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Why Public Service Enterprise (PEG) Is Gaining on Thursday

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Public Service Enterprise (PEG) was gaining on Thursday after posting better-than-expected earnings for the three months to December.

By late afternoon, shares had added 5% to $36.73. Trading volume of 9.1 million far exceeded its three-month daily average of 4.3 million.

The electric utilities provider recorded fourth-quarter net income of 49 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of 45 cents a share.

Pre-tax profit of $304 million was more than double consensus of $138.03 million.

For the full year, the Newark, NJ-based business generated net income of $2.58 a share on $9.967 billion in sales. Analysts had forecast net income of $2.53 a share on sales of $10.29 billion.

"Double-digit growth in earnings from our stable, regulated business, Power's strong free cash flow and the benefits from successful management of our cost structure -- including our pension obligations -- are expected to yield long-lasting benefits to Operating Earnings," said CEO Ralph Izzo in a statement.

Management issued operating earnings guidance for fiscal 2014 between $2.55 and $2.75 a share. Analysts had forecast earnings of $2.47 a share.

TheStreet Ratings team rates PUBLIC SERVICE ENTRP GRP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PUBLIC SERVICE ENTRP GRP INC (PEG) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

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