. Notably, NRG has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

Performance of an Industry Player

NRG is part of the Zacks Utility - Electric Power industry. Over the past month, NextEra Energy (NEE), a stock from the same industry, has gained 5.8%. The company reported its results for the quarter ended March 2024 more than a month ago.

NextEra reported revenues of $5.73 billion in the last reported quarter, representing a year-over-year change of -14.7%. EPS of $0.91 for the same period compares with $0.84 a year ago.

For the current quarter, NextEra is expected to post earnings of $0.90 per share, indicating a change of +2.3% from the year-ago quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has changed -0.6% over the last 30 days.

The overall direction and magnitude of estimate revisions translate into a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) for NextEra. Also, the stock has a VGM Score of C.

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