Xcel Energy, AEP exceed analyst expectations While Dominion persists through drop

Xcel Energy said its fourth-quarter earnings increased to $167.8 million, or 37 cents a share, from $163 million, or 36 cents a share, year over year for the past year. This increase exceeded analyst expectations of an increase of 36 a share.

Revenue fell to $2.6 billion from $2.7 billion. Total operating expenses dropped to $2.26 billion from $2.35 billion, despite higher costs for maintenance and conservation costs.

The company reiterated its 2010 earnings forecast of $1.55 to $1.65.

AEP saw its net increase to $238 million, or 50 cents a share, from $152 million, or 38 cents, a year earlier, exceeding analyst expectations of an increase in earnings of 45 cents a share on revenue of $3.59 billion.

Adjusted earnings fell to 50 cents a share from 59 cents.

The Columbus, Ohio, company's revenue rose to $3.3 billion from $3.2 billion.

The company repeated its 2010 adjusted-earnings forecast of $2.80 to $3.20 a share, compared with the Wall Street target of $3.05 a share.

Dominion Resources said its fourth-quarter income fell 53%, citing higher outage costs, unfavorable weather in its regulated utility business and higher depreciation and amortization expenses.

Separately, Dominion boosted is annual dividend by 4.6% to $1.83 a share in 2010, from $1.75 a share in the year-ago period.

Dominion said earnings fell to $165 million, or 28 cents a share, from $348 million, or 60 cents a share, year over year for the past year..

Operating earnings fell to 63 cents a share from 73 cents a share. Revenue dropped 22% to $3.3 billion from $4.2 billion.

Dominion expects first-quarter operating earnings of 90 cents a share to $1 a share, compared to the analyst target of 92 cents a share.

The company also affirmed its 2010 operating earnings guidance of $3.20 to $3.40 a share.

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