NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Progress Energy (PGN) shareholders are in the dark, at least for the moment, when it comes to the utility's proposed $13.7 billion mega-merger with Duke Energy (DUK - Get Report).
Warmer than expected weather has hit utility earnings, and key regulatory approvals remain for the deal with Duke to close, in spite of progress.
Progress Energy investors should remain cautious. The value of the all-stock deal increased with Duke Energy's over 20% stock gain in 2011.
Amid falling earnings for both North Carolina-based utilities, management commentary and recent media reports still signal confidence that the merger will close ahead of a July 2012 termination date, with state regulatory approvals imminent. However, an approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a roadblock that pushed the deal closure into 2012, remains a key risk, and for Progress Energy, there's still prospect its shares could fall if the utilities mega deal is cut off by the federal government.
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